Bustamante-Pagulayan in Classic Hope P1m Rematch

Francisco Bustamante

Francisco “Django” Bustamante clawed back from the losers bracket to set up what promises to be a classic rematch against reigning World Pool Champion Alex “The Lion” Pagulayan in the Hope P1million All-Filipino Billiards Championship at the IBC 13 studios in Quezon City Sunday night.

Bustamante who staged an incredible comeback when all seemed lost in his February battle with Pagulayan after he was down 2-8 but battled back furiously to win 15-13 and pocket the top prize of P500,000 is hoping to duplicate the feat the second time around. However, Bustamante was expected to have his work cut out for him against the diminutive Pagulayan who earlier sent Bustamante to the losers side with a 9-3 rout and then whipped Asian Games gold medallist Lee Van Corteza 11-7, roaring back from a 0-5 deficit in the alternate break format.

Bustamante, ranked No. 1 in the world last year got back into contention with a 9-4 triumph over Antonio “Ga-Ga” Gabica and then scored a confidence-boosting triumph over crowd favorite Efren “Bata” Reyes in a thoroughly enthralling semi final battle 11-6 to force a rematch with Pagulayan. Both men hardly committee any mistakes but the steadier Bustamante whose break gave him an edge didn't appear troubled by his bosom buddy.

Pagulayan, another crowd favorite because of his light-hearted banter and amusing antics appeared completely mesmerized by Corteza when he was down 0-5 but all he needed was one crucial missed shot by the talented youngster to grab the opportunity and with some spectacular play turned things around for an unbelievable win.