GENERAL SANTOLS CITY – Long-time partners Efren “Bata” Reyes and fellow former world champion Francisco “Django” Bustamante might have gone separate ways but this did not prevent them into wielding their “magic” sticks at the opening Sunday of the World Pool Association 10-Ball doubles championship here. Reyes, now seeing action in tandem with Jomel Sultan, just played just hard enough in outclassing the pair of Weben Velarde and Juvani Edurece, 9-3, the lead inaugural day winners of this side tournament sanctioned by the WPA-sanctioned and funded by world welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao.
Bustamante, whose partnership with Reyes had produced not a few victories in prestigious competitions in the global stage, connived with veteran internationalist Lee Van Corteza in outlasting the duo of Arvi Tanega and Hajimus, 9-8, to, likewise, advance to the next round in quests of the reduced $20,000 top money out of the supposed to be $200,000 total purse.
Earlier announcement furnished the participants both foreign, and locals, winners of the doubles event as in the singles side, would be receiving $40,000.
With Reyes wowing the crowd that was expecting to see the Congressman from Sarangani play, displaying some of his patented magical shots, he and Sultan roared to an early 9-0 lead on the way to what would have been shutout, but for an error by made in the 1 1th rack that enabled the enemies to put up a sort of a fight for the final count.
Pacquiao, whose family is still mourning the death of clan Dapidran’s matriarch Cristina, begged off from participating as he was to immediately start training for his coming mega fight with pound-for-pound king and undefeated Floyd Mayweather Jr. on May 2.
Django and Corteza, on the other hand, played catch up almost half of the way before shattering a 3-all stalemate and seizing the upper hand, 5-4, after trailing 0-2 and 2- 3.
The Taiwanese team Chang Jung Lin and KO pin YI, on record easily the choice as the team to beat in the 57- pair series, also made short work of Assis Tadique and Harry Vergara, 9-5, to join the early winners cast.
Chang, currently the no. ranked player by the WPA, and Po, recent victor of the singles event held earlier, led all the way, prefacing their impressive triumph with a 5-0 start and were never headed on.
Ronnie Alcano, a former partner of Pacquiao playing with Dondon Razalan this time, eked out a 9-6 win over Wilfedo Amon and Kent Tobnoso, while world’s no. 7- ranked Dennis Orcullo rook a shutout 9-0 triumph over GXodofredo Ducanes and Alex Lumpay.
Other opening round winners based on incomplete results furnished by organizers were the duos of Fil-Canadian Alex Pagulayan and Jerico Banares, Patrick Gonzales and Jeffrey Calonge, Angelo Arriola and Rolando Garcia, Emilio Martinez and Roberto Gomez, Aaron Reyes and Randy Naad, Val Pajuay and Ibrahim Amr, Ryan Maglasang and Ronald dela Cruz, jundel Mazon and Muhammad Silfikri, Ricky Zerna and Jonas Magpantay, John Albert Repulle and Raymart Canomo, Leonardo Didal and Armand Natividad, Mikka Immonen and ARlodney Morris, William Millares and John Vincent Vicedo, Basit Mapandi and Michael Feliciano.