Bustamante Eyes Back-To-Back Villar Cup Titles

Francisco Bustamante

Francisco “Django” Bustamante hopes to sustain his fiery form as he tries to become the first back-to-back champion in The Manny Villar Cup, which unfurls with its Isabela leg on Wednesday at the La Sallette High School in Santiago City .

Bustamante summoned the touch that once made him the world's number one cue artist to rule the prestigious island-hopping series' Panagbenga leg last February in Baguio City .

Prior to that Panagbenga leg triumph, Bustamante had been in the doldrums, going without a major title since winning the Derby City Classic Master of the Table plum in January 2007.

He has also failed to move past the quarterfinals in the previous legs of this event presented by Senator Manny Villar's Villards: Tulong sa Pagsulong ng Philippine Sports and sponsored by Camella Communities.

To make it two in a row, Bustamante must hurdle the challenge from 31 other pool masters, led by his bosom buddy Efren “Bata” Reyes, along with former world no.1 Dennis Orcollo, two-time world champion Ronnie Alcano,  and former leg winners Warren Kiamco (Alabang), Gandy Valle (Cebu), Ramil Gallego (Bulacan), Roberto Gomez (Davao) and Rodolfo Luat ( Bacolod ).

Also in field are veteran internationalists Lee Van Corteza, Joven Bustamante and Godofredo Ducanes, as well as rising stars Rene Mar David, Mike Takayama, Michael Feliciano, Benjie Guevarra, William Millares, Russian Petiza, Elmer Haya, Ricky Zerna Egie Geronimo, Jomel Sultan, Jharome Pena, Ruben Cuna and Emil Martinez.

The remaining slots in the main draw of this tournament co-organized by the Billiards Managers and Players Association of the Philippines (BMPAP) headed by Atty. Vic Rodriguez and sanctioned by the Billiards and Snooker Congress of the Philippines (BSCP) will be awarded to the top five finishers in the Sipag at Tiyaga division, a tournament exclusively for Isabela residents, that starts tomorrow also at the La Sallette High in Santiago City.