Filipino pros look to end year with a bang

Alex Pagulayan

After failing to win any of the world titles this year, the top Filipino cue artists will join forces to keep the Philippines' tag as the best billiards-playing nation as they take on the challenge from a selection of topnotch international pool stars in the Q.C. Invasion: Quezon City-Philippines vs the World Grand Billiards Showdown slated on December 2 to 4 at the Trinoma Mall in Quezon City.

“We may not have a reigning world champion now, but we, still, are the best in the sport, and that we will prove in this tournament,” said Alex Pagulayan, who is one of the eight hometown bets in this much-anticipated event organized by Quezon City Council Majority Floor Leader Ariel Inton and backed by the Quezon City government led by Mayor Sonny Belmonte.

“Though we know that it's going to be a hell of a fight for us with the line-up they have in the other side, we are confident that we'll be able to pull it through and end the Philippine billards' year with a bang,” added Pagulayan.

Joining Pagulayan in the Team Quezon City-Philippines are fellow former world champions Efren “Bata” Reyes and Ronnie Alcano, along with current world no.1 Dennis Orcollo, Francisco “Django” Bustamante, 2007 World Pool runner-up Roberto Gomez, and Southeast Asian Games multi-gold medalists Warren Kiamco and Lee Van Corteza.

They will go up against the Team World led by newly-crown US Open champion Mika Immonen of Finland with fellow former world titlists Thorsten Hohmann of Germany, Chia-Ching Wu of Chinese-Taipei and Shane Van Boening of the United States, as well as World Cup of Pool winner American Rodney Morris and compatriot Charlie Williams, and Jianbo Fu of China. Newly-crowned Guinness 9-Ball Tour Grand Finals champion Ching-Shun Yang is being eyed as the eighth member of the squad.

The two teams will slug it out in singles, doubles and team events similar to that of the famed Mosconi Cup with the winning side taking the $40,000 top prize at stake in this event supported by the Billiards Managers and Players Association of the Philippines, the Quezon City Tourism Council and Senate President Manny Villar's Villards with Solar Sports, RPN-9, the Philippine Star and BusinessMirror as media partners.

Quezon City plans to make “QC Invasion” a yearly affair as part of its living up to its claim as the sports-tourism capital of the Philippines.

This as Inton proudly reported to Mayor Belmonte that the Filipino community in the United States, during his recent visit there, has thrown their all out support to the project, especially to the Team Q.C.-Philippines.

“They are very excited to watch the event, and I've convinced some of them to come over here to see it live,” said Inton.