Second leg of Manny Villar Cup in Cebu

CEBU – The royalties of world of pool gather for the very first time in this “ Queen City of the South" to vie for the top honor and a huge pot in the First Senate President Manny Villar Cup Cebu Leg – a Sunstar Superbalita 9-Ball Challenge, slated from June 20 to 22 at the Atrium of SM City Cebu.

With no less than King Efren “Bata” Reyes wielding his magic, this second stop of the Villar Cup will surely be another world-class event.

“As I've said during our kickoff leg, I will bring the Villar Cup to the provinces to give our kababayans a chance to see in flesh our world-class Filipino billiards players, and give those aspiring players there a chance to compete with them,” Senator Villar said during the press conference Friday at the Bravio Sports Bar.

“Now, it's coming here in Cebu ,” declared Villar.

More than one million pesos are at stake in this tournament, a project of the Billiards Managers and Players Association of the Philippines (BMPAP), coorganized by Sunstar, supported by Bugsy Promotions, Puyat Sports and Negros Billiards Stable, and sponsored by Camella Homes.

Besides Reyes, also competing for the handsome Villar Cup – and the P400,000 top purse that goes with it – are fellow former world champions Ronnie Alcano and Alex Pagulayan, former world no.1 Francisco “Django” Bustamante, current world's top-ranked cue artist Dennis Orcollo, 2007 World Pool runner-up Roberto Gomez, reigning national titlist Lee Van Corteza and former Asian Games gold medalist Gandy Valle, among others.

Three-time Southeast Asian Games gold medalist Warren Kiamco, who ruled the Villar Cup first leg last May 10 at the StarMall Alabang in Muntinlupa City, will also be out to defend his title right in his hometown.

“We're very thankful to Senator Villar for sponsoring this kind of tournament and for supporting billiards in general,” said Alcano, who was also present in the press conference along with Gomez and Valle, as well as Sunstar vice-president for marketing Julius Neri, HR manager Atty. Raymond Garcia and tournament head organizer Chris Rodriguez.

“In return, we promise that we will play our best.” added Gomez.

Valle, who is also the BMPAP secretary-general, said: “We hope we could inspire our kababayans here in Cebu to take up the sport and help sustain our world dominance in it.”

A total of 64 players will see action in the main draw with 18 of them seeded, while the rest will come from a series of qualifying tournaments to be held in key cities all over the country.

The other seeded players are Rodolfo Luat, Joven Bustamante, Jharome Pena, Carlo Biado, Ramil Gallego, Ricky Zerna, Antonio Lining, Elmer Haya and Villar Cup first leg Sipag at Tiyaga division champion Benson Palce.

Four slots will be disputed in a qualifying tournament in Manila , four in Bacolod , two in Tuguegarao, two in Davao and two in Dagupan. The remaining berths will be filled in a qualifier in Cebu days before the tournament proper.

Sanctioned by the Games and Amusements Board (GAB), the Villar Cup Cebu leg will also have separate competitions for elementary, high school and amateur cue artists.