Reyes, Bustamante, Pagulayan and Manalo Spearhead RP Bid in 2006 SMB Asian 9-Ball Tour

FILIPINO aces Efren "Bata" Reyes and Francisco "Django" Bustamante, together with two other cue artists, will spearhead the country's bid in the 2006 San Miguel Beer Asian 9-Ball tour slated on May 5-7, 2006 at the Nguyen Du Sports Hall in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

Reyes and Bustamante, along with Canada-based Alex “The Lion” Pagulayan and Marlon “Marvelous” Manalo are at the vanguard of a 4-man Philippine squad to the annual 9 ball competition which attracted cue masters around the Asian region which includes the 16-year-old reigning World Pool Champion Wu Chia Ching of Chinese-Taipei.

RP billiards patron Aristeo "Putch" Puyat is optimistic that the Filipino pool wizards will perform well in the said event.

" Our players have very bright chances. I believe that their counterparts from Chinese-Taipei will be their toughest opponents for the title." said Puyat, organizer of the just-concluded Enerva Asian Ladies 9-Ball tour which was topped by back-to-back World Women's Champion Ga Young Kim of South Korea.

The Mandaluyong bet Manalo, the 2005 lone Filipino semifinalist survivor in the World Championship, expects that they will make a good account of themselves in the four-cities stop of the Asian 9-ball tour which includes Bangkok, Kaohsiung and Jakarta legs. Manalo, an AB Economics graduate from the Mandaluyong-based Jose Rizal University (JRU), is a protege of congressman Benjamin " Benhur"Abalos Jr.

“ Please pray for our (Marlon, Bata, Django and Alex), success. We will do our very best for our flag and country,” Manalo told INQUIRER SPORTS yesterday who

Manalo and Pagulayan will be making their debut in the only ranking billiards tour in the region which offers a total pot prize of US$ 40,000 in the event organized by ESPN Star Sports.

The top 10 finishers in the Tour Order of Merit will advance in the 2006 World Pool Championships slated on November 4-12, 2006 in Manila organized by BSCP chair and Raja Sports President Yen Macabenta and sanctioned by the Billiards and Snooker Congress of the Philippines under the leadership of Ernesto "Ernie" Fajardo.

After the Ho-Chi-Minh leg, the tour will go to Bangkok, Thailand on June 2-4, 2006. The leg there will be held at the Central Bangna. The next stop will be staged in Kaohsiung, Chinese-Taipei on August 4-6, 2006. The last leg goes to Jakarta, Indonesia on Sept. 15-17, 2006 at the Mutiara Ballroom.

Chuan, Tsun-Che, President, Asian Pocket Billiard Union (APBU) said in the “As the president of APBU, I feel proud for the Asian players. San Miguel Asian 9-ball Tour ranking tournaments are not only providing Asian players the arena to compete with each other, but also pushing Asian pool-billiard to a higher standard.”

For his part, Faustino F. Galang, President, San Miguel Beer Division, remarked in the same website“ Congratulations to ESPN Star Sports for being every leg of the San Miguel Asian 9-Ball Tour to the millions of viewers across Asia. Most of all, thank you to all the players and fans whose presence in every leg makes for its success as it plays out in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam; Bangkok, Thailand; Guangzhou, South China; Jakarta, Indonesia; and Kaohsiung, Taiwan.

Rest assured of San Miguel's continuing support to the tour and all other sporting events that forge lasting relationship and understanding among our Asian neighbors.”

As a finale, Jamie Davis, Managing Director, ESPN STAR Sports, again in the same website, stated “ We would like to thank presenting sponsor San Miguel for their continued support of this prestigious event. We would also like to acknowledge the support of the Asian Pocket Billiard Union and the respective pool federations of the hosting countries for their commitment in promoting the sport and ensuring the emergence of more world champions from Asia.

Prepare yourself for a tournament that will not only be exciting but a show of skill and determination. We wish all participants the very best and look forward to a great event.”