2007-your Man In Manila

jay helfert

Shoot Pool, not people
Gold Member
Silver Member
It's nice to be back here in the heartland of Pool, where the game is revered and the players admired. The Araneta Coliseum is huge, and they are expecting crowds in the thousands. I wouldn't be surprised.

I went to the Qualifier last night at Star Billiards. There is nothing like this in the states, a training facility for young and upcoming players. There are over 20 Brunswick Metro tables, just like the ones to be used in the tournament. Food and drinks are provided to the players at no charge. It is all in a private complex, which is part of Star Paper Corp. one of the biggest companies in the Philippines.

The owner of Star Paper, Mr. Chua, is a billiard enthusiast and he is responsible for this beautiful and unique facility, devoted to pool. I was glad to hear that Leonardo Andam had won the earlier qualifier that day. He is one of the wily old veterans of the filipino pool scene. He only had to beat a field of 84 players! Sounds like an IPT qualifier, only tougher! They play Single Elimination, Race to Seven with the Final going to nine. Only one winner too!

In the evening qualifier, once again the Taiwanese players were dominating. The final four were all from Taiwan! So it was a foregone conclusion. So far they have won six of the eight qualifiers, with the other one going to a filipino (Alwi) living in Indonesia. What I notice watching the great young Chinese players is how well they can follow the cue ball for position. It works better and is more accurate then always drawing the ball. They all look like versions of Orcullo, who was there last night rooting for his countrymen. By the way his name is spelled Orcullo over here, the correct spelling. He is still highly regarded as the "money" king of the Philippines. I told them they better look out for SVB, because he fears no one!

You can see the changing of the guard in pro pool, almost all these players are early to mid 20's. Shane would fit right in. The first qualifier came down to two 18 year olds from Taiwan. Look out is all I have to say. Much conversation about the Americans who aren't coming. Speculation over here is that they do not want to leave the "comfort zone" of home to face such stiff opposition. Maybe partly correct.

Part two to come.
 
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jay helfert

Shoot Pool, not people
Gold Member
Silver Member
Last word about the qualifiers for now. I am very impressed with the play of the youngsters. I would rate them on a par with the best players over here. Any one of 40-50 players from Taiwan and the Philippines could come to the USA and compete for the top prizes on our regional tours. Most are names totally unfamiliar to me and you, but I see what I see, and say what I think. I guess you already know that.

After that a group of us went off to watch the legal cockfights at, where else but the Araneta Coliseum! Ted Lerner and I met up with Luke Riches, the tournament director of the WPC and John MacDonald, the great announcer for Matchroom events. I've never seen a cockfight before and it is BRUTAL! Each bird is equiped with a long razor sharp spike attached to one leg. They are prepped to fight by their handlers, all the while people are betting all over the arena. They are shouting out their bets much like traders on Wall St.

I do not understand the signals and the hand gestures that comfirm bets, so I decline to participate. I learned long ago to not bet on anything I didn't understand. And I definitely don't understand this, except I know they are betting hundreds of dollars because I see money changing hands after each fight. Stacks of cash are wadded up into balls and tossed about like baseballs to settle bets. This part is done in relative silence.

My mates Luke and Ted get into the swing of things and place their own bets. They encourage me to get involved, but I continue to decline. It is not because I have no money. I am sitting with thousands of pesos in my pockets, but I am content to keep it right there. The minimum bet is 1,000 pesos (about $23) and a few men try to engage me in action.

One old guy asks me before each fight to bet him 2,000. He asks me if I am in town for the WPC. In the program is an Ad for the pool tournament and there is a photo of the bald headed Ralf Souquet. He is convinced this is me, and I deny it, but he shows the photo to those around him and point at me. They all seem to agree that must be me. So I finally say "you got me", let's go play some pool for money. They all laugh and leave me alone for the rest of the evening. My pocket money stays intact! I don't bet the horses or casino games. Now I can mark cockfights off my list!

I will decline to go imto detail about what these "birds" do to each other, but suffice to say it is a battle to the death for most of them. It is rated XXX for brutality! I don't think I need to see any more of this "entertainment". I much prefer to watch a "hot" game of pool. I have a funny feeling some betting will be going on at the WPC as well. If I see that old man, it will be my pleasure to accommodate him, and his friends. :)

By the way, here it is nearly 3 PM in the afternoon now. I know this is a late at night for you over there, but I will be back later tonite if I can. I am in an internet cafe in the mall across from my hotel. The malls are packed with people all day long, more crowded than malls in America. Prices are much lower across the board over here. But our dollar is sinking fast, down 20% in six months against the peso!
 
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Renegade

Consume Mass Quantities!
Silver Member
Nice posts, Jay. Keep 'em coming!

Good call not betting on the cockfights. That way you'd have more money for when the betting starts in the WPC! Or in the other seedier poolhalls around town.....
 

jeffwinters

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
hey jay, glad you are enjoying stay here in the Philippines, i introduced myself to you last night, i'm the one who make the tournament chart for the qualifying, i was also rooting for Revo last night against the short taiwanese. I left the venue after Revo lose, yes, i'm a bit dissappointed. Anyway, he'll be playing again today, he might be playing right now actually.

I also play pool, just for fun, there are times i play well. I'd like to learn one pocket, i think it's a great game of pool compared to 9 ball. I understand that you know the game very well, if both us of got free times, let's play some, if you don't mind.

Enjoy your stay. See you.
 

jay helfert

Shoot Pool, not people
Gold Member
Silver Member
jeffwinters said:
hey jay, glad you are enjoying stay here in the Philippines, i introduced myself to you last night, i'm the one who make the tournament chart for the qualifying, i was also rooting for Revo last night against the short taiwanese. I left the venue after Revo lose, yes, i'm a bit dissappointed. Anyway, he'll be playing again today, he might be playing right now actually.

I also play pool, just for fun, there are times i play well. I'd like to learn one pocket, i think it's a great game of pool compared to 9 ball. I understand that you know the game very well, if both us of got free times, let's play some, if you don't mind.

Enjoy your stay. See you.

I'll try to come out tonite. I had my cue with me last night, but every table was full. I found a cool little place near the Araneta with a few tables and one Metro. Joey's Bar! I'm a pretty good poolroom detective! I know about Puyats pool room at the Farmer's Market, but Joey's is a cool little spot. Try calling me at Fernandina Suites 88. Leave a message with your phone number and I will get back with you. I'd love to play some, the WPC is days away.
 

chilli66

the chilli is back!
Silver Member
Jay, your trip is sounding great already! I'd have to give the cockfighting a miss though, I hate that kind of stuff. Just wanted to say thanks for starting a 2007 thread, makes it nice & easy to see!

One question though, how come you didn't drag Fatboy over there with you? I would've thought he'd love that trip, but he's gone to Brazil! Did you swap his plane ticket?:D
 

crosseyedjoe

Anywhere but here
Silver Member
Mr Jay,

Don't forget to experience the "ghoulish" Filipino tradition of visiting the dead on the 1st of Nov, All Saints Day.
 

JoeyA

Efren's Mini-Tourn BACKER
Silver Member
crosseyedjoe said:
Mr Jay,

Don't forget to experience the "ghoulish" Filipino tradition of visiting the dead on the 1st of Nov, All Saints Day.

All Saints Day is a "Holy Day of Obligation" for practicing Catholics here in the U.S.
JoeyA
 

jay helfert

Shoot Pool, not people
Gold Member
Silver Member
The streets are empty today, everyone is at the cemeteries visiting the graves of long gone relatives. Today and tomorrow are big holidays here. Mikaela will go tomorrow but without me I think. Cemeteries are not my favorite places.

Last night I visited Side Spin, a new poolroom in Quezon City. Cozy little place with only five tables, all locally built by Linz, who also makes cues. One table is very tight, and who is the first person I see when I walk in...Thorsten! He has found an out of the way, quiet place to practice. We visit a bit and soon I get on the next table and play with one of the owners, B-boy. Then a regular there, a beautiful girl named Boysi challenges me. Good thing Mikaela is not here.

My friend Bob Guerrrero took me here and he gets into the poker tournament just starting up for 500 pesos. That's about $11 to $12, too rich for my blood. :) I told him when they raise it up a bit let me know. After we eat, I play some with Thorsten. I can't seem to feel anything, like I am just a little off. It is like I am jarred or something. Finally I realized I was still suffering from jet lag. It affects your equilibrium slightly. I have only been here one day, not enough time to shake it off. It takes a minimum of two days.

The owners are Ren and B-boy, two great guys. I try to pay for food and pool, and they will not accept my money. I feel awkward but Bob says not to worry, they wanted to meet me. B-boy tells me he likes my commentary on television, so I feel very complimented. I will try to go back tonite. Thorsten says all the German players will be there, Ralf, Thomas and him.

Today I am in the hotel and I get a call from one of the organizers. Shane got in late last night, and he had to be taken to the hospital. WHAT??? He has an infection in his foot and is resting in his hotel. He asked them to contact me. I immediately walk half a mile to his hotel and go to his room. It is a nice place and he sitting in bed with food beside him and the television on Discovery Channel. He looks just fine, happy as a clam.

He tells me he cut his foot on the bottom of the refrigerator door in Norfolk, and it got infected on the long flight over here. He slept most of the way (12 hours) and didn't get up and walk around on the plane. He is resting and taking antibiotics and should be fine for his matches. I told him he doesn't need to try to play today anyway. He is still jet lagged.

Some players who will go nameless are questioning how Shane will do on foreign soil. They think it may be intimidating for him, and it could affect his game. My take is that once Shane walks in the arena and sees the tables and the balls he will be fine. That is his environment! He may lose, after all it is single elim. once you reach the final 64, but someone will have to beat him. He will not fold! Believe it!

This field of 128 will be stronger than the U.S. Open field of 233. Fewer weak players and almost all are strong players. Again that is my opinion.
 
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Cuaba

Livin Large
Silver Member
Jay,
I'm on the way to the travel agent now. If all goes well, I'll be there on Monday. I'll let you know the details when I have them.
 

BlowFish

Pinoy D-Player
Silver Member
Side-spin is the hangout of EPT Philippines. :) That's where I also stay after WPC in 2006. I know the guys there. You are on the right place. Bogee was the girl who challenged you. The owners are all EPT Boys. Tell them I'm coming home soon.

Linds is the name of the Table Manufacturer, who is also a Cuemaker(Linds Cue), which goes by the same Username/Nick in AZB, EPT and any other pool forum.

Did you say they play Poker? :D 500pesos is cheapstakes for your taste. :p
 
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kaduku

New member
Side spin is a great out of the way place to go to chill. I've met Ren, Biboy and Bogee. Bogee is a good friend of Mika Immonen. Ren could look like he's 15, lol. :D Enjoy your time there Jay!
 

Cuaba

Livin Large
Silver Member
Jay,
I'm booked. See you all on Monday. If there is a will-call for VIP tickets, can you leave one for me? I'll pay you first thing.
 

jay helfert

Shoot Pool, not people
Gold Member
Silver Member
Today they had the Press Conference and it was a dandy, with all the Philippine media there. And I mean ALL! Newspaper reporters and TV news crews. Cameras everywhere with TV anchors doing interviews. Never saw anything like it in the states. Not even close,

When Efren arrived, it was like Michael Jordan walked in the room. He was mobbed literally by the media. Shane got a big welcome too, but he didn't seem fazed in the least. He handled multiple inteviews like a veteran. This IS a big deal over here! Real big!

Aferward, Shane and I visited with Perry Mariano, aka Bugsy of Bugsy's Promotions. Bugsy sponsors several of the top players, including Jeff De Luna who just won the Pacman Invitational here over Dennis O. He picked up a cool 23K as well. Naturally I promoted a match-up between Jeff and Shane, to take place later tonite at Bugsy's Lair, the coolest place for big money games, one table in a pit, with seating all around. The bet is $1,000, a good little warm up match for Shane.

Shane wanted to practice so we went over to Puyat's Sport Complex nearby to hit some balls. Right away, an older guy starts hustling us. How nice! He asks Shane for the six in Nine Ball. Nothing doing. Shane begins hitting balls and the guy keeps bugging Shane to play. I told him it would be like this. Shane just smiles at the guy and lets me do the talking. Finally he agrees to play Shane even for 1,000 pesos, a race to nine. Okay why not.

Shane bombs him with a 9-4 beating and I find out this is Romy, a noted old Manila hustler. He doesn't know Shane though. Now Romy wants the eight in Nine Ball, and I counter with the eight in Ten Ball. It's a game, for another 1,000 pesos. The guy can really play and he takes a 7-4 lead. But Shane battles back to tie it at 8-8, hill-hill. Shane has been scratching on his break (four times already) and leaving the guy easy run outs. So I tell him take a little off on this break.

He breaks medium soft and makes nothing, but it is a tough rack. Good is what I'm thinking. They play safes back and forth and Shane gets the best of it and runs out to win again. We win 2,000 pesos about $45. Well, it's a start and it was a good warmup for Shane.

I have a production meeting with the TV crew tonite so I've got to go get ready for that. Afterward I'll pick up Shane and head to Bugsy's. Tomorrow my real work begins.
 
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jay helfert

Shoot Pool, not people
Gold Member
Silver Member
Cuaba said:
Jay,
I'm booked. See you all on Monday. If there is a will-call for VIP tickets, can you leave one for me? I'll pay you first thing.

Let me see what I can do.
 

gopi-1

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
You're probably talking about Romy Salamin (glasses). I heard that lately he's
the favorite whipping boy of some of those local unknown shortstops there.
Just tell Shane to ease up a li'l bit and try to make it look like a coin flip and
I'm sure Romy will bug all of his backers that staked him at one time or
another to back him up against Shane for some high stakes action. EZ money! :D
 

JimS

Grandpa & his grand boys.
Silver Member
Evidently Shane is feeling better now and the foot is not a problem. Good news.
 
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