Veteran Luat Stops Haya’s Giant-Killing Spree

Rodolfo Luat

Veteran Rodolfo “Boy Samson” Luat, a regular danger-man on the international pool circuit proved he hasn't lost his touch even at the age of 51 and banked on his vast experience to stop the giant-killing spree of Elmer Haya to win the Iloilo leg of the Manny Villar Cup.
With his 11-9 victory Luat became the second repeat champion in the prestigious island-hopping  tournament  and earned P300,000 (just over $6,000) in the ninth  edition of the series presented by Senator Manny Villar's Villards: Tulong sa Pagsulong ng Philippine Sports and sponsored by Camella Communities.
Luat joined 2007 World Pool Championship runner-up Roberto Gomez as the only players to have won the coveted Villar Cup twice. Luat grabbed the  Bacolod leg last November while Gomez ruled the Davao leg in August 2008 and the Isabela leg last April.
In a post-match interview the well-traveled Luat said “I'm very happy for this accomplishment, and I once again proved to myself that I can still compete at the highest level”
In his match against Haya who made it to the finals after stunning former world no.1 Dennis Orcollo, qualifier and Gomez's conqueror Jomel Sultan, Cebu leg titlist Gandy Valle and Warren Kiamco,  Luat's tactic was to hold his break and then wait patiently for Haya to make a mistake and pounced on it as soon as he did.
Luat paid tribute to Haya, saying “ He is a very good player and I think it's my advantage in experience that made the difference.I won't be surprised if one day he will win this or other big tournament.”
Luat opened his campaign by defeating Joey Pardales, then followed it up with victories over 1999 World Pool Champion and pool legend Efren “Bata” Reyes, 2006 World Pool Champion and 8-Ball king  Ronnie Alcano, and defending champion Lee Van Corteza.
Meanwhile Billiards Managers and Players Association of the Philippines (BMPAP) president Atty. Vic Rodriguez announced that the next Villar Cup leg will be held on August 21 to 23 in Davao City coinciding with the Kadayawan festival.