Valle Eyes Back-To-Back Villar Cup Conquest

Valle hopes to kiss the Villar Cup again

Thirty-two players, led by defending champion Gandy Valle, mix it up for the prestigious title and the P400,000 top purse, when the First Senate President Manny Villar Cup unfurls with its Bulacan leg on July 25 at the Event Center of SM City in Marilao.

Valle, a former Asian Games gold medalist, recovered from the losers' bracket, along with a severe headache, and upended world no.1 Dennis Orcollo in the finals to rule the Cebu stop of this island-hopping series, presented by Villards: Tulong sa Pagsulong ng Philippine Sports, last month.

“I hope I could defend the Villar Cup, which is now one of the most prestigious billiards tournaments. And I'll do my best to achieve that goal,” said the 31-year-old Davaoeno, a stalwart of the star-studded Bugsy Promotions of businessman Perry Mariano.

Leading the challengers to Valle's hold of the coveted Villar Cup are former world champions Efren “Bata” Reyes and Ronnie Alcano, former world no.1 Francisco “Django” Bustamante, 2007 World Pool runner-up Roberto Gomez, reigning national champion Lee Van Corteza and Villar Cup Alabang leg winner Warren Kiamco.

Others who made it to the Pro Elite category based on the ranking by the Billiards Managers and Players Association of the Philippines (BMPAP) are Carlo Biado, Russian Petiza, Jharome Pena, Ramil Gallego, William Millares, Johann “Bubwit” Chua, William Chua, Godofredo Ducanes, Rodolfo Luat, Benjie Guevarra, Jundel Mazon, Panfilo Damuag, Mike Takayama, Jomar de Ocampo, Rubilen Amit, Joey Pardales, Dondon Razalan, Michael Feliciano, Richard Pornelosa, Mark Mendoza, Romar Villones and Egie Geronimo.

Kuwait 's national team mainstay Abdulah al Yousef was given a wildcard slot to complete the 32-man field vying in this three-day event supported by Puyat Sports, Bugsy Promotions, Negros Billiards Stable and ER Cues.

Orcollo, along with former world titlist Alex Pagulayan and Joven Bustamante, will not be able to participate in the tournament as they will be competing in the Singapore leg of the Guinness 9-Ball Tour.

The rest of the BMPAP members will compete in the Sipag at Tiyaga division, which starts on July 21 at the AMF-Puyat Center in StarMall EDSA in Mandaluyong City and offers a top prize of P100,000.

According to tournament directors Verna Mariano and Ish Caparras, the registration is until July 21 at 11 a.m. with the field limited to the first 96 players. The entry fee is only P300.