Monday, November 12, 2007

Francisco Django Bustamante and Daryl Peach: Controversy at the World Pool Championship!

Francisco Bustamante Image

I received a ton of email asking for my thoughts on 2007 World Pool Champion Daryl Peach's, aka The Dazzler, controversial victory over my friend, Francisco Django Bustamante, last Saturday, November 10, 2007, at the Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City. I initially did not want to share my thoughts on the matter because Django is one of my good friends in pool and I may be accused of sharing a biased opinion. Right? However, my thoughts have always been my personal take, and I've always written from the heart. Yes, the Filipino billiards great is one of my good friends, but I call it as I see it. No more, no less. So, without further ado, here is my take on the controversial rack between Francisco Django Bustamante and Daryl Peach during the quarter finals of the 2007 World Pool Championship.

Django Bustamante GraphicHere is Filipino pool player Francisco Django Bustamante minutes before that controversial rack went underway. I arrived at the Patron Section of the World Pool quarter finals match a bit late; the score was already 6-4 when I got there. I was surprised to see that my good friend was the one trailing by 2 racks! However, knowing Django, I knew it was a manageable lead for him to surmount. I seated myself comfortably in the second row of the patron box after saying my hellos to Jhoana Dee (member of the Philippine team) and Django's wife. Mrs. Bustamante was seated behind me - in the third row.

I had my hopes high that day for Francisco Bustamante. I really wanted him to win the 2007 World Pool Championship and cement his name in the world of billiards. After all, the World Pool is the holy grail of pocket billiards and to win it in the Pool Capital of the World would just be an awesome feat! Boyet Asonto, coach of the Philippine team, even sent me a SMS on my mobile phone predicting that Django will win the World Pool Championship.

Django Bustamante Graphic
The quarter-finals match between the Englishman and the Filipino pool player was characterized by their intense focus and insatiable drive to win and advance to the semi-finals of the 2007 World Pool billiards competition. Daryl Peach was the epitome of focus that day! Peach managed to break away for a 1- to 2-rack lead every time Django Bustamante scores a tie for the score. The Dazzler had a poker face each time Django was on the table, not showing any signs of emotion! None, whatsoever! Each time Bustamante won a rack, the crowd would chant the number of wins that Django needed to gain the semi-finals berth. When the score was tied at 9-9, the place suddenly erupted with an exciting energy! "Isa na lang puro na! Dalawa na lang, panalo na!" (One more and we're on the hill! Just two more for the win!) exclaimed everyone! The Pinoy home crowd is truly different and is a site to see! They really know how to root for one of billiards' favorite sons, Django Bustamante! And how the Pinoy fans cheered excitedly when Bustamante bagged the 9-ball for the 1 rack lead when the score was tied at 9-9. Grabe! Everyone thought that he would sink the 9-ball in the side pocket via a thin-cut. Django surprised everyone, including me, when he sank the 9 via a bank shot and shouted "Yeah!" The place really erupted with the delight of the fans! Francisco Bustamante is just one game away from realizing the semi-finals berth in the World Pool Championship!

I noticed that amidst all the cheers and excitement, Mrs. Bustamante, who was seated behind me all this time, was praying intently. And before the controversial rack started, Django Bustamante, who was seated in his delegated chair, also had his head bowed down. I sincerely believe that he was praying at that point in time. He used a soft break in that unforgettable rack. From what I could see and relate to, Francisco Bustamante was left with a difficult position for the 3-ball after pocketing the 2-ball. Django went back and forth the table, carefully studying his options. I've seen him play countless times, thus, I know how careful he was with this situation. He knew it was the key shot to victory in this World Pool rack.

Daryl Peach ImagePictured above is how the table look after Francisco Django Bustamante's 3/9 carom. Django Bustamante opted for a 3/9 carom shot that sent the 9-ball slowly trickling into the left corner pocket. Before and after the shot was made, and before the 9-ball went in, referee Nigel Rees did not say a word. The fans and Django erupted with a victorious yell after the 9-ball trickled into the corner pocket! Then, someone shouted "Foul!" The shout came from the vicinity where Daryl Peach's delegated seat was located.

Daryl Peach Graphic Suddenly, there were confused faces all over the Araneta Coliseum as referee Nigel Rees started to review the slow-motion television pictures. Head referee Michaela Tabb was called in to help out with the situation. The crowd chanted "Good shot! Good shot!" as the slow-motion pictures were being reviewed. Crowd control people and policemen were brought in the area. After a few minutes, referee Nigel Rees ruled the shot a foul! The crowd booed Rees and chanted "Good shot! Good shot!" again. At this point in time, Daryl Peach was left with an easy open table with ball in hand. As referee Nigel Rees placed the cue ball on the table and signified the continuation of the game, Francisco Bustamante went to the table, took the cue ball off the table, and asked Rees to reconsider his call. World Pool Association Sports Director Thomas Overbeck was called in to adjudicate.

World Pool Championship Image
World Pool Championship Graphic There was another lengthy stoppage, and the slow motion pictures were reviewed again. Django Bustamante requested that different camera angles on the shot be reviewed, too. As everyone waited for the outcome of the review, fans insisted that referee Nigel Rees did not say anything before, during, or after the 3/9 carom was made, thus, it meant a good shot. To be honest with you, I believe the shot was good. My belief was furthered by the fact that referee Nigel Rees did not rule the shot a foul in the first place. What I didn't know, like most of those in the Araneta Coliseum that day, are the following provisions in World Pool Championship rules stating that:
  • The ref must make a decision before the next shot is made. An opponent can always ask for a referee for a reconsideration if it was a foul.
  • A referee of a pool match can make a decision by any means possible. If there is television replays then we can use it.
  • World Pool Graphic
The problem with this rack is that 9-ball went in and everyone thought the match was over. There was absolute silence, a deafening one, as the 9-ball trickled to the left corner pocket - everyone was holding their breath! The call to reconsider was made after the 9-ball went in, not before. The 9-ball slowly trickled into the corner pocket. "SLOWLY" is the keyword here. Everyone assumed that it was a good shot because referee Nigel Rees did not say anything - before the shot was made, or after it was executed, or as the 9-ball started to trickle down that left corner pocket. It was only after the 9-ball went in that Rees murmured something.

Billiards Graphic
Araneta Coliseum Graphic
Here is Francisco Django Bustamante before referee Nigel Rees called the shot a foul. Everyone's standing and waiting anxiously for the decision. It was a tough call to make. It took the combined efforts of Rees,
Head Referee Michaela Tabb and World Pool Association Sports Director Thomas Overbeck to resolve the issue and make the foul call stick. In the end, Django Bustamante accepted, with finality, the decision to call the shot a foul. Django also accepted the handshake of Daryl Peach when the latter tied the score at 10-10. And that is all that matters. Amidst the controversial call and all, Francisco Django Bustamante showed us the true meaning of sportsmanship! And I kid you not!

"'World Pool loves The AnitoKid."

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Bill Bilig said...

It's great to read your view on this matter. I guess things like this happen in the world of sports. I admire Django more for his sportsmanship. Thanks for this very interesting read.

THE ANiTOKiD said...

Thanks Bill! Django truly is a legend in the pool world. And his sportsmanship is one of those that is unequaled.

For those who want to see him play, he can be found running out the racks at the AMF-Superbowl, Makati Cinema Square, Makati City. He can also be found playing at the One Side billiard hall.


Marinella said...

The championship of Peach should have an asterisk! Kalokohan yun! It so unfair, huhuhuhu

THE ANiTOKiD said...


Django accepted the decision made by Rees, Tabb, and the tour director, my friend. The Filipino pool legend presented his argument before them, twice. Django's decision to accept the decision and the handshake of the Dazzler shows Tarlac's favorite son in a different light. And I kid you not!


Cha said...

am so sorry i missed this drama grrr!!! WHERE WAS I?

THE ANiTOKiD said...


The energy at the Araneta Coliseum that day was so intense that you could literally feel it, my friend! Grabe! And I kid you not!


It's always a runout at The Runout TV!