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Saturday, September 11, 2010

Francisco "Django" Bustamante

Francisco Bustamante (born December 29, 1963)

A Filipino professional pocket billiards (pool) player from Tarlac, and the current world nine-ball champion., nicknamed "Django", after the lead character of the film of the same name[ and sometimes also called "Bustie", especially in the United States.

Bustamante never completed high school and has been concentrating in pocket billiards from 12 years of age. He quoted:

After some succeess in the Philippines, Bustamante moved to Germany where stayed for more than a decade, competing in a number of tournaments in Europe.


Francisco "Django" Bustamante makes the front page of Inside Pool magazine, issue 8, 2002.

Bustamante has been playing since the age of ten, and has won titles such as the Munich Masters, The German Nine-ball Championship, and the Japan Nine-ball Championship, making him one of billiard's greatest international stars.

With his win in Tulsa, Bustamante locked up the 1998 Camel Pro Billiards Series year-long point fund's top spot. He then finished the season in record breaking style, winning the Columbus 10-Ball Open and becoming the first player to win three Camel titles in one season. His Columbus 10-Ball title also completed the first ever Camel trifecta, with titles in each of the three games contested on the Camel Pro Billiards Series: eight-ball, nine-ball and ten-ball. Known for his graceful style at the table and his signature behind-the-back shot, Bustamante is one of the best Filipino players of the game[neutrality is disputed] along with fellow Kapampangan Efren Reyes, Marlon Manalo and Ronato Alcano. He also holds the world record for having the most powerful break shot: 43 miles per hour.

In 1999, Bustamante finished 3rd place in the WPA World Nine-ball Championship after losing to Efren Reyes who later won it. Months later, he won the International Challenge of Champions. He won that tournament again three years later.
The next year, Bustamante won the Motolite 9-ball Tournament, an event held in the Philippines, at the expense of Antonio Lining. The victory earned him $30K which was the largest first prize offered in a Philippine-held tournament at that time (this was later surpassed when Alcano won $100K in the 2006 WPA World Nine-ball Championship which was held in that country).

The year 2002 was probably the coldest year for Bustamante, especially considering his experience at the World Pool Championships. While the tournament was still going on, Bustamante was most shocked when he received a phone call from his wife informing him that his daughter, who was less than a year old, had died. Devastated by this, Bustamante strongly considered forfeiting his contention at the tournament to return to the Philippines but some people around convinced him to go on.

On his way to the final, Bustamante bested Antonio Lining in the last 16, Efren Reyes in the quarter finals and Ching Shun Yang in semis. In the final, he met Earl Strickland, the 2-time winner of the tournament. Bustamante was leading most of the time and could have won the title. At one point, he went for a jump shot but missed. Strickland returned to the table and won a few rack in a row to win the match 17-15.

His loss in the finals of the World Championship was most definitely a big blow to him due to the fact that his lack of focus on the match cost him the tournament. Later on, however, Bustamante regained momentum and began winning more tournaments.

Bustamante won the Peninsula Nine-ball Open, Gabriel's Las Vegas International Nine-ball tournament, the IBC Tokyo Nine-ball International and the All Japan Nine-ball Championship. He even won the Sudden Death Seven-ball tournament and dedicated the victory to his daughter, whom he had tragically lost. With such a string of victories, he became the AZBilliards 2002 Player of the Year.

Bustamante also won the tournament called the World Pool League in 2004 where he defeated the then world nine-ball champion Alex Pagulayan. He reached the finals of that event in 2001 but was bested by Steve Knight of Great Britain.

In 2007, he was undefeated in the United States Pro Tour Championship held at the Normandie Casino in Los Angeles, California.

For 2007, he was ranked #7 in Pool & Billiard Magazine's "Fans' Top 20 Favorite Players" poll.

Despite the fact he never won a world championship, Bustamante is rated second to Reyes when it comes to recognition.

He competed in the 2008 World Straight Pool Championship as the Philippines' only entry. This was his first-ever participation in straight pool event. In the end, he finished at 2nd place behind Niels Feijen, the tournament winner.

In 2010, Bustamante again reached the finals of the World Nine-ball Championship. Unlike his first final eight years ago, fate did not deny him. Bustamante won the match and the title against Taiwan's Kuo Po-cheng, a second-placer in the 2005 event.

On July 27, 2010, Francisco Bustamante, along with Terry Bell and Larry Hubbart who are founders of the American Pool Players Association (APA), were elected to the Billiard Congress of America's Hall Of Fame and will be enshrined on October 21. In this, Bustamante shall be the second player from the Philippines after Efren Reyes to be added.


On June 15, 2008, Efren Reyes, Francisco "Django" Bustamante and 2007 Women's Amway World Pool Championships finalist Rubilen "Bingkay" Amit will begin photography and had been cast to star with American Jennifer Barretta in and independent film, "9-Ball," at Universal Studios. This movie will be directed and produced by Main Street Production's Anthony Palma, with Ralph Clemente as executive producer.


    * 2010 World 9-Ball Championship in Doha, Qatar - Champion
    * 2007 Pool & Billiard Magazine Fans' Top 20 Favorite Players, #7
    * 2007 Hard Times Summer Jamboree winner (One-pocket Division)
    * 2007 Hard Times Summer Jamboree winner (Nine-ball Division)
    * 2007 US Pro Tour Champion
    * 2006 World Cup of Pool winner
    * 2005 Masters Nine-ball Champion
    * 2005 Joss Northeast Nine-ball Tour Finale Champion
    * 2005 All-Filipino Billiards Open winner
    * 2005 Weert Open Ten-ball Ring Game winner
    * 2004 World Pool League Champion
    * 2003 ESPN International Challenge of Champions winner
    * 2002 All-Japan Nine-ball Champion
    * 2002 ESPN Sudden Death Seven-ball Champion
    * 2002 Gabriels Las Vegas International Nine-ball Champion
    * 2002 Peninsula Nine-ball Open winner
    * 2002 IBC Tour Stop 2 (Munich, Germany) winner
    * 2002 Motolite World Nine-ball Challenge winner
    * 2002 IBC Tokyo Nine-ball International winner
    * 2001 World Pool Masters winner
    * 2001 Turning Stone Casino Classic II winner
    * 2000 Motolite International Nine-ball Champion
    * 1999 ESPN International Challenge of Champions winner
    * 1999 Camel Tulsa Nine-ball Open winner
    * 1998 Camel Riviera Eight-ball Open winner
    * 1998 World Pool Masters winner
    * 1998 Camel Tulsa Nine-ball Open winner
    * 1998 Camel Columbus Ten-ball Open winner
    * 1998 Sands Regency Open 28 winner
    * 1997 Camel Kasson Open winner
    * 1997 Camel Denver Open winner
    * 1993 PBT Bicycle Club Invitational winner