Thread: Unpaid Bill
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Old 01-30-2019, 11:06 PM
vapros vapros is offline
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Join Date: May 2004
Location: baton rouge, la
Posts: 3,257
Default Anton Raga

Not being in the know regarding news from the Derby City Classic, one-pocket items are in short supply tonight and I will report instead on the pool scene in the Philippine Islands as I see it on my monitor. Sadly, there seems to be no one-hole action at all but the Pinoys can sure play the rotation games.

Do all you guys know Anton Raga? Well, you should as he is the best ten-ball player in the world. At least thatís what I thought when I first saw him yesterday on YouTube. He was winning a race to 25 over Dennis Orcollo, leaving Dennis on 17 and looking lost. Anton Ďthe Dragoní beat Robocop in every phase of the game, breaking better, shooting straighter, playing safe better and kicking like Bata Reyes. The match happened in the Philippines on the tenth day of this month. The show took three and a half hours and I watched most of it. The stream was not bad, but there was only one camera.

Next up was the same two players in a rematch racing to 35 this time and it took five hours. Dennis won the rematch by 35-25. I looked in on the affair several times, and Anton was still shooting the lights out, but Dennis jumped on top early and won going away. Pool played at that level boggles my mind, and it isnít only these two, either. The islands seem to be awash in deadly shooters in addition to the ones we already know about. Still on YouTube, you can see Anton losing to Carlo Biado and beating Johan Chua, both whom I thought the best at various times. Raga can also be seen giving Francisco Bustamente two games on the wire going to 22. I have noted before that Efren Reyes can be followed in similar matches with young guys, and some of them give Bata a ball. I think Raga is twenty years old.

Venues for these matches vary widely but some things are the same wherever they are playing. Almost all are without air conditioning and often the players are mopping their faces after nearly every shot. Talcum powder is always nearby and is used liberally. Few billiard gloves are to be seen. Most contestants are in long shorts, and rubber flip-flops are more common than sneakers. There is rarely enough space for more than a few spectators, but the room will have a lot more than capacity. Some seats are available but the crowd is standing room only and itís common for a player to be forced to delay his shot until enough watchers have edged away far enough for him to swing his cue. Three or four youngsters spring forward after each game to gather balls, wipe the rails and set up the next rack. The one constant is skill. Missing a makeable shot is a rarity and most players are short in stature and make do with some impossibly-long bridges.

These are gambling matches, make no mistake Ė sometimes the amount will be listed by the streamer, sometimes not. Sources of the money are not revealed but Filipino stake horses must be involved and one must keep in mind that the large amounts mentioned are in pisos, which go for 53 to the US dollar. In round numbers the conversion can be done by multiplying by .02. Even so, hundreds of dollars are in the middle and sometimes thousands. Disposition of the stakes would no doubt be very interesting. Being a top pool player in the islands might be a pretty good gig, especially in light of what we are told about the economy there. Itís no wonder that big name players from the American scene go home to play. Itís not one-pocket, but itís pool.

Last week I got an offer in the mail from The New Yorker Magazine Ė twenty-five issues for $25 and they will throw in a year of Vanity Fair. The New Yorker is much too sophisticated for me, but it has the very best cartoons in it, and I am a big fan of good cartoons. Vanity Fair always has some good stuff and I was a subscriber during the time that Dominick Dunne was reporting in depth on the OJ Simpson murder trial. This was a great offer at that rate but there was small print at the bottom Ė really small print. By signing up I would be agreeing to an automatic renewal at the end of the year, and the price of the renewal would be $149.99!

I have been through this twice before with major magazines. You can opt out of the renewal at the end of the subscription, but by that time it is too late; they had already taken their money two months ago, and your problem is getting it back, and itís tough. Both times I recovered my money but I had to jump through a lot of hoops along the way. Pissed me pretty good. Much better you should stroll into the Crave Sports Bar in Pasig City and see if any of them little short guys want to play.

Theyíve got all the magazines at the public library, anyway.
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