MANILA, OCTOBER 14, 2003 (MALAYA) Francisco "Django" Bustamante stayed on track for the money list title despite a stunning loss to compatriot Efren "Bata" Reyes in the recent World Classic Billiards tournament in Fujairah, United Arab Emirates.

Bustamante has placed second twice this year, losing to German pool ace Ralf Souquet in the BCA Open 9-ball championship and in Fujairah, where he absorbed a humbling 4-13 loss to Reyes.

But three victories-the 17th and 18th legs of the Joss Tour in Rhode Island and Connecticut and the International Challenge of Champions in August-boosted Bustam-ante's winnings to $92,075.

His worst finish in 14 tournaments was 17th, in the Las Vegas Open also last August.

Bustamante placed third in the season finale of the Joss Tour and may find it tough surpassing his $122,800 earnings that was good enough for second last year.

The AZ Billiards player of the year has yet to finalize his playing schedule for the season, but is well ahead of his rivals, including last year's top money earner Reyes.

Reyes, who topped the chart last year with $126,200, was No. 4 in the recent list by AZ billiards, with earnings of $65,550 in 10 events aside from the $12,000 take home he got in Fujairah event.

The 49-year-old, known in the world pool circuit as "The Magician," also won the Mid-Atlantic 9-ball Championship in Virginia last January, the Manila leg of the Asian Tour in June and the Las Vegas Open.

The former world pool champion flashed his deadly form anew in Fujairah, ruling the tournament that featured 32 of the world's best players, but remained behind two lesser known pool artists in the recent money list.

Well-traveled Fil-Canadian Alex Pagulayan has seen action in 20 events and has earned $75,013 with six tour wins while world pool champion German Thorstenn Hohmann, who last year banked a measly $13,000, was running third with $69,000, boosted mainly by his $65,000 performance in Cardiff.

He was listed to have played only in two other events- the Las Vegas Open and the World Pool Masters where he placed, seventh and fifth, respectively.

American cue ace Johnny Archer was at fifth with earnings of $51,910.

Other prominent players in the current top 20 are former world champion Earl Strickland who was ninth with $33,547 followed by Souquet with $28,985.

Mika Immonen of Finland, also a former world champion, was 17th with $19,918.

The only other Filipino in the top 20 was US-based Santos Sambajon, runner-up in the recent Fury World Summit in New York who was 19th in the list with earnings of $18,725.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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