The long wait is over for Francisco “Django" Bustamante.
The man who always plays second fiddle to his more illustrious compatriot Efren “Bata" Reyes, is now taking center stage after ending years of frustration in the world pool championship.
Bustamante claimed his first major pool title by capturing the World 9-Ball Championship Monday night (Tuesday morning in Manila) at the Qatar Billiards and Snooker Federation Hall in Doha, Qatar.
The 46-year-old pride of Tarlac, subdued Kuo Po Cheng of Chinese Taipei, 13-7, in the finals, and completed a solid performance that started for over a month when he won the Super Billiards League in Winnipeg, Canada.
It was a sweet victory for Bustamante, who waited for more than three decades to lay claim on his first major pool title. He was close to winning his first world title in 2002, but lost to Earl “The Pearl" Strickland in the finals of the World 9-Ball Championship in Cardiff, Wales.
Now, Bustamante will no longer be remembered just playing behind the shadows of the man known as “The Magician", as he made his mark as one of the game’s world champions.
Bustamante also joined Reyes, Ronnie Alcano and Fil-Canadian Alex Pagulayan in an august company of Filipinos, who won the men’s World 9-Ball crown.
Rubilen Amit became the only Filipina world champion when she bagged the inaugural staging of the Women’s World Ten Ball Championship in Manila last year.
Bustamante also earned the distinction of becoming the first world champion this year. He has a chance to score a rare feat of winning world championships in different disciplines on the same year when he makes the bid in the World Ten Ball Championship tentatively set in Manila this September.
The power-breaking cue artist entered the finals after hurdling past compatriot Antonio Lining with ease, 11-5.
Kou Po Cheng, on the other hand, had to sweat it out against two-time world champion Johnny Archer and needed to pull the rug from under the veteran American player.
But the young Taiwanese had plenty to spare and salvaged a win in a hill-hill encounter, 11-10.
Bustamante pocketed the top prize of $36,000 and overtook Reyes for the No.1 spot in terms of money earnings this year.
_________________2009-2010 MVP JAMES "THE MAN WITH A MILLION MOVES" YAP