Villar Cup Cebu Leg Starts Today

Alex Pagulayan

CEBU CITY – Sixty-four players, led by the who's who of Philippine billiards – a huge chunk of the world's bests, gather to compete for the top honor and a huge pot in the First Senate President Manny Villar Cup Cebu Leg, which formally starts today at the Trade Hall of SM City Cebu.

With three former world champions, a former and the current world no.1, a horde of other world-class veterans and a flock of promising young guns, this tournament, presented by Villards: Tulong sa Pagsulong ng Philippine Sports, in partnership with the Billiards Managers and Players Association of the Philippines (BMPAP) and sponsored by Camella Communities, promises topnotch competition.

Indeed, the Villar Cup, supported by Puyat Sports, Bugsy Promotions and Negros Billiards Stable, is by far the biggest pool event in the South.

“As I've promised 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,” said Senate President Manny Villar.

“I'm very happy to be part of promoting one of the sports we Filipinos can claim our own,” added Villar, who will make the ceremonial break and officially open this three-day event.

A motorcade around the city will also highlight the opening day.

Pool icon Efren “Bata” Reyes and fellow World Pool Championship titlists Alex Pagulayan and Ronnie Alcano are among the favorites to win the prestigious Villar Cup and the P400,000 top purse that goes with it.

But it is surely not going to be a walk in the park for the three revered cue artists as they will have to go through stiff challenges from the rest of the field.

Also out to go all the way are 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, former Asian Games gold medalist Gandy Valle, and Villar Cup opening leg winner Warren Kiamco.

Other competitors include Joven Bustamante, Rodolfo Luat, Ramil Gallego, Carlo Biado, Jharome Pena, Jundel Mason, Benjie Guevarra, Mark Mendoza, Elmer Haya, Ricky Zerna, Benson Palce, Renemar David, Johann Chua, Manolo Tanasas, Russian Petiza, Jomar de Ocampo , Aram Serquiano, Ronnie Aying, Danny Otacan, Godofredo Ducanes, Roberto Dy, Allan Abuhalim, Romar Villones, Steve Villamil, William Millares and Chris Johanessen and Roy Steffensen.

Also making it via the two-day qualifying tournaments here are Roldan Tolentino, Chiong Ortiz, Jun Caro, Rey Grandea, Art Publico, Diondel Raga, Jomel Sultan, Eduardo Villanueva, Dondon Razalan, Ryan Cimafranca, Mike Takayama, Edison Crisilles, Achilles Navarra, Marin Gentapa, Richard Pornelosa, Joey Pardales, John Rebong, Bernard Tagalog, Rinier Lianto, Jech Limen, Eljun Abellana, William Chua, Panfilo Damuag, Emil Martinez, Michael Feliciano, Mark Malayan and Egie Geronimo.

Sanctioned by the Games and Amusements Board (GAB), the Villar Cup Cebu leg also has separate competitions for elementary, high school and amateur cue artists, which started earlier this week with the finals also slated on Sunday.