RP Cue Capable To Win Gold—Perry Mariano

It may not have what many say “the best”, but hopes remains high for the Philippine billiards team to snatch the elusive gold medal in the ongoing 15th Asian Games in Doha, Qatar.

“What we have sent there may not be as popular as Efren “Bata” Reyes or Ronnie Alcano, but they are they same world-class caliber as the two, and we are upbeat on their chances to win the gold, particularly in the 8-Ball and 9-Ball,” said businessman and pool patron Perry Mariano on the eve of the Doha Games' 8-Ball competition.

“Actually, we have so many good billiards players – world-class at that. Hindi lang sila nabibigyan ng suporta, which we in the billiards industry feel should be given to them for this sport is one of the few fields can really shine and dominate,” Mariano said.

“It is better than those sports that get so much support but doesn't pay the rightful dividends.”

The Philippines is fielding Antonio Gabica and Leonardo Andam in the 8-ball event. They both drew a bye in the opening round and will start seeing action in the Round of 32.

“Gabica and Andam are very good 8-Ball players, only that they -- like many of our billiards players here in the country -- don't get enough support for the needed exposures. But nevertheless they are still one of the best in the field,” added Mariano.

Gabica will open his Asiad campaign against Gundsambuu Baatarchuluun of Mongolia, while Andam will face Vietnam's Nguyen Hoang Lam.

Mariano, who owns Bugsy Promotions, also expressed confidence on Jeff de Luna's chance in the 9-Ball competition, which will not begin until tomorrow, and where Gabica is also entered.

“Jeff is one of our rising pool stars as shown in the recent World Pool (Championship). I believe he is more than capable of winning the gold,” said Mariano.

De Luna and Gabica are both Bugsy stalwarts, along with reigning World Pool championship titlist Alcano, current World Pool League winner Dennis Orcullo, Jharome Pena, Roberto Gomez, Gandy Valle, Carlo Biado, and Elmer Kalaquian.

Four years ago, the Philippines won gold in the 9-ball doubles courtesy of Francisco "Django" Bustamante and Antonio "Nickoy" Lining in Busan, South Korea while the paired of Valle and Romeo "Snooky" Villanueva took the gold in the 9-ball doubles in 1998 Bangkok edition in Thailand.