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07-24-2002, 11:12 PM
Django a big winner in defeat

FRANCISCO ''DJANGO'' Bustamante will never be the next Efren Bata Reyes. So perish the thought that Bustamante may well turn out to be the Second Coming of Bata.

Bustamante does not have Reyes charisma, which has been largely credited for billiards astounding rise in popularity over the years. Neither does he have Batas disarming smile, which has graced everything from sports pages to magazines to billboards to TV commercials.

So do not expect Django, as popular and as visible as he is now following his dramatic run to the finals in the last World Pool Championship, to be selling McDonalds hamburgers and ice creams or San Miguels world-famous beer in the near future.

Do not expect to see Bustamante in a television commercial, scratching his head, feigning ignorance before blurting out, ''Can I call a friend?''

If Reyes gave Philippine billiards a face, a smiling and charming face if I may add, Bustamante gave the sport its most rivetting story over the last fortnight in faraway Cardiff, Wales when he endured a great personal tragedy and did the nation proud.

Django is nothing like Reyes, really. He is your typical pool shark, looking aloof and indifferent and cold-blooded during matches. Eyebrows forever burrowed, hair as greasy as Pat Riley''s and those piercing eyes - more like his namesake''s from the old, wild west.

But when Django lowered his guard for one moment in Cardiff, dropped that facade and gave people a peek of Django the man, the father, they finally began to appreciate his true greatness.

Although he doesn''t possess Bata''s legendary command of the cue ball, Bustamante''s pocketing is clearly a lot more flawless, and his break as powerful and as deadly as anyone else''s in the game today.


to see Django display those skills while dealing with the death of his daughter made it even more remarkable.

As colleague Tito Talao pointed out, anyone who at one time or another had wrapped a loving arm around a beautiful child surely understood the personal torment Bustamante endured in Cardiff upon learning of young Mariell''s death.

What more if that seven-month child happened to be your only daughter - a daughter Bustamante and his wife Mila waited seven years for.

''Hindi nga raw nakatulog ng dalawang araw si Django sa Cardiff, recounted a friend. ''Wala raw ginawa sa gabi kundi umiyak ng umiyak.''
(translation: He could not sleep or do anything for two nights but just cry, then cry.)

That Django was able to rise above that tragedy, gather himself together and will himself through a tough draw all the way to the championship spoke volumes of the man''s character and it showed us that there is a lot about this man we don''t know.

Notwithstanding the loss to Earl Strickland in the finals, the lowest point of Django''s life became his shining moment.

So Django may never be the next Bata. He may never be able to sell ice creams and hamburger and he may never be a pitchman for anything. But he represents the future of Philippine billiards after the era of the great Efren, and thanks to him the future looks bright.

More than those glorious moments on the green-pelt table and the silver medal, that''s the biggest gift Django brought home from Cardiff.

Cueless Joey
07-24-2002, 11:18 PM
For everybody's info, Efren endorses Mcdonald's, San Miguel Beer and Magnolia Ice cream in the Philippines. Imagine that, a pool player endorsing major consumer products.
I wonder when that will ever happen here.
Bustamante should be commended for his "the show must go on" courage. How can anyone even play after his tragedy?
I hope he wins the Challenge of Champions again.

07-24-2002, 11:59 PM
did not write that but some columnist did.

but then for a moment, i tried to think deep and put myself in Bustamantes shoes. honestly, if i were him, i also would continue to play

1. for _the show must go on_ reason
2. for practical reasons esp. if you your family needs the money badly.

But even if i go on, it must have been a real struggle deep inside, like it must have felt like your heart is being tugged continually. the lasting lump on your throat and the hidden sadness. and then i'll probably escape the sadness
by concentrating on the game. whether that will be effective
ly good for your game is no guarantee. you could probably get in to the zone for a minute and then lose it the next minute as reality about the tragedy creeps in again. one thing for sure, youre breathing will be affected as they will be very short and incomplete. i do not know if i am making any sense here but that is how it feels when you are faced with a major sad event in your life and at the same time you need to either go on and perform (or escape reality a bit by performing on).
anyway, i am sure the big players do not really check the message boards but if some knows django personally, please extend my deep condolences.

thank you. i cannot believe i am posting to a sports message board again.

Cueless Joey
07-25-2002, 12:10 AM
Busta could have gone home before his match with Efren. He and Efren pool their money anyway. Puyat would still have taken care of him. Busta did not stay for money. Busta wanted to win a world title. He's already a world titlist. He won the World 8-Ball once.
He's coming here in August.

Voodoo Daddy
07-25-2002, 12:22 AM
It happened here in the US in the 1970's with Steve Mizerak. At the time one of the countrys best players endorsed Miller Lite. Before that it was still photos of Mosconi pitching several things...whatever it was, before that it was cigarette cards as far back as Hoppe or earlier {I dont know the history of it}. So it has already happened Joey. Earl pitching Wendy's, Burger King or Krystal Burgers!! Man, I can see it now...HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

07-25-2002, 12:26 AM
just a follow up as i saw down on the threads that there was a discussion about Earl Strickland. I did not want to reply on that particular batch as it was becoming like a tennis fan-club of yesteryears.

But to go up on the table doing the cha-cha and rubbing it in after a close win against someone who might be fighting an immediate personal family tragedy (i will spell that out - silently g-r-i-e-v-i-n-g) is something i do not think any self-respecting decent American would do. But ofcourse he will bring home the trophy to us but I thought what Mr. Strickland did was unthinkable. It makes the trophy much less something to rejoice about.

I am calling on all the other kind of American players, the excellent and decent American players to come out and do the winning instead, the dignified way next time and all the time. You can do it.

07-25-2002, 12:41 AM

where do you get these info?. first rate info i must say.

now, if Bustamante did go home and Mr. Strickland won against the chinese Yang something guy, then it would have been a boring predictable one-one-one match between Strickland and Efren Reyes - again. I say again as the record shows a one-sided pattern for this two with Reyes winning the big ones and on TV always. What we witnessed (well, remotely that is) instead last week, is human drama, heart and mind enduro, a good fight against the odds, a triumph of spirit with the fiercely focused and fully determined player winning the trophy and the runner-up winning in spirit.

Cueless Joey
07-25-2002, 12:44 AM
I can see Earl endorsing Dale Carnegie seminars soon. Maybe an Anger Management class? LOL
Burger King for sure. The Earl Whopper.

Cueless Joey
07-25-2002, 09:12 AM
TC, after Busta beat Yang, he could have easily gone home. He didn't need to stay. In staying, he did make a lot of people proud. Efren and Earl are very evenly matched up.