Now I know why growing up I never heard a Filipino pool player complain about table conditions, it’s because the billiard table conditions in the Philippines can be so difficult that even “bad” conditions on a pool table in the States is like a well manicured PGA Tour golf course compared to the normal conditions over there.
A week ago I returned to the USA from my trip to play in the PACMAN Cup in General Santos at the southern end of the Philippines. It was my first time traveling there in the summer time hot, wet, and muggy season, and wow how extreme the conditions were. Not only were the tables playing tougher than in Fall, Winter, and Spring… The humidity was making my hands a even face sweat while I was busy trying to adjust to the different tables.
Actually the best conditions were in the tournament arena at the PACMAN Stadium and even better in the air conditioned SM Mall in “Gensan.” All the other tables away from the venues were in outside venues and so directly affected by the humidity and pollution in the air from nearby trikes and jeepneys… Needless to say it was a crash course in adjusting to extreme conditions, and it was a lot of fun!
Of course there is the talcum powder. Most players in the Philippines use it, and even dump a big pile of it on the side rail near one of the side pockets for easy access. I asked my doubles partner Darwin Bernadaz from Davao what to do if the pile of powder is in the way of your shot and he said “just swipe the pile over to the side,” so I did LOL. I learned to take obstacles like a wooden beam over the head section of the table in stride and just duck out of the way when I was up there, of course I learned after hitting my head a few times haha… so did my friend Brad Simpson (author of the Blue Book of Cues) who flew in for a few days after his team from Bangkok won the Expat Challenge in Manila.
In my first round match in the singles event, I played one of the best matches of my life in terms of running out and cue ball control. This was after my morning 3 hour practice sessions on local table pictured above. The conditions on the tournament table were so good in comparison to that table, everything just seemed so easy.
I ended up going 3-2 in the singles and one out of the money. Ronny Alcano beat me 9-3 and Lee Van Corteza knocked me out 9-7 in a great match after I won one on the one loss side. Thorsten Hohmann won the event with a remarkable 13-12 win in the finals vs Roberto Gomez after trailing 12-7.
The doubles event was won by Jeffrey de “The Bull” Luna and Jeffrey “The Street Fighter” Ignacio over the early-favorite duo of 3-time world champion Thorsten Hohmann of Germany and John Morra of Canada.
I got a lot of video from the events and from my trip. I’ll be posting some shortly so stay tuned including interviews with Efren, Django, and even Pacman on why he is holding these billiards events.
So embrace the “tough” conditions you may find on tables here in the states, and remember that it is probably not that tough in reality when compared to what exists in the Philippines.
I recommend seeking out a bad table once in a while to hone your ability to adapt to poor conditions. It’s easy to get accustomed to perfect conditions here in the states and fall into a lull of thinking all pool tables will be so easy. Keep your senses on alert and your game will improve.
One tip is keep a pool glove for your bridge hand just in case, and keep a towel handy just in case it gets hot and muggy.
All my best and see you soon…
PS: Join ProPoolAcademy while I have it at a crazy low price and learn the tricks of the running out trade 😉