Philippines to host 2009 World Cup of Pool

Efren Reyes and Franciso Bustamante

THE 2009 World Cup of Pool will be staged in the Philippines for the first time in the tournament's history.

A press conference was held at the Sports Plus Cafe, Eastwood, Philippines, earlier this week to announce the event, which will now be in its fourth year.

The first competition was staged in Newport, Wales with the next two in Rotterdam, Holland, but this will be the first time it will have been held outside of Europe.

Featuring 32 two-player teams from around the globe, The World Cup of Pool, sponsored by PartyGaming, has become one of the most important dates in the sport's calendar and this year's version will be hosted from September 1 to 6 in Manila.

"We're really looking forward to a great tournament because the World Cup of Pool is a special event and to bring it here to the Philippines is really exciting," said Matchroom Sport Director Eddie Hearn.
"When Matchroom Sport wants to stage a major pool tournament the Philippines is always the first place we look to come. In terms of number one venues, this has to be our first choice.

"Obviously Las Vegas is a great place for pool as well with their heritage but the passion that the people have for the game in the Philippines, and the importance of what it means to everyone, always makes it a pleasure to come here."

The prestigious competition, which features 32 two-player teams from around the world, but two sides for the host nation, has never been won by the same country twice.

Filipino legends Efren Reyes and Francisco Bustamante won the inaugural tournament in 2006, China's He-wen Li and Jian-bo Fu claimed the trophy in 2007 before Americans Shane Van Boening and Rodney Morris triumphed last year.

Hearn hinted that, with the Philippines being given two teams as hosts, the successful pairing of Reyes and Bustamante could be reunited for 2009.

"The Filipino people would want to see Efren and Django play together and it's very important that we make the choice that makes the people happy," explained Hearn.

"Matchroom Sport and our Filipino partners Solar Sports are also eager to have one younger team representing the real new wave of players coming through in the Philippines at the moment.

"Due to the great number of qualified Filipino players, it's going to be tough when we select the teams because there are always people who feel they should be in.

"But our job is to select the right teams for the people and the right teams that are most likely to take the title for the Philippines.

"We have to make sure we have the biggest names and the biggest personalities playing while the best players as well. I'm really glad that the Philippines will have two teams as host nation because to have only had one team would have been very difficult to pick."

Solar Sports CEO Peter Chanliong added: "The World Cup of Pool has a format that's very exciting and we're hoping the Philippines will enjoy the home-court advantage and pull it off again to prove we're the best in the world."

The defending champions - Shane Van Boening and Rodney Morris - will make up the USA pairing but the rest of the sides will be selected nearer the competition.

There is a huge incentive for all teams as the champions win $60,000, the runners-up take home $30,000, the beaten semi-finalists collect $16,000 and the quarter finalists receive $10,000.

Each match will be filmed for television and then produced by Matchroom Sport into 31 1-hour programmes, which will then be broadcast on stations around the world.