Shark Billiards Association launches first-ever billiard pro league

Shark Billiards Association launches first ever billiard pro league
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PHILIPPINE billiards gets a needed shot in the arm with the holding of the first-ever professional pool league this year.

Four teams representing the country’s major islands Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao make up the initial cast competing in the inaugural Sharks Billiards Association.

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Some of the finest players and rising stars of the sport will make up the composition of the pioneering teams, according to Chief Executive Officer and founder Hadley Mariano, who was joined by Chief Operating Officer Mark Orendain, and Commissioner Chino Trinidad in the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum on Tuesday at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex.

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“Di ba ang hinihingi natin is a regionalistic flavor, so sabi ko ibigay na natin yan sa tatlong regions natin Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao,” said Trinidad in the weekly session presented by San Miguel Corporation, Philippine Sports Commission, Philippine Olympic Committee, MILO, Smart/PLDT and the leading sports entertainment gateway in the country ArenaPlus.

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The fourth team is reserved for what Trinidad refers to as the ‘epicenter of billiards’ in the country.

“Pag-uusapan pa namin kung ito ba ang sentro ng bilyar dito sa atin. Itong NCR ba o ang Pampanga ba? Kasi kahit saan ka magpunta, may nagbi-bilyar. Pero ano ang acknowledged na epicenter, is it Manila or is it somewhere in Pampanga na birthplace ni Efren ‘Bata’ Reyes,” said the former broadcaster and commissioner of the defunct Philippine Basketball League.

A draft pool will be held before the opening of the meet, but Mariano refused to name the players who have already committed to see action in the tournament.

“Marami akong nakikitang players na magaling pero hindi nabibigyan ng pagkakataon. So itong mga player na ito, gusto ko silang unahin kasi walang silang sponsor, wala silang manager, hindi makasali sa mga tournament,” he said. “So the league will start with players na hindi nakakalabas ng bansa. Pero definitely, these are top players (in the country).”

All players will have their respective salaries and contracts and will undergo professional training.

Initially, five players will be composed of each team, before increasing its numbers to six and eight in the succeeding seasons.

The tournament format will have two teams facing each other in a week and involves competition in singles, doubles, and 5-on-5, with the corresponding point system.

The first season will run for three months.

“We’re targeting to start, roughly by August. Pero who knows, baka mas maaga pa tayong makapagsimula, e di mas masaya,” said Mariano, son of long-time billiards patron Perry Mariano.

Added Trinidad, “Super-excited akong masimulan ito dahil naniniwala ako na collectively, maibabangon ulit natin ang Philippine billiards.”

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