The discussion about the inclusion of weightlifting and boxing in collegiate leagues like the UAAP and the NCAA took off when Hidilyn Diaz, Carlo Paalam, Nesthy Petecio, and Eumir Marcial won medals last Olympics.
Billiards Sports Confederation of the Philippines secretary-general Robert Mananquil wants that to happen in the same way with the recent US Open Pool Championship success of Carlo Biado.
Currently, the National Athletic Association of Schools, Colleges, and Universities (NAASCU) is the only collegiate league that has billiards in its calendar.
“Hopefully, may mga collegiate level na billiards sports at makapasok kami either sa NCAA or sa UAAP,” said Mananquil on Tuesday’s Philippine Sportswriters Association forum.
However, he was also the first to stop daydreaming about it soon.
Mananquil is very much aware of the stereotype that the reputation of billiards has.
“Joining UAAP or NCAA is a long shot because of, alam mo naman paningin nila sa billiards ay larong kanto na gusto sana namin baguhin,” said the amiable executive in the session powered by Smart and Upstream Media as its official webcast partner.
He also mentioned that there were talks between the Confederation and Department of Education (DepEd) about including the sport in the Physical Education activities in primary and secondary schools, however, it didn’t push through.
That’s why Mananquil calls on the Commission of Higher Education, Philippine Sports Commission, and DepEd to treat billiards as a sport, and not something as a “larong kanto”.
“Billiards is also a sport, it’s in the World Games, it’s an IOC-sanctioned event sa World Games,” he added in the forum presented by San Miguel Corporation (SMC), MILO, Amelie Hotel, Braska Restaurant, and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR).
“Nakikita natin na dapat mabago rin ‘yung pananaw ng mga nanunungkulan sa gobyerno lalo na sa DepEd, sa CHED, at sa PSC na bigyan ng suporta (ang billiards).”
Moreover, US Open champion Biado also believes that his sport should be included in schools.
The 37-year-old cue artist cited cases from the Philippines’ neighboring countries like China and Taiwan.
“Kaya nagsisigalingan ‘yung player sa ibang bansa kasi suportado sila ng sponsor at ng gobyerno tulad ng China, ginagawa na nilang school ‘yung billiards,” said Biado.
“‘Yung mga magagaling sa Taiwan napakabata 14 years old, 15 years old ang gagaling. Sumasabay na sa mga tira namin. ‘Yun ang kulang sa atin sa totoo lang.”