Women’s Pool gets a Break in the Philippines

Women's pool in the Philippines gets a major break with the staging of the first National Pool Championships from March 26-31 at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium.

In a country where pool is played and followed with a passion and which has produced some of the greatest players in the world including Efren "Bata" Reyes, Francisco "Django" Bustamante and last year's 2006 World Pool Champion Ronnie Alcano, the women appear to have been left behind although there are some talented players.

The first national championship for women ever staged in the Philippines which is being organized alongside the 2nd Men's National Pool Championship by Raya Sports and the Billiards & Snooker Congress of the Philippines aims at correcting the situation and is expected to encourage more women to take up pool.

Raya Sports noted that a survey by the prestigious Social Weather Station indicated that eight million Filipinos who watch pool on TV are women." However, Raya president Yen Makabenta said that "only a small percentage of them play pool. We believe its time to encourage women to take up the sport and this we can do by giving full recognition to our women players and by encouraging them to compete nationally and internationally."

Southeast Asian Games double gold medallist Rubilen Amit will lead the field and faces a stiff challenge from national players Ann Basas who finished fourth in the Asian Games 8-ball event in Doha and Iris Ranola who finished fourth in the 9-ball event also in the Doha Asian Games.

The winner will pocket P200,000 with the second place finisher getting P100,000 and P50,000 for third place. As an added incentive the top players will be entered in international tournaments by the BSCP.

BSCP president Ernesto Fajardo said they would use the women's national championship as one of the association's "main criteria in selecting players for the SEA Games in Thailand in December."