Calasang Leads Billiard Stars Search Winners, gain seat in Guinness 9-ball tour

Elvis Calasang, an OFW returnee from the Middle East, led the big winners at the climax Sunday of the 2008 Billiard Stars Search (BSS) at the Star Billiards Center in Quezon City, Metro Manila.

Calasang topped Division A in the inaugural tournament, when he beat Demosthenes Pupul 9-7. The victory brought him not only the champion's trophy and the prize money of P30,000, but also a seat in the next Guinness 9-Ball Tour leg in China.

John LA Garde won Division B with a thrilling hill-hill victory over Richard Talibong, taking the champion's trophy and the prize money of P20,000.

Rommel Amiscary beat 14-year-old Stephen Villagonzalo 7-3 to rule Division C and take the champion's trophy and the prize money of P20,000.

Sponsored and hosted by Star Billiards and organized by the Billiards & Snooker Congress of the Philippines, the divisional championship tournament drew 165 players - 47 participants in Division A, 43 in Division B, and 75 in Division C. The competition spread over a period of seven days, with the Final Four of each division jousting it out on Sunday, August 3.

Significantly, the tournament drew players not only from different skill levels, but players also from all age groups and both sexes. Five women saw action. And the youngest was an eight years old Galletos of Mandaluyong City.

The tournament featured Ten Ball, the game of choice of Filipino pool players all over the archipelago. Under WPA rules requiring every shot to be called, the game makes for tight matches and complex table layouts. The divisional championships showed the discipline at its best with many hill-hill thrillers, particularly in the concluding stages.

Pleased by the good player turnout and the intense competition, Star Billiards chairman and BSCP treasurer Sebastian Chua declared that Billiard Stars Search will become a regular event at the Star center. "The tournament will resume immediately after the WPA World Ten Ball Championship concludes in October," he said. "We will hold it as often as the pool calendar allows."

For his part, BSCP chairman Yen Makabenta said BSS fulfills an essential objective of the national association. "We want to encourage competition in all skill levels in our sport," he said. "This tournament has proven that a lot of Filipino players of all skill levels, age groups and gender want to test themselves in open competition."

The final standings of all divisions in the tournament were as follows:

Division A
Champion - Elvis Calasang (P30,000)
Second - Demosthenes Pulpul (P15,000)
Third - Mario Tolentino (P7,500)
Fourth - Junbert Ogang (P3,500)

Division B
Champion - John LA Garde (P20,000)
Second - Richard Talibong (P10,000)
Third - Leonardo Hipolito (P5,000)
Fourth - Alexander Aquino (P2,500)

Division C
Champion - Rommel Amiscary (P20,000)
Second - Stephen Villagonzalo (P10,000)
Third - Christian Millari (P5,000)
Fourth - Jonas Magpantay (P2,500)