Biado: Sponsors needed for billiard tree

FILE — Carlo Biado during the WPA World 9-Ball competition. Photo by @WPAPool

Without the leverage that lenders can bring, don’t expect another boom in billiard sports anytime soon.

Newly crowned US Open champion Carlo Biado said on Tuesday that bolstering his latest feat to relaunch billiards in the sport of choice hinges on private sponsorship, just like in the good old days when several Filipino cue wizards led by icons Efren “Bata” Reyes and Francisco “Django” Bustamante, ruled the stick.

“Sponsors interested in this kind of sport will ensure that billiards can experience a revival,” Biado said in Philippine during the Philippine Sportswriters Association’s online forum.

Gone were the days when private sponsors led by billiard godfather Aristeo “Putch” Puyat and San Miguel Corporation helped local players become champions abroad.

Aside from Reyes and Bustamante gaining a foothold in the global cue sports scene, Ronnie Alcano, Dennis Orcollo and Alex Pagulayan followed that trail of prosperity for Filipino players that lasted more than a decade.

National team coach Rodolfo Luat, Jose Parica, Leonardo Andam, Antonio Lining, Lee Van Corteza, Antonio Gabica, Jeff De Luna and Marlon Manalo were also among the highly regarded cast who have etched their names on foreign tournaments.

“There are several new local players that are really good. What they need is the international fame to get better and eventually win tournaments,” said Biado, who rose from 17th overall to number 14 in the world rankings.

“They lack fame because of the lack of sponsors,” Biado added after pocketing the $50,000 (about P2.5 million) at the US Open Pool Championships in Atlantic City, New Jersey, last weekend.

Private donors are needed because setting up a foreign campaign for these players is not cheap.

In Biado’s case, he arrived in the United States over four months ago to try his luck at a handful of local and international tournaments.

It took him at least seven tournaments – the Texas Open, Austin Open, Sacramento Open, Big-Time Classic Open, International World 10-ball Championships, Diamond Open and finally the prestigious US Open – to reach his goal.

Biado, also the 2017 9-ball world champion, will go home on September 28 with his wife Niecky and take the rest of the year off from foreign competitions. He was already begging for the International Open in Virginia next month, citing the time he needed with his family.

Billiard Sports Confederation of Philippine Secretary General Robert Mananquil listed at least three tournaments for the national team that Biado can play in, including Thailand’s 2022 Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games (Aimag) and Vietnam’s Southeast Asian Games in 2022.

Biado also has to defend his men’s 9-ball title at the 2022 World Games scheduled for July in Birmingham, Alabama.

“For now, I’m taking a long break to freshen up and relax. I will be going back to the US early next year to participate in local tournaments, which will serve as my training for the Aimag,” Biado said.

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