De Luna Is First “Hari ng Mesa”

Manila, Philippines---Jeffrey "Bata" de Luna was crowned as the first "Hari ng Mesa" (King of the Table) in the first week of Pool Showdown when he beat Ricky "Bai" Zerna 11-4 in their 10-ball duel at the Rizal Memorial Billiards Zone last Saturday night.

In front of a large crowd and a live national audience on prime-time TV, the 2006 Asian Games 9-ball silver medalist and member of star-studded Bugsy Promotion took the exciting match with thunderous breaks, sharp pocketing, and precision safeties against his game opponent. He knotted four golden breaks (sinking the 10-ball outright with the break) during the match.

Zerna led the match early at 3-1 with two golden breaks of his own and sharp play. He showed why he topped the Group A Ring Game, which included such stalwarts as double world champion Ronnie "Volcano" Alcano and Roberto "Superman" Gomez.

But after the score was tied at 4-all, Luna stormed ahead and took seven racks in a row. He got through even in tight racks that led to safety plays.

For his feat, Luna took the prize of $1000 (match of the week) and $800 (ring game). Zerna won for his part $800 for topping his group ring game.

The rousing start augured well for Pool Showdown, a reality TV project of Raya Sports and ABC-5 aimed at promoting billiards as a regular sports event on television.

Fans from several parts of the country phoned in their enthusiastic reception of the program. Jonathan Sy, manager of several billiard parlors in Bacolod and top honcho of Negros Billiards, called to say that Ilongos were watching the match live. Zerna hails from Dumaguete City.

Pool Showdown is broadcast twice a week (Tuesday and Saturday) by ABC-5 from 8:00 to 10:30 in the evening. It features a Ring Game on Tuesday and a Match of the Week on Saturday. The program is sanctioned by the Billiards and Snooker Congress of the Philippines (BSCP).

Pool Showdown will run from September to December. The Grand Finals in December will feature the top four players. In October, international players are slated to join the program, as they come to Manila for the 2007 World Pool Championship.