Billiards big guns seek Ilagan ouster
- Olmin Leyba () - March 29, 2012 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Billiards players, led by world champs Efren Reyes, Francisco Bustamante and Dennis Orcollo, are clamoring for a change in leadership at the Billiards Sports Confederation of the Philippines (BSCP).

Reyes, Bustamante and Orcollo were among 16 players who wrote the Philippine Olympic Committee and Philippine Sports Commission to bat for the ouster of BSCP president Arturo Ilagan and the conduct of new elections.

In their letter, the players accused Ilagan of “not taking care of the athletes’ welfare” and allegedly condoning the action of his appointed assistant coach Irineo Gutierrez, whom they claimed “falsified” their attendance sheets with the PSC.

"If an election of new officers is necessary to resolve our problem, we hope this will be done at the soonest possible time)," they wrote.

Also affixing their signatures to the letter-complaint were SEAG double gold medalist Iris Ranola, Rubilen Amit, coach Edgard Asonto, Rodolfo Lordan, Jr., Floriza Andal, Michael Angelo Mengorio, Zemonette Oryan, Warren Kiamco, Mary Ann Basas, Luis Saberdo, Alvin Barbero, Francisco dela Cruz and coach Reynaldo Grandea.

Grandea and Ranola in a separate correspondence, also asked that Gutierrez and his wife be "banned from Gameball (training venue)" for allegedy disrupting their training.

As an offshoot of this, the BSCP board led by chairman Aristeo Puyat convened and decided to expand their membership. The move seen by some as preparatory to an election. Ilagan did not attend the said meeting.

Named to the BSCP membership were stakeholders Perry Mariano, Jaime Chongo, Christine Caparas, former North Cotabato Rep. Bernardo Pinol, Jesse Gonzales, Filemon de Leon as well as players Orcollo, Bustamante, Amit, Ranola, Grandea and dela Cruz.

Once approved and sworn by the POC, the new members will later be the ones to select a the board of directors.

"Our job is to take care of the athletes and ensure that the Phl maintains a program that will ensure our supremacy in billiards," said Puyat.

Ilagan dismissed the charges, saying: “When it comes to elections (matter), there has to be an agenda and there was no such thing (there).”

“And imagine players becoming voting members of an association? If we hold an election and players are voting members, then Puyat will have the numbers. If the POC will agree to this, they might as well just order me to leave the post.”

Ilagan said the players, all pros, are up in arms just because of his decision to concentrate on “developing young players” this year.

He also defended Gutierrez, saying: "They're accusing him of taking commissions from their allowances when actually they all receive their allowances via ATM," he said. "I'm strict on attendance. I think what I was doing was for the welfare of the PSC, I don't allow allowances just like that. I see to  it they attend."

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