Philippines, 13 Apr 2024
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BUSTAMANTE CRIES TEARS OF JOY AS HE IS CROWNED WORLD POOL CHAMPION


PhilBoxing.com


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 when he lost his little seven month old girl Marielle on July 19 hours before he was to play in the quarter finals in Cardiff.

Consoled by his wife Mila, 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 unkind and he scratched. Strickland, banking on some exquisite safety play went on to win 17-15.

Year after year Bustamante tried but just didn?t make until this week in Doha, Qatar his dream of winning was ultimately fulfilled as he 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 11-7 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 bring before losing in a pulsating finish to the younger Chinese-Taipei player 10-11.

With the win Bustamante pocketed the top prize of $36,000. After the most memorable win of his illustrious career Bustamante called his wife Mila and told her he ?cried tears of joy over his victory because he thought he no longer had the skills of the past.? However, his wife replied he was still one of the very best.

Puyat told us that when he learned Bustamante had entered the finals he ?didn?t want to think anymore. I just prayed. I said if he loses again how painful, the second time. And I was afraid of Kuo Po Cheng he is really good.?

Puyat said ?players around the world had improved their game including several comparatively unknown Filipino players with such greats as Mika Immonen and Ralf Souqet falling by the wayside. In the end it was Django?s heart that made the difference.?

Bustamante's lifelong friend "The Magician" Efren "Bata" Reyes was the first Filipino to win the title in Cardiff in 1999 when he beat Chinese-Taipei's Chang Chao Ping the very first time the event was telecast worldwide by Matchroom Sport . Alex "The Lion" Pagulayan roared to victory in Taipei in 2004 when he clawed back to defeat Chang Pei Wei in the finals while Ronnie Alcano routed German ace Ralf Souquet at the Philippine International Convention Center in 2006. However, Roberto Gomez failed to duplicate the feat the following year at the Araneta Coliseum losing 15-17 to Britain's Daryl Peach, the same score when Bustamante lost to Strickland in 2002.

It was Bustamante?s fourth major win this year. He was a member of the winning Team Asia that routed Team Europe last January 17 in Brunei in the Asia vs Europe Challenge Match and in March he defeated all-time great Efren "Bata" Reyes for the crown at the 23rd Annual Japan Open and won his third major title this year by grabbing the inaugural World Professional Billiard League (WPBL) championship in Winnipeg Canada last month.

The sporting event dubbed as Super Series of Billiards held at the Mc Phillips Station Casino saw Bustamante thrash Archer, 5-2 in the finals. Kuo Po-cheng (Chinese-Taipei) received $18,000 for his runner-up effort while the other prize winners were Antonio Lining (PHILIPPINES) $10,000,Johnny Archer (USA) $10,000, Ronnie Alcano,Ronato Alcano (PHILIPPINES) $6,000, Sandor Tot (Serbia) $6,000.

Oliver Medenilla (PHILIPPINES) $6,000, Francisco Felicilda (PHILIPPINES) $6,000, Craig Osborne (Great Britain) $4,000, Christian Reimering (Germany) $4,000, Dimitri Jungo (Switzerland) $4,000, Yang Ching-shun (Chinese-Taipei) $4,000, Marlon Manalo (PHILIPPINES) $4,000, Jason Klatt (Canada) $4,000
Hayato Hijikata (Japan) $4,000 and Raymond Faraon (PHILIPPINES) $4,000 .


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Ronnie Nathanielsz.


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