Filipino Django Bustamante Retains His Bali 9-Ball Crown

Francisco Bustamante

FILIPINO pool ace Francisco "Django" Bustamante retained his title in the just concluded dubbed as 2006 A Mild International Open at the Sanur Beach Hotel in Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia late Thursday.

This was revealed by Philippines Billiards God Father Aristeo "Putch" Puyat in an exclusive interview of INQUIRER SPORTS late Thursday where his prodigy Bustamante frustrates local hero Muhammad Zulfikri in an 11-1 demolition in the finals infront of the latter's territory.

Puyat added the victory earned the former world No.1 a total of US $15,000 in prize money and appearance fees in the tournament participated in by the top Asian cue artists and some of the world's best.

"I'm glad that he got back his winning form and the treatment of his doctors on his elbow seems successful. I hope he can maintain his winning ways after all his still young compared to Efren (Reyes) who at 52 is still the world's no.1." said Puyat.

Puyat also said that Bustamante use the cue stick of Hall of famer Efren "Bata" Reyes in the said Bali 9-ball Open. The 52-years-old Reyes, winner in the 2006 World Open 8-ball International Pool Tour shoot-out in Reno, Nevada and 2006 SMB Asian 9-ball tour Jakarta Leg in Indonesia, respectively decided to skip the said event.

It shall be recalled that the 43-years-old Germany based Bustamante, who hails from Tarlac City held steady down the stretch to edge former Cardiff World Pool Champion Mika "The Iceman" Immonen of Finland, 11-10, in the finals and rule the same event last year was held in Paradiso Bowling and Billiard Center in the charming resort of Bali, Indonesia. He receive worth US$ 12,5000 prize money and appearance fee after winning the 2005 edition.

Going to the finals, Bustamante bested Widi Harsoyo of Indonesia in the final four to arrange a titular showdown with Zulfikri, winner over former World Pool runner-up Pei Wei Chang of Chinese-Taipei.

In earlier results in the last 8: Bustamante clobbered Siauw Wieto of Indonesia, 9-7, Harsoyo nipped countryman Jimmy Husman, 9-3, Kuo Po Cheng retired in the hill-hill match, 8-8, against fellow Chinese cue Chang due to headache while Zulfikry stop Pinoy surprise quarter-finalists Panfilo "Abu" Damuag, 9-7.

Other Filipinos who participated were Antonio "Ga-Ga" Gabica (last 16), Ramil "Bebeng" Gallego (last 32), Lee Van Corteza (last 32), Rodolfo "Boy Samson" Luat (last 32), Jeffrey "Jeff" De Luna (last 32) and Victor Arpilleda (last 64).

Zulfikry, also the tormentor of ex-world pool titlist Chao Fong Pang of Chinese-Taipei in the last 32.

Meanwhile, Bustamante, Gallego, Luat, Gabica, De Luna, Damuag, Corteza, Arpilleda and Ms. Ish Caparras of Puyat Sports are expected to arrive yesterday at exactly 5:00 pm in Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) here in Manila aboard Singapore Airlines from Bali's trip.

After arriving in NAIA airport yesterday, Bustamante is schedule to proceed immediately in Mandaluyong City to open the inauguration of San Joaquin Sports Center along with Puyat, Reyes and Norkis Yamaha Group of Company CEO/ chairman Navareto Quisumbing.

The tandem of Reyes and Bustamante, winner in the inaugural of World Cup of Pool in Newport Centre in South Wales, Britain recently also schedule to pay a courtesy call next week to her excellency President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

File photo courtesy of Diana Hoppe - Pool Pics by Hoppe