Reyes, Bustamante To Join National Pool Championships

Efren Reyes is just one of the top stars who will attend

The country's premier pool stars Efren “Bata” Reyes and Francisco “Django” Bustamante have promised to join the National Pool Championships scheduled from March 26-31 at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium.

Billiards & Snooker Congress of the Philippines (BSCP) chairman Yen Makabenta told Viva Sports/Manila Standard Today that the National Pool Championships will “really be a clash of our champions” since the acknowledged godfather of Philippine pool Aristeo “Putch” Puyat had assured BSCP president Ernesto Fajardo that Reyes and Bustamante who skipped last year's tournament will definitely play.

Also joining the tournament will be 2006 World Pool Champion Ronnie Alcano as well as Dennis Orcollo, Marlon Manalo and a host of other pool stars including talented youngsters led by Jeffrey De Luna.

Makabenta and Fajardo who were guests at the weekly PSA Forum said Filipino pool fans can expect a full calendar of events this year highlighted by the return of the World Pool Championships from November 3-11 which Makabenta said would be “even bigger and better than last year.” Named pool's “Man of the Year” in the 11th Annual Awards of the prestigious Billiards Digest, Makabenta said that with the “tremendous national and international response” to the staging of the WPC last year, he expected more tourists to visit Manila for the event.

Makabenta who is president of Raya Sports which won commendation for its hosting of the 2006 World Pool Championships said the National Pool Championships will feature a top prize of P500,000 with the added incentive of four outright slots in the WPC. The event will also be used as part of the criteria in the selection of the Philippines' representatives to the Southeast Asian Games in Bangkok in December. The women's division will offer a top prize of P200,000 and two slots in the SEA Games squad.

Fajardo disclosed plans to stage an 8-ball National Championship in mid year where Reyes who won the IPT World Open 8-Ball Championships last year is regarded as almost unbeatable. He said the 8-ball event will help determine the country's representatives to the SEA Games.