SMB Backs Ten Ball Tour

MANILA, PHILIPPINES---All roads lead to the first World Ten Ball Championship (WTBC) in September, said to be the ultimate battleground for pool professionals across the globe, but contenders have yet to prove their mettle in the San Miguel Beer-backed Philippine Pool Tour (PPT) to gain entry to the major event.

Open to international and local players, the PPT kicks off on May 6 with the Mandaluyong Mayor's Cup in Mandaluyong City. It will then swing through the country's key regions and cities, culminating in the world championship in September at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC).

The winner of the Mandaluyong Cup will earn a guaranteed seat in the WTBC, for which players around the world are competing to qualify. In addition, the champion will win a $10,000 cash prize. Players from 2nd to 32nd place will split the balance of the $30,000 prize fund.

A long-time supporter of billiards, San Miguel Beer (SMB) thinks the PPT will be widely patronized by Ten Ball enthusiasts around the world. The tour is sanctioned by the Asian Pocket Billiards Union (APBU), Asia's highest governing body for pool sports.

"Ten Ball is fast emerging as the game of choice of top players, that's why we are very excited with the staging of the Philippine Pool Tour," said one SMB executive. " We know that our contenders and those from abroad are all looking forward to the start of the matches."

Players from Indonesia, Taiwan, Japan, England, Germany, France, USA and other countries are expected to join the tour in one or more of its five legs. 2003 world champion Thorsten Hohmann of Germany has signed up for the first leg.

Mandaluyong City was picked for the inaugural leg because Mayor Ben-hur Abalos is also the incumbent president of the League of Cities of the Philippines. Nicknamed "Tiger City" for its dynamic growth, Mandaluyong has been very active in hosting national and international sports tournaments. It hosted last April 3-6 the highly successful Philippine Open of the Asian Golf Tour at the Wack-Wack Golf and Country Club. It will host side by side with the Mayor's Cup a national tennis championship on the week of May 6-11.

The second leg of the PPT is scheduled in Puerto Princesa City in June, with Mayor Edward Hagedorn and the city government as host.

Other cities that will form part of the PPT in 2008 and 2009 include Cebu City, Davao City, Bacolod-Iloilo City, Clark-Angeles City, Subic-Olongapo City, Baguio City, Boracay, Pasay City and Manila.