DISGRUNTLED  BILLIARDS  PLAYERS,  MANAGERS  FORM PROFESSIONAL GROUP

MANILA, FEBRUARY 1, 2008
(STAR) By Nelson Beltran - The plan of Raya Sports to host the World 10-Ball Championship this year is in jeopardy following a move by the country’s top pool players to boycott all competitions to be staged by the promotion outfit under top billiards official Yen Macabenta.

The group, which is forming the Billiards Managers and Players Association of the Philippines (BMPAP), said the boycott would be in effect unless a total revamp in the Billiards and Snooker Congress of the Philippines (BSCP) is made.

The players, led by World Pool champions Efren “Bata” Reyes and Ronnie Alcano, aired their grievances against the leadership of Macabenta and BSCP president Ernesto Fajardo in a prepared statement read in a press conference yesterday in a Quezon City restaurant.

Sportsmen Aristeo “Putch” Puyat, Perry Mariano, Jonathan Sy and Edwin Reyes, together with their respective players, came in full force underscoring their protest over alleged detrimental policies and directives of the current BSCP leadership.

They stressed the boycott is not against the BSCP as a national sports body but against the “abusive management” of Macabenta and Fajardo.

“For the players, this is a declaration of how the game should be conducted. It’s about fair play,” said Puyat.

“Hindi natin inaaway ang BSCP, inaayos lang natin siya sa tamang landas,” said Mariano, claiming the BSCP is overstepping its bounds and encroaching on the affairs of professional players.

The group came up with a manifesto pushing for the formation of a pro billiards group that will break away from the BSCP.

Lawyer Vic Rodriguez announced that The Philippine STAR editor-in-chief Isaac Belmonte had accepted his nomination to be the founding BMPAP chairman.

The group condemned BSCP for a number of alleged irregularities. Puyat took exception to the BSCP’s alleged “malicious, irresponsible and baseless decision, declaring Alex Pagulayan guilty of misconduct without due process.”

“They slapped Alex with the gravest case of misconduct in the recent 2007 Guinness 9-Ball Tour Singapore Leg while officials there didn’t have any complaint,” said Puyat, sponsor-manager of the one-time World Pool champion.

Puyat said Pagulayan is filing a libel case against the BSCP leaders in the next few days.

The players, at the same time, are calling on the Philippine Sports Commission and the Commission on Audit to undertake an immediate auditing of the government funds earmarked for the World Pool Championships Raya Sports staged in the country in 2006 and 2007.

The group also wants the help of the Games and Amusement Board in defining the proper procedure for the selection of players representing the country in international tournaments.

“If asked to play in the SEA Games and the Asian Games, hindi tatalikod ang BMPAP dyan dahil bansa naman ang nakataya hindi BSCP,” said Puyat.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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