|A prison guard takes on an inmate in one of the many billiards tables inside the New Bilibid prison.|
Bata & Django to play Bilibid’s best
by rick olivares
On April 23, 2016, world-class Filipino billiards players Efren ‘Bata’ Reyes and Django Bustamente will go up against “tough” opponents they have not faced in their lifetime… the top cue artists of the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa.
Under the auspices of the Philippine Sports Commission, a Sports and Recreation Office (SARO) has been established inside the maximum security prison is currently home to over 15,000 inmates from all over the country who are incarcerated for murder, drugs, rape and other heinous crimes.
SARO conducts sports programs ranging from tennis to billiards to badminton to chess with futsal on the drawing board.
PSC Commissioner Jose “Jolly” Gomez said that the billiards tournament involving Reyes and Bustamante was a long time coming. “We planned that some time ago but we could never put it together until now.”
“Basically, the winners of the prison-wide billiards tournament will have the enviable opportunity to play two of the best ever to play the game,” succinctly pointed out Gomez.
“Many inmates who are serving life sentences while away their long and uneventful days playing billiards and other games. They have forgotten all their dreams. For one day, we hope to make their dreams come true and that is meeting these legends of Philippine sports.”
SARO director Anthony Omega said that the sports programs (that augment the traditional basketball tournaments) have greatly helped in the rehabilitation of the inmates as it promotes fitness and well-being as well as sportsmanship. “Before we had these sports programs, the inmates would sit around and do nothing. And the idleness sometimes leads to bad things. Sports has given everyone a reason to stay busy outside their prison chores. it has given them fitness and confidence. And it helps in their rehabilitation.”
“Having Efren and Django here will really boost their spirits and give people some hope that they can be someone and do something positive in spite of what they have done in the past."