Reyes, Bustamante Favored in Hope P1M All Filipino Open

Efren Reyes

The country's top two billiards players Efren 'Bata' Reyes and Francisco 'Django' Bustamante are favored to clash in the finals of the Hope P1 million All Filipino Open which begins at the studios of IBC 13 today unless they meet earlier in the final round of sixteen.

Reyes, the 50 year old magician who is fresh from a superb performance in the recent Derby City Classic where he won the one pocket and 9-ball divisions and was given the accolade of 'Master of the Table' faces 21 year old Carlos Viado of Tarlac in his opening match while Bustamante, the former world No. 1 clashes with Joven Alba.

Jeffrey De Luna, tagged 'Jeff Bata' because of his tendency to go for impossible shots like his hero 'Bata' Reyes will take on promising former snooker champion 'Marvelous' Marlon Manalo while veteran Leonardo 'Dodong' Andam meets 1998 Asian Games gold medallist Gandy Valle. Another interesting match features Warren Kiamco against Antonio 'Ga-Ga' Gabica while reigning World Pool Champion Alex 'The Lion' Pagulayan faces upset conscious veteran Roberto Dy. The other two matches in the round of sixteen will see Asian Games gold medallist Lee Van Corteza face Luis Saberdo and veteran Rodolfo 'Boy Samson' Luat take on Edgar Acaba.

The format is a race-to-nine, alternate break with a double elimination system with the top finisher in the tournament outside Reyes, Bustamante and Lee Van Corteza and Pagulayan will join the four in the San Miguel Asian 9-Ball Tour which opens in Singapore in early March.

The P1 million (approximately $20,000) top prize in the tournament sponsored by Hope, Talk and Text and Smart and organized by the 'Godfather' of Philippine billiards Aristeo 'Putch' Puyat and Jemah Television president Marc Roces is sanctioned by the Billiards and Snooker Congress of the Philippines headed by its president Ernesto Fajardo.

Photo courtesy of Diana Hoppe - Pool Pics By Hoppe