BUSTAMANTE CROWNED WORLD POOL CHAMPION
By Ronnie Nathanielsz
Tue, 06 Jul 2010
Pool legend Francisco “Django” Bustamante at long last won the title he coveted the most after a heartbreaking loss to American Earl “The Pearl” Strickland in 2002 in Cardiff in a week of personal anguish during which he lost his little girl hours before he was to play in the quarter finals.
Consoled by his wife, bosom friend Efren “Bata” Reyes and the renowned patron of Philippine pool Aristeo “Putch” Puyat, Bustamante decided to continue playing convinced that his little daughter would look down from heaven and give him the courage to go on.
Bustamante did, but in the finals where he was leading 15-13 and at the table to break in the race to 17, the pool gods turned against him and he scratched. Strickland, with ball-in-hand and banking on some exquisite safety play went on to string four racks in a row to win 17-15.
Year after year Bustamante tried but just didn’t make it, until this week in Doha, Qatar his dream of winning was ultimately fulfilled. Bustamante, feared in the pool circuits of the world because of his awesome break played some superb pool to defeat the “Little Monster” Kuo Po Cheng of Chinese-Taipei who was runner up to Wu Chia Ching in 2005 in Kaohsiung, Taiwan.
From the opening rack Bustamante was in command and despite a few anxious moments among his countrymen watching, the native of Tarlac, home province of President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, showed his experience and his skill to win 13-7 and redeem the heartaches of 2002.
Bustamante gave an indication of what was in store when he routed countryman Antonio “Nikoy” Lining, the dangerous lefty, 11-5 in the semi finals where four-time champion and Hall-of-Fame inductee Johnny Archer stretched Kuo to the brink before losing in a pulsating finish to the younger Chinese-Taipei player 10-11.
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