Philippines, 29 Feb 2024
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Pinoy cue artists capable of dominating SEA Games

With a star-studded roster that includes four former world champions, the Philippine billiards and snooker team is expected to improve on its two-gold medal performance two years ago and maintain its supremacy over the opposition in the coming 30th Southeast Asian Games the country is hosting starting late this month.

Efren “Bata” Reyes, now 65, but still possesses the magic touch that won for him and the country over 70 international championships, will spearhead the hosts’ campaign as playing head coach with old-time buddy Francisco “Django" Bustamante as able deputy.

Dennis Orcollo, the World men’s 9-Ball titlist in 2012, Rubilen Amit, a two-time WPA Women's World Ten-ball titleholder (2009 and 2013), and Carlo Biado round out the hosts’ powerhouse lineup.

Biado, the 2017 world 9-Ball winner, will defend the title he won in the 2017 Southeast Asian Games in the coming 30th staging of the Games here.

Amit, now 38 and winner of the SEA Games 8-Ball and 9-Ball events, among others, wouldn’t venture a guess as to how many medals the Filipino cue artists are capable of winning.

She added, though, that the two year-long preparations she and her teammates had undergone are enough not to disappoint their countrymen before whom they will be seeing action set to Open Novermber 30 and spread until December 11.

“All of us have played in almost all of the toughest and most prestigious tournaments in the global stage since the smoke battle in 2017 in Kuala Lumpur had extinguished. So there’s no reason for us not to surpass our showing the last time aound,” the head-turner Amit declared during last Thursday’s SCOOP On Air Forum at the Manila Times Television.

Amit added she expects she and her teammates to dominate the 10-event pool disciplines (men’s and women’s 8-Ball singles and doubles, 9- Ball singles and doubles, and 10-Ball singles and doubles).

“Traditionally, we are strong in those events. Dito sa mga event na ito tayo madalas manalo, kahit na sa Asian and World Championships,“ Amit told her host in the session organized by the Sports Communicators Organization of the Philippines I coordination with The Manila Times Publications and MTV.

“Kaya dito tayo malamang hahakot ng medalya,” she assessed.

Upcoming Johann Chua, who also appeared as guest and who will be seeing action in his second SEA Games following a bronze medal finish in the men’s 9-Ball in 2017, agreed saying “we can win at least four of 10 gold medals at stake on the pool tables.”

“We’ll let na lang our preparations, experience of our superstarts in Bata, Dennis and Rubi to speak for themselves,” Chua said.

“Of course luck will also also play a role in winning or losing, but they’re all experienced campaigners, so malaking tulong din yun,” Chua surmised.

Amit and Chua said Bata will see action in singles event in carom, where “he is still at his best in placing and magical shots.”

Django, they chorused, will just be confined to coaching and charting strategy and tactics.

Click here to view a list of other articles written by Eddie Alinea.

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