PH Cue Artists Eye Four Golds in 30th SEA Games
Date: Oct 22, 2019
SPEARHEADED by a slew of world-rated players, some of them former world and Asian champions, Filipino cue artists are expected to stamp their class in the 30th Southeast Asian Games in December.
Billiards and Snooker Congress of the Philippines secretary general Robert Mananquil, in fact, is predicting at least four golds from the fancied hosts in the SEA Games billiards and snooker championships scheduled Dec. 3 to 10 at the Manila Hotel Tent City.
Veteran internationalists Carlo Biado and Chezka Centeno swept the men’s and women’s singles 9-ball events in the 2017 Malaysia SEA Games held in Kuala Lumpur as the country’s campaigners also took home one silver and two bronze medals from the sportsfest.
Mananquil bared that aside from Biado and Centeno, who will be keen on defending their respective crowns on home turf, others players who are back for national team duty are Dennis Orcollo, Johann Chua, Jeffrey Ignacio, Warren Kiamco, Iris Ranola and Floriza Andal.
Among this deep bench, there is a huge chance that the Filipino bets could pocket all four golds up for grabs in the men’s and women’s 9-ball and 10-ball events, according to the billiards honcho.
“That’s four gold medals already,” Mananquil, who is also a board member of the Philippine Olympic Committee, pointed out.
“We still have 9-ball and 10-ball doubles where we also have fighting chances,” he noted. “Of course, I can’t promise that we would also win the gold there, but if luck rolls our way, we might sweep all pool events and win six out of the 10 gold medals at stake.”
The PH snooker team is made up of Alvin Barbero, Michael Angelo Mengorio, Jeffrey Roda and Basil Al-Shajjar while Benjie Guevarra and Luis Saberdo are the standard-bearers in English billiards.
Pool legend Efren “Bata” Reyes, who is also a multiple SEA Games champion, is the head head coach will also see action as he joins Francisco Dela Cruz in carom.
Another pool great, Francisco “Django” Bustamante, is Bata’s deputy.
“What we have is a very stacked and solid lineup,” said Mananquil, who admitted that it will be an uphill battle for the locals in English Billiards and carom.
“Both Malaysia and Singapore are former British colonies so are familiar with English billiards while carom is a favorite sport in Vietnam,” he pointed out. “But it doesn’t meamn we won’t be competitive and exploit our home.
Mananquil also thanked the Philippine Sports Commission for the support it gave the national team.
Amit, a former world 10-ball women’s queen, and the other pool campaigners are competing and training overseas while the snooker swquad will compete in the World Snooker Championships near the end of the month, he said.