Gallego Wins Villar Cup Bulacan Leg

Ramil Gallego

Marilao, Bulacan -- Veteran internationalist Ramil Gallego edged former world no.1 Francisco “Django” Bustamante, 10-9, in the semis, and then outlasted the youthful Carlo Biado, 11-7, in the finals to complete a sweep and rule the First Senate President Manny Villar Cup Bulacan leg before a huge Sunday crowd at the Event Center of SM City here.

The feat made Gallego the third winner of this island hopping series presented by Villards: Tulong sa Pagsulong ng Philippine Sports and sponsored by Camella Communities. It also earned him the top purse of P300,000.

“Winning a tournament wherein you have to compete against the world's bests players is a very big accomplishment, and I'm very happy for this win,” said the 41-year-old stalwart of the rising Negros Billiards Stable of businessman Jonathan Sy.

Gallego, a starwart of the rising Negros Billiards Stable (NBS) of businessman Jonathan Sy, took advantage of Bustamante's miss shot in the deciding rack to pull the upset against one of the sport's all-time greats. He had earlier beaten Johann Chua (9-1), Jundel Mazon (9-8) and Rodolfo Luat (9-1).

In the finals, Gallego capitalized on his experience, as he romped off to a strong start and then held off Biado's repeated comeback tries to score the breakthrough win that put him in company with previous leg winners Warren Kiamco (Alabang) and Gandy Valle (Cebu) of this topnotch event organized by the Billiards Managers and Players Association of the Philippines (BMPAP) and supported by Puyat Sports, Bugsy Promotions, Negros Billiards Stable and ER Cues.

Biado settled for the runner-up honor and the P120,000 cash prize that goes with it.
The 24-year-old Bugsy boy from La Union made it to the finals by edging Kiamco, 10-9, in the Final Four. Before that, he had earlier defeated Michael Feliciano (9-5), William Millares (9-6) and 2007 World Pool runner-up Roberto Gomez (9-3).
Bustamante and Kiamco each received P40,000..

It was a sorry loss for Bustamante, who led for most of the match only to lose in a battle of safety shots in the final frame, which he broke.

The 44-year-old future Hall of Famer won the lag and moved two racks up a couple of times through midway of the game.

But Gallego managed to tie the count at 6-all, and the two engaged in a seesaw battle with each player cleaning up the racks they broke.

In the deciding frame, Bustamante broke dry, but a tough layout forced both players to go on a defense.

After trading a couple of safety shots, Bustamante went into offensive. But his tough-angled shot of the four-ball missed the corner pocket by a hairline, forcing him to surrender the table to Gallego, who in turned solved it to steal the triumph.