Kiamco Guns For 2nd Villar Cup Title

Warren Kiamco tries to make two in a row when the First Senate President Manny Villar Cup unfurls with its Cebu Leg tomorrow at the Trade Hall of SM City in Cebu .
Kiamco bounced back from the losers' bracket and upended pool icon Efren “Bata” Reyes in the finals to rule the kickoff leg of the Villar Cup last May 10 at the Sports Center of Star Mall Alabang in Muntinlupa City.

“I hope I could repeat. I know it's hard but I will do my best,” said the 38-year-old Cebuano, who is a stalwart of the rising Negros Billiards Stable of Jonathan Sy.

“It would be sweeter if I can win in front of my fellow Cebuanos,” added Kiamco, who bagged the handsome Villar Cup and pocketed the P400,000 top purse in the first leg of this series of tournaments presented by Villards: Tulong sa Pagsulong ng
Philippine Sports, in partnership with the Billiards Managers and Players Association of the Philippines (BMPAP) and sponsored by Camella Communities.

But just like what he had gone before pulling through in the previous stage, Kiamco, a three-time Southeast Asian Games gold medalist, will surely have a hard time as the field is expected to be much tougher.

Newly-crowned World Pool Masters champion Alex Pagulayan and former world no.1 Francisco “Django” Bustamante will be out to challenge Kiamco. Pagulayan and Bustamante missed the first leg as they were in the United States at that time.

Besides Bustamante and Pagulayan, also going out to give Kiamco a run for his money are Efren Reyes and his fellow two-time world champion Ronnie Alcano, along with current world's top-ranked cue artist Dennis Orcollo, 2007 World Pool runner-up Roberto Gomez, reigning national titlist Lee Van Corteza, former Asian Games gold medalist Gandy Valle and hordes of veterans and rising stars of Philippine billiards.

Also seeded in the 64-man main draw are are Ramil Gallego, Joven Bustamante, Rodolfo Luat, Carlo Biado, Jharome Pena, Ricky Zerna, Jundel Mason, Elmer Haya and Benson Palce, along with former national juniors champion Mark Mendoza and long-time national team mainstay Benjie Guevarra.

Among the early qualifiers are rising stars Russian Petiza, Rene Mar David, Johann Chua and Manolo Tanasas, who booked a slot through a special qualifying tournament for the Billiards Idol Season 1 topnotchers.

Jomar de Ocampo and Aram Serquiano made it as Nothern Luzon representatives, while Ronnie Aying and Danny Otacan were selected to represent Mindanao, Godofredo Ducanes, Allan Villa, Romar Villones and Steve Villamil for Western Visayas, and William Millares for Central Luzon.

The field will also have two European invitees in Christian Johannessen and Roy Steffessen.

The rest of the slots are being filled through qualifying tournaments, which are being played at presstime also in SM City Cebu.

The Villar Cup Cebu leg is coorganized by Sunstar Superbalita, which has been holding an annual pool tournament for the past seven years.