GAB Recognizes BMPAP

Players standing behind the BMPAP

The Games and Amusements Board (GAB) has recognized the newly-formed Billiards Managers and Players Association of the Philippines (BMPAP) paving the way for the government's direct supervision on the popular sport.

In accepting the BMPAP as the first professional billiards organization in the country, GAB chairman Eric Buhain hailed the development as a “big step in keeping the Philippines ' supremacy in the sport.”

“This is long overdue. So we are very happy that you, players and managers, came together to form this association,” Buhain told the BMPAP members who visited his office yesterday.

Among those present in the meeting were BMPAP incorporators Aristeo “Putch” Puyat, Perry Mariano and Edwin Reyes. They were accompanied by players from the three biggest billiards stable in the country – the Puyat Sports, Bugsy Promotions and the Negros Billiards Stable of Jonathan Sy.

“Billiards is really a professional sport because most of its tournaments have money involved. So it must be regulated by GAB,” explained Buhain.

He also said that GAB will issue a memorandum declaring that all professional billiards activities, including the invitation to play in tournaments abroad, must pass through the agency.

“ Para maiwasan din natin ‘yung mga illegal activities like sending of bogus players sa ibang bansa na eventually magti-TNT (so we could also curb the illegal activities like the sending of bogus players abroad, who will eventually overstay there),” he said.

During their audience with Buhain, the players also presented a manifesto asking the GAB to exercise its mandate of supervising the affairs of the sport, its professional side in particular.

"We, the professional billiards players of the Philippines are calling on the GAB to exercise its mandate as the law states of supervising all the professional billiards activities in the country like the holding of tournaments, and in the selection of players the country will send in the international competitions, where the Philippines is invited,” it says.

Among the signatories are former world champions Efren “Bata” Reyes and Ronnie Alcano, former world no.1 Francisco “Django” Bustamante, 2007 World Pool Championship (WPC) runner-up Roberto Gomez, 1998 Asian Games gold medalist Gandy Valle, reigning national champion Lee Van Corteza, and rising stars Joven Bustamante, Carlo Biado, Jharome Pena, Benjie Guevarra, Johann Chua, Troy Danao, Jech Limen, Jomar de Ocampo, Mike Takayama, Jundel Mazon and Patrick Gonzales.

"This request is in response to the coercion being made to us, players, by the officials of the BSCP, who are forcing us to join in their events, in which if we refuse, they will threaten us of suspension or will not allow us to participate in international competitions.”

They also condemned the “harsh and malicious declaration” by BSCP chairman Yen Makabenta and president Ernesto Fajardo against former world champion Alex Pagulayan that he was guilty of misconduct and “sharking”, which is a grave offense in pool.

The letter is also asking Makabenta to account for the funds his Raya Sports from the government for the hosting of the WPC in 2006 and 2007.

“We are then declaring that from now on, we will not participate in tournaments organized by Makabenta and his Raya Sports, except in the World Pool Championship, which is actually not a Raya event but of Matchroom Sport.”