HANOY – Philippine billiards won a gold medal at the 31st Southeast Asian Games here. It’s a show business now.
On Friday night, its best players, led by legendary Efren “Bata” Reyes and Francisco “Django” Bustamanta, made headlines for the exhibition match here after a flood of requests from local fans.
And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with the sideshow. The Philippines can slip through its last two final matches and still win gold in the men’s and women’s 10-ball event, an all-Filipino affair for gold in both title matches.
“We’re really excited about our performance here,” said team manager Roy Malina after pool stars Rubilene Amit and Chezka Senteno won their women’s semifinals, and Carlo Biado and Johan Chua did the same in the men’s bracket.
Amit and Senteno clashed at 10am on Saturday when Biado and Chua resumed their 9-ball final at 2pm No matter what happened in both matches, the Filipino pool sharks would return home with four gold medals, three silver and three silver. Two bronzes.
Amit claims gold for 9 balls for women, and Chua for men. Reyes and Francisco della Cruz won bronze in the 1-cushion carom.
The presence of the country’s top pool players has boosted the sport’s popularity here as people will flock to the Ha Dong Gymnasium, especially whenever Reyes is at the center.
Thus the friendly matches, thus the fans decided to repay the fans.
Former world champion Reyes and Biado teamed up when Bustamante, who was also a former world title, and Chua joined hands in games against various local tandem.
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