SEA Games: PH billiards team on cue

By Abac Cordero, The Philippine Star

Posted at Mar 12 2013 02:51 PM | Updated as of Mar 12 2013 10:51 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The Billiards Sports Confederation of the Philippines (BSCP) is just waiting for the cue regarding its full participation in the 27th Southeast Asian Games in Myanmar in December.

“If we are asked to send a full team we will send a full team,” BSCP secretary-general Robert Mananquil told The STAR in a recent interview.

Mananquil said the BSCP is just waiting for the Philippine Olympic Committee’s final decision regarding the country’s participation in Myanmar.

The POC is questioning Myanmar’s decision to include 60 events, most of them in traditional and indigenous sports and unfamiliar to other countries.

The POC has yet to announce if it would call for a full participation or a smaller representation just to show its disappointment.

Manaquil, however, said if the BSCP could have its way it will go for full participation even if five events in English billiards have been included.

“That’s where Myanmar is good and we’re not. They added five events in English billiards and raised the number of events from 10 in 2011 to 15,” said Mananquil.

But with still nine months to the Games, the BSCP official said Filipino players still have enough time to adjust and prepare for all events.

The Philippines won three gold (8-ball and 9-ball), two silver and four bronze medals in billiards in 2011 in Indonesia, and is in a good position to match the feat in Myanmar.

“We remain strong in 8-ball and 9-ball where we are the champions. And we have medal chances in the other events like carom and snooker,” said Mananquil.

He said there’s so much time left not only for billiards but for the other sports as well, and there’s no reason to give up this early.

The Philippines wound up sixth overall in 2011, and officials fear that Myanmar, seventh two years ago, will come from behind to dislodge the Philippines.

“Participation is number one in the SEA Games. Why do we train our athletes for two years only for us to chop the size of the delegation in Myanmar?

“Is it now gold or nothing in the SEA Games for us? I understand the predicament of our chess team after Myanmar added so many events unknown to them.

“But let us not get too emotional about it. We have nine months left. The SEA Games is a commitment. So, let us compete and try to do our best,” Mananquil said.

He said top officials from the POC and the government’s funding arm in sports, the Philippine Sports Commission, can brief President Aquino on the matter.

Jose Cojuangco, POC president, said they might decide on just sending a smaller delegation, and only the athletes with solid chances of winning the gold.

Chairman Richie Garcia of the PSC said a lot of money can be saved by not fielding athletes to events where the hosts are already locked in for the gold.