OCTOBER 6, 2008
(STAR) Reigning world No.1 Dennis Orcollo and Francisco “Django” Bustamante left yesterday for Holland, confident of their chances in the 2008 World Cup of Pool which gets going tomorrow in Rotterdam.

The Filipino duo will be trying to reclaim the crown won by Bustamante and pool icoin Efren “Bata” Reyes in 2006 from the defending champions Fu Jian Bo and Li He-wen of China.

“I like our chances,” said Orcollo. “Although this is the first time that Django and I will be teaming up, we’re very much familiar with each other. I know his style, he knows mine, so I think we could easily jell.”

With Orcollo’s talent and Bustamante’s experience, the Philippines will be one of the teams to watch in the annual event, which attracts the world’s top cue masters.

“Dennis is the best player in the world today, and with his talent, coupled by my experience, I think we have a very strong chance to win this tournament again,” said Bustamante.

“You are two of the greatest cue artists in the world, and our nation looks at you as heroes. We believe that you can win that World Cup of Pool and once again make our country proud,” said Sen. and pool patron Manny Villar.

Orcollo and Bustamante, whose campaign is also supported by the Billiards Managers and Players Association of the Philippines (BMPAP), will compete against 31 other pairs from around the world in the tournament that offers a total prize fund of $250,000 (P11.75-million), including the champion purse of $60,000.

As No.2 seed, just behind the defending champions, the Filipino tandem will open their bid opposite Denmark, bannered by Martin Larsen and Kasper Kristoffersen.

The other countries competing in the tournament are Hong Kong, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysian, Chinese-Taipei, Thailand, Vietnam, Canada, the United States, Australia, Peru, Qatar, Austria, Belgium, Croatia, England, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Malta, Poland, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, and two teams from the host nation.

Orcollo, a stalwart of the star-studded Bugsy Promotions, has already won four major tournaments this year – the San Miguel Beer-Quezon City 9-Ball Championship, the All-Japan Open, the 2008 Qatar International 9-Ball Open and China leg of the 2008 Guinness Tour. He is also set to compete in the Guinness Tour Grand Finals late this month in Jakarta.

Both Orcollo and Bustamante of Puyat Sports are also part of the eight-man Filipino squad seeing action in the much-anticipated Q.C. Invasion: Quezon City-Philippines vs the World Grand Billiards Showdown on Dec. 2-4 at the Trinoma Mall in Quezon City.

Roach’s antics draw Hoya’s ire By Dante Navarro Monday, October 6, 2008

(STAR) Freddie Roach was in no trivial mood when he said that at 35, Oscar de la Hoya can’t pull the trigger anymore.

He further stressed his point in the latest leg of the De la Hoya-Manny Pacquiao promo tour in San Francisco Saturday.

“I found this toy gun,” Roach said, handing it to De La Hoya on the stage at Fort Mason with the Golden Gate Bridge as backdrop. “But I can’t pull the trigger. It must be yours.”

The latest Roach tirade on his former ward drew a smile from Pacquiao but not from De la Hoya, who earlier vowed to knock out the Filipino pound-for-pound champion in their keenly-awaited fight on Dec. 6 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

Roach handled De la Hoya in his May 2007 setback to Floyd Mayweather Jr. when the Golden Boy could not “pull the trigger” against a smaller, faster opponent.

However, unlike Mayweather, who hid through the early rounds against De la Hoya, Pacquiao is expected to slug it out with the 10-time world champion in the early going.

“I dream about it every night,” said De la Hoya, who enjoys a four-inch height advantage over Pacquiao. “Let’s make it a fight. Which, I’m sure, he (Pacquiao) will. There’s no backing down in Manny.”

The Golden Boy, with a 39-5 record, including 30 knockouts, is tipped to climb the ring for the 147-pound fight at about 160.

“He is a legend in boxing, and it is my honor to fight him,” said Pacquiao, who has never fought above 134 lbs. (47-3-2, 35). “It’s a big test for me.”

Meanwhile, the historic six-city tour promoting the “Dream Match” continued to draw large crowds with a media frenzy accentuating public interest in the fight.

After a highly successful launch at the Statue of Liberty in New York and another crowded stop in Chicago where even former WBC lightweight champion David Diaz who was demolished by Pacquiao in nine rounds made an appearance, the two boxing superstars and their entourage also had a successful stop in Houston, Texas.

In Houston, De la Hoya, looking at Pacquiao, said: “I will knock you out on Dec. 6. I’m telling you this because I want you to remember The Alamo.”

Pacquiao, in his usual cool and unruffled manner, merely smiled it off.

But Roach took the cudgels for his prized fighter in Frisco.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

All rights reserved