Filipino Pool Body Unveils 2008 Program

Sixteen tournaments including a world pool championship and a grassroots development program headline the pool calendar of the Billiards and Snooker Congress of the Philippines (BSCP) for 2008.

The Filipino pool body, which has helped put Manila on the world sports map, unveiled last week its 2008 events and projects at a press luncheon held at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza in Pasay City.

The first tournament of 2008 is the 2nd Philippine Junior Championship. Open to all players 19 years old and below, the tournament is slated for March 27-30 at the Star Billiards Center in Quezon City. Hailed as the nursery for the country's future pool stars, the event determines Filipino players for the WPA World Junior Pool Championship.

Next on the calendar is the inaugural event of the BSCP Philippine Pool Tour which is being organized in partnership with the League of Cities of the Philippines. The tour will kick off in Mandaluyong City, Metro Manila on April 13-16. Subsequent tour stops are scheduled in Davao, Cebu, Subic-Olongapo, Boracay, Manila, culminating in Puerto Princesa in December. The tour will be open to foreign and Filipino players.

In May, the San Miguel Asian Pool Tour will be launched by Raya Sports with the staging of the first Philippine Ten Ball Open in Manila on May 5-11. Sanctioned by the World Pool-Billiard Association, the international tournament offers $84,000 in cash prizes, with $20,000 going to the winner of the event.

Subsequent stops of the San Miguel Tour are Jakarta in Indonesia, Taipei in Taiwan, Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, Guangzhou in China, and Manila for a second time..

Slated for the third quarter of 2008 is the METROPOOL Students League in cities of Metro Manila. Designed to address the high dropout rate among youth players and raise at the same time the quality of young players, the league will have its inaugural tournament in Manila in July at the BSCP Billiards Center, Rizal Memorial Complex. Players who want to participate must be 19 years and under and enrolled in the school system.

The 3rd Philippine National Pool Championship for men and women fires off in September, with the country's top players vying once again for the honor of being crowned national champions.

The calendar ends with a bang with the staging of the first WPA World Ten Ball Championship at the Araneta Coliseum on Nov. 10-16. BSCP Chairman and Raya Sports President Yen Makabenta announced that the Philippines has won the five-year franchise for the world 10-ball event. Players from around the world are expected to descend on the country for the championship, whose total prize fund is $ 400,000, with $100,000 going to the winner of the title.

In addition to staging and sanctioning tournaments, the BSCP is also undertaking several projects and policy initiatives to improve the overall climate for pool's development in the country. This includes establishing the BSCP Billiards Center at the Rizal Complez, the inclusion of billiards in the physical education curriculum of the school system; and the creation of the Philippine Billiards Development Foundation.

BSCP President Ernesto Fajardo disclosed that Education Secretary Jesli Lapus has already agreed to the adoption of billiards as a physical education course. Mechanics for the policy are now being worked out with the Department of Education.

The BSCP is also taking on various initiatives at both the policy and technical levels, among which are the adoption of a no-drugs policy in the sport; sanctions on game-fixing; training of referees and game officials; training of certified pool instructors; and a stronger system for sanctioning tournaments.