Manalo Beats Django in Pacman 9-Ball

Marlon Manalo

MANILA, PHILIPPINES---"MARVELOUS" Marlon Manalo brushed aside Francisco "Django" Bustamante, 9-5, and led the march of players into the third round of the winner's bracket yesterday in the Manny Pacquiao International 9-Ball Open at the Hobbies Mall billiards hall.

After winning the lag, Manalo jumped to a quick 2-0 lead, maintained the cushion, and thwarted the brief charge of Bustamante in the middle game.
Bustamante tied the count after 10 racks, 5-all, but got stuck as Manalo caught fire down the stretch.

"You can't afford to commit too many mistakes against Django. Fortunately I'm quite sharp today," said Manalo, many-time winner in the US pool circuit and perennial gold medal winner in the Southeast Asian Games.

The Mandaluyong ace, one of the members of the Team Philippines that will compete against the best players the world can offer in the Kabayan World 9-Ball Challenge: RP vs. Rest of the World, beat Eric Rodriguez in the opening round Wednesday night.

Manalo, third placer in the World Pool Championship two years ago in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, will next meet Karl Boyles of the United Kingdom.

Bustamante was eventually eliminated in the double elimination tournament, losing to Rodolfo "Boy Samson" Luat.

The famous Puyat Sports stable took a twin slap on the face after Efren "Bata" Reyes also fell by the wayside against little-known Jong-Jong Pangan, 9-8.
Rodrigo Geronimo shared the limelight with a pair of stunning victories against former US Open winner Rodney Morris, 9-2, and former Asian 9-Ball Tour champion Ramil "Bebeng" Gallego, 9-7.

Reigning Philippine Junior champion Mark Mendoza also stayed on the right side of the draw with a pair of 9-7 wins against Jay-Jay Escultor and Monching Mistica.

Marcus Chamat of Sweden, a frequent Manila visitor, beat Darren Appleton, 9-6, for his second win in the P2-Million event sponsored by boxing idol Manny Pacquiao.

In other matches, Patrick Gonzales, top player of Rocketman Enterprises, edged Rene Cruz, 9-8, and Gandy Valle downed Rene Mar "Revo" David, 9-3. The champion here take away P1 million while the runner-up gets P500,000. Meanwhile, everything is set for the 2007 Mindanao Open on November 6 at the Upper Sangan Labangan National Highway Labangan Zamboanga, del Sur on November 6. A total pot prize of P120,000 put up by sportsman Nasser Bandong.