PH billiards team eyes at least four golds in SEA Games
MANILA, Philippines—Filipino cue artists are aiming to at least double their gold medal count in the Southeast Asian Games here later in the year.
Robert Mananquil, secretary general of Billiards and Snookers Congress of the Philippines, has high hopes the country’s pool team can easily bag a minimum of four gold medals.
Mananquil’s confidence stems from the deep pool of talents on the team led by world No. 4 Carlo Biado, women’s world No. 3 Rubilen Amit and Dennis Orcollo.
Also part of the squad are Johann Chua, Jeffrey Ignacio, Warren Kiamco, Chezka Centeno, Iris Rañola and Floriza Andal.
With that roster, Mananquil believes winning the men and women’s 9-ball and men and women’s 10-ball events are within reach.
“That’s four gold medals already,” said Mananquil, who is also a board member of the Philippine Olympic Committee.
“We still have 9-ball and 10-ball doubles where we also have fighting chances. 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.”
Seeing action in snookers are Alvin Barbero, Michael Angelo Mengorio, Jeffrey Roda and Basil Al-Shajjar while Benjie Guevarra and Luis Saberdo will lead the country’s bid in English Billiards.
Pool legend Efren “Bata” Reyes will also see action as he joins Francisco Dela Cruz in carom.
Many-time SEA Games medalist Rey Grandea and pool icon in Francisco “Django” Bustamante serve as the team’s coaches.
“What we have is a very stacked and solid lineup,” said Mananquil, though, adding that the odds are stacked against the Filipinos when it comes to English Billiards and carom.
“The Malaysians and the Singaporeans, being former British colonies, are expected to dominate English Billiards while carom is the pet event of the Vietnamese. Despite that, we will still go all out and take advantage of our homecourt edge.”