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United Front: Puyat, Mariano Headline New Filipino Billiards Association
Jan 29, 2008, 10:32 AM

The top players and managers in the Philippines have joined together to form the Billiards Managers and Players Association of the Philippines (BMPAP), an organization that primarily aims to protect not only their interest but more especially that of the sport as a whole.

“This organization will help keep the Philippine tag as the world epicenter of billiards, the home of the world’s best cue artists,” said Perry Mariano, one of the BMPAP’s central figures.

Managers Aristeo “Putch” Puyat, Jonathan Sy and Edwin Reyes are a few other high-profile figures that head the group.

Mariano heads Bugsy Promotions, a stable of superstar players that include former double world champion Ronnie Alcano, Roberto Gomez, Antonio Gabica, Jeffrey De Luna and Dennis Orcollo.

Puyat manages former world champions Efren Reyes, Alex Pagulayan and former world no. 1 Francisco Bustamante. Sy heads the rising Negros Billiards Stable, which has reigning national champion Lee Van Corteza and Rodolfo Luat as its top players. Edwin Reyes, on the other hand, handles former World Juniors campaigner Renemar David among others.

Puyat said the BPMAP will complement the programs of the Billiards and Snooker Congress of the Philippines (BSCP), the sport’s national sports association.

“Just like in basketball where the SBP taps the service of the PBA whenever it wants to send the best team to international competitions,” Puyat said. “Here, the BPMAP is more than willing to lend its top players to the national team, particularly for the SEA [Southeast Asian] Games and Asian Games, if we’re asked to.”

“We can have a qualifying tournament to determine who we are going to send to those competitions,” he added.

The association will be coordinating with the Games and Amusements Board, because of the players’ status as athletes in a professional sport, according to Mariano.

The BMPAP also hopes to create alternative livelihood programs for its members, particularly those who are approaching retirement, as well as hold year-round tournaments to be played all over the country.

Another primary concern is acquiring visas for many professional pool players. Mariano said Gabica and De Luna, despite their stature, missed important tournaments abroad because of visa problems.

“The BPMAP in a way will help facilitate the visas of the players. This has been a problem [for] most of the players, even those who are already well-known in the national scene,” Mariano said.

“How can our players achieve world-class status if they cannot compete internationally?” Mariano asked.

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