MANILA, Philippines---Veteran campaigner Marlon Manalo has all the opportunities to be the world’s best.
But for now, he is determined to follow the footsteps of Filipino world champions in the likes of Efren "Bata" Reyes (WPA World 9-ball and 8-ball champion), Ronato "Volcano" Alcano (WPA World 9-ball and 8-ball champion), Francisco "Django" Bustamante (WPA World 9-ball champion), Alex "The Lion" Pagulayan (WPA World 9-ball champion), Dennis "Robocop" Orcollo (WPA World 8-ball champion), Carlo Biado (WPA World 9-Ball champion) and Rubilen "Bingkay" Amit (WPA Women's World 10-ball champion).
He will make his return to the pool world after a long hiatus when he competes in this year’s World 9-Ball Championship beginning December 10 to 20, 2018 in the al-Attiya Sports Arena of the Al-Arabi Sports Club in Doha, Qatar.
"The World 9-ball tournament in Qatar will be a good test for me that's why I prepared well for it," said Manalo, who is also known in pool circuit as "The Marvelous Captain."
“I still believe I can become a world champion,” added Manalo, a many-time winner in the US Pool Circuit and runner-up to Reyes in 2004 World 8-Ball Championship.
"If we're lucky enough in the World Pool Championship in United Arab Emirates and Kaoshiung, Taiwan, I'd win at least one title for us," added the Jose Rizal University (JRU) AB Economics graduate.
"I will pour all that I know in Qatar," said Manalo, who settled for a silver medal in the snooker event by placing second to Bjorn Haneveer of Belgium in the 2001 Akita, Japan World Games.
The affable cue artist and chairman of Barangay Malamig in Mandaluyong City who is also the "League of the Barangay's president" captivated the billiard circuit by clustering victories against noted pool sharks Yang Ching-shun of Taiwan and countrymen Efren “Bata” Reyes and Francisco “Django” Bustamante in the knockout stage of the World Pool Championship in 2004.
The following year, the 2000 Asian Snooker Champion and 2008 National Champion Manalo went all the way to the semifinals of the same event before bowing to eventual champion Wu Chia-ching (Wu Jia-qing).
Although he’s been away from big competition the past few years, Manalo kept himself in shape by practicing daily in his own pool hall in Talumpung, Mandaluyong and famous Star Billiards Center in Grace Village, Quezon City, hosted by long-time sports patron Sebastian "Baste" Chua.
At this point, the Brgy. Malamig chairman from Mandaluyong City's quest for honor and glory received a needed shot in the arm from his long-time benefactors Solar Sports head Ronald Tieng and Mandaluyong City mayor Carmelita “Menchie” Aguilar Abalos.-Marlon Bernardino-