Villar Cup Bacolod (Day 2)

Joven Bustamante

BACOLOD CITY – Joven Bustamante and Ramil Gallego trounced their respective foes to arrange a quarterfinals showdown in the First Senate President Manny Villar Cup Bacolod leg yesterday at the Garden Royal Function Hall of Goldenfields Commercial Complex here.

Bustamante, a member of the star-studded Bugsy Promotions of businessman Perry Mariano, demolished local bet Elmer Haya, 11-5, while Gallego made mincemeat of Japanese Kenji Taguchi, 11-5, to become the first players to move three steps closer to the prestigious title and the $15,000 top purse at stake in the island-hopping series presented by Villards: Tulong sa Pagsulong ng Philippine sports.

Coming off a huge win over former World Cup of Pool titlist Jianbo Fu of China in the opening round, Bustamante sustained his fiery form against Haya as he quickly raced to a 9-0 lead to set the tone for a rout.

Gallego, who ruled the Bulacan leg of this tour sponsored by Camella Communities, also had an easy sailing against Taguchi, as the stalwart of the rising Negros Billiards Stable opened the game with 9-2 run and never gave the foreign bet any room to recover.

Both Bustamante and Gallego are already assured of a $1,000 payout in this four-day competition organized by the Billiards Managers and Players Association of the Philippines in cooperation with the city government of Bacolod led by Mayor Evelio Leonardia and the Negros Billiards Stable (NBS) of businessman Jonathan Sy.

Meanwhile, former double world champion Ronnie Alcano flirted with disaster before recovering his touch to escape with an 11-9 win over unheralded Noel Caro to open his bid in this $37,800 event.

Alcano, who is seeking his first title in almost two years, romped off to a strong start, posting a four rack lead after the eighth frame.

But just as it seemed that the 33-year-old stalwart of the star-studded Bugsy Promotions of businessman Perry Mariano was on his way to an easy victory, a miscue on the ninth rack suddenly turned the tide as Caro took advantage of it to launch a 4-0 run to tie the game at 6-6.

A seesaw battle then ensued for the succeeding six racks until Alcano leaned on his vast experience of playing in a close contest and capitalized on Caro's lack of it to pocket the next two and clinch the ticket to the next stage of this tournament that gather the country's top cue artists, along with a bunch of promising talent and foreign campaigners.

The win set him a second round meeting with veteran internationalist Rodolfo Luat, who pull the rug from under reigning world no.1 Dennis Orcollo, 11-7, in their opening round encounter.

Other first round results saw Francisco “Django” Bustamante blasting lone female entry Rubilen Amit, 11-3; Cebu leg champion Gandy Valle downing Alabang leg titlist Warren Kiamco, 11-7; Lee Van Corteza edging out Chinese Wang Ming, 11-9; Michael Feliciano beating Japanese Kenichi Uchigaki, 11-7; John Rebong upsetting Carlo Biado, 11-7; and Ronnie Aying subduing Janno Mazon, 11-6.

All the Last 16 matches were slated to be played late yesterday with Django Bustamante pitted against Aying, Valle versus Corteza and Feliciano opposite Rebong.

Efren “Bata” Reyes was to play Johann Chua, while Eduardo Villanueva was to take on Kunihiko Takahashi of Japan.