Manny Pacquiao’s Pacmania Open 9-Ball Tournament
Hard Times Billiards – Bellflower, CA
Pacmania was causing quite a buzz leading up the actual event. In addition to the $10,000 guaranteed prize fund, the winner of the tournament was to play world champion boxer Manny “Pac-Man” Pacquiao a challenge match for additional bonus money.
I got up at 6:00 a.m. to get to Hard Times by 9:30 a.m. since I hadn’t registered in advance. I got through the doors at 10:00 a.m. and the tournament was slated to start no later than 11:00 a.m.
The tournament started fashionably late at 1:20 p.m.
Tang “Little Red Riding Hood” Hoa was the only one at the tournament with the Halloween spirit. He certainly made up for all the spirit we were lacking and more. See for yourself…
You can’t see it in the photographs I have above, but he actually carried around a matching basket all day with him to complete the look. The man knows how to accessorize.
Once again, Hard Times Billiards of Bellflower was very accomodating to The Action Report, who had come to broadcast the event over the internet. They recreated the setup that had worked well at the Morra vs Dominguez match a little over a month earlier. Table 6, The Canadian Nightmare, was once again the live streaming table.
On the second day, Sunday, the top 16 players out of the 69 that had entered returned to battle it out for the $10,000 prize fund. Meanwhile, back at the ranch…
…that $10,000 shrank to $6,900.
When Ismael “Morro” Paez discovered this discrepancy, he had the players halt play. At the time, I think eight players were left.
Now, the flyer (sorry, don’t have a big, legible copy of it) said the $10,000 prize fund was regardless of the number of players. The same was also understood by the players. According to what I managed to find out, the prize fund was calculated at $6,900 because of 69 players x $100 per entry fee. This $6,900 was according to the promoters. But, the players would have none of it, and so, they went on strike.
Here is Justin Collett of The Action Report interviewing Mr. Paez about the shenanigans. On the right, we have Oscar “Eddie Cohen’s Biggest Fan” Dominguez and Louis “My Cues Are Stained With Mountain Dew” Ulrich taking this all very seriously.
While the payout fiasco was going on, this astute railbird jumped into the tournament arena for some free pool while everyone else was occupied. Note the stylish metallic silver headband he sports.
I whiled away the time during the strike by eating half a dozen ceviche tostadas.
Finally, thanks to Eddie Arreguin, owner of Hard Times Bellflower, the money was made right. Mr. Arreguin put $3,100 of his own money into the prize fund in order to make it the promised $10,000. He didn’t have to do this, as the prize money was the responsibility of the promotion company (rather shady people in retrospect) and not his pool room.
Mr. Arreguin, that is too awesome for words, and thank you for your generosity in making things right.
The money’s back on the light and we have action!
The stands and tournament area was packed for the finals featuring the undefeated Roberto “Superman” Gomez of the Philippines vs Mark “The Snake” Haddad of Colorado in a race to nine.
Earlier in the day, Mr. Hadded had played Mr. Gomez on the winner’s side and had him down 5-0 or 5-1 before Mr. Gomez made a comeback to win the match.
The final was played on Table 6 and it played as tough as ever. During the match, Mr. Gomez changed shoes and put a t-shirt on over his collared shirt. He then popped the collar (as is fashionable) and won a short time later.
Mr. Arreguin, owner of Hard Times Bellflower and Mr. Gomez with his new pack of origami paper.
Manny Pacquiao never did show up and I think a lot of people expected that. However, there were many, many disappointed fans (pool players and regular peeps) who had shown up to wait… and wait… and wait… until one of the tournament promoters (tearfully) broke the news to everyone present that Mr. Pacquiao was unable to attend.
A good deal of the excellence of The Action Report’s streaming is due to the camera work of cinematographer Andy “That’s Mr. Andy To You!” Chen. If you are interested in hiring him, you can contact The Action Report to get in touch with him.
I went 2-and-out in this tournament, but I was actually quite pleased with my play. I played much better than I expected and I feel like the break I took recently did a lot of good to get me back in focus. In particular, I played clever little safeties that I never knew I had the IQ to support.
Sorry for the rush on this post, but, as some of you know, I’ve been busy trying to rustle up some action…