Superbalita Mindanao Open 9-Ball Challenge

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Wednesday, September 7, 2011


FROM Mindanao, for Mindanao.

This was the concept of top Sun.Star Davao management when the Sun.Star Superbalita Mindanao Open 9-Ball Challenge was launched in 2008.

The cuefest was designed to give a venue for Mindanao cue artists to compete against themselves and at the same time provide opportunities for them to be scouted by top Manila-based and Cebu-based billiards stables for possible national and international stints.

"The tournament is a stepping stone for future national and international champions. Other billiards competitions being held in the country are open where rated Filipino and foreign players join, thus, Mindanoans have very rare opportunity to showcase their skills. The Sun.Star Superbalita Mindanao Open 9-Ball Challenge is open for those born and are residents of Mindanao only so they have greater chances to shine," Sun.Star Davao Publishing, Inc. general manager Paña once told sportwriters in a past sports forum.

Davao's version of the billiards tournament was inspired by the annual Superbalita 9-Ball that has already been institutionalized by Sun.Star Cebu management in Cebu City.

While Davao's Mindanao Open only accommodates players in the island, Cebu's Superbalita 9-Ball is open for everyone.

In the 2008 inaugural held at NCCC Mall B3 Center, the Mindanao Open drew a total of 64 players. The turnout decreased in 2009 but it grew to 86 in 2010.

In past three stagings, top Mindanao rated cue artists have been invited to compete as seeded players in the quarter-finals.

Davao City pride Gandy "Yang-yang" Valle and Zamboanga City native Elmer Haya, both former Superbalita 9-Ball champions in Cebu, showed their wares in the first edition. Haya lost his first match in the quarter-finals while Valle went on to win the championship.

The second edition had inaugural champion Valle and former World 9-Ball runner-up Roberto Gomez of Zamboanga City as seeded players. Valle failed to defend his crown that went to another Dabawenyo Christopher Alanunay. Gomez bowed out early.

Valle, Alanunay and multi-titled Davao City player Lee Vann Corteza were seeded last year. Corteza, however, didn't show up for the tournament as he was then competing in a Japan tournament. Another Davao player, Valeriano Pajuay, romped away with the P50,000 top purse.

This year is set to be the grandest Sun.Star Superbalita Mindanao Open 9-Ball Challenge ever as organizers will open categories for elementary, High School and college players. A separate category for girls may also be included in the cuefest set in November.

Paña said Cebu had started the youth categories several years ago and it's been gaining a huge following.

She added, "It's about time we start developing the sport of billiards in the grassroots. We will hold the youth billiards on weekends so players don't have to miss classes."

With the Mindanao Open and now the youth billiards, Sun.Star Davao is indeed setting the pace in building the community it serves through sports.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on September 07, 2011.

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