MANILA, Philippines - Filipino legends Efren “Bata” Reyes and Francisco “Django” Bustamante banner a star-studded cast of two-player teams out to dispute top honors in the 2012 PartyPoker.net World Cup of Pool, pocket billiards’ premier international team event that blasts off today at the Robinsons Place Manila.
Reyes and Bustamante hope to showcase their vintage form in the six-day tourney against a crack field of 32 teams from 31 nations as they bid to hoist the trophy for the third time since their conquest in 2006 and 2009.
“Mahihirapan. Pero itong 9-ball, swertihan. Gumanda lang tira at maunahan namin sila, may tsansa (It’s gonna tough. With a little bit of luck, and our shotmaking gets going, we have a chance),” Reyes said during yesterday’s press launch that was also graced by Luke Riches, media director of Matchroom Sports, and Juan Paolo Diaz, Events and Operations Manager of Solar.
Carrying the Philippines-B banner, the eight-seeded Reyes-Bustamante pair kicks off its campaign at 6 tonight against Hong Kong’s Lee Chenman and Kenny Kwok in a race-to-8 Round 1 meeting to be aired live on Solar Sports.
German top seeds Ralf Souquet and Thorsten Hohmann also start their title-retention bid today yet against Serbia’s Andrea Klasovic and Zoran Svilar at 12 noon.
“Everybody’s chasing us down here so it’s gonna be a tough event,” said Souquet, whose team seeks to become the first ever to win back-to-back titles.
“It’s not gonna be easy. We know 31 other teams want to win. And in short races, anything can happen,” he added.
Other opening-day encounters pit England’s Chris Melling and Darren Appleton against Belgium’s Serge Das and Cliff Castelmein, and Thailand’s Nitiwat Kanjanasri and Kobkit Palajin against Malaysia’s Patrick Ooi Fook Yuen and Ibrahim Bin Amir at 12 noon; Canada’s Alex Pagulayan and John Morra versus Sweden’s Marcus Chamat and Andreas Gerwen, and USA’s Shane Van Boening and Rodney Morris against India’s Raj Hundal and Amar Kang at 3 p.m.; and Austria’s Albin Ouschan and Mario He against Kuwait’s Avdullah Al Yousef and Omar Al Shaheen, also at 6 p.m.
No. 2 Philippines-A composed of Dennis Orcollo and new partner Lee Vann Corteza debuts tomorrow against Switzerland’s Dimitri Jungo and Ronni Regli.
It will be the first teamup between Orcollo and Corteza.
“Nag-eensayo kami simula pa noong nakaraang linggo. Basta sa amin, gagawin namin ang makakaya namin (We’ve been practicing since the previous week. We’ll do our best out there),” said Corteza.
A total of $250,000 are up for grabs in the competition with $60,000 going to the champions. The PartyPoker.net World Cup of Pool will be aired live on Solar Sports, with broadcast at 3 to 10 p.m. for Rounds 1 and 2 from Tuesday to Friday, 2-9 p.m. for Saturday’s quarterfinals, and 1-8 p.m. for Sunday’s semis and finals.