The Wilde Blu Project is going to keep looking for talented young billiard players who have the potential to become the country’s next pool champions.
Initiated in February 2019 by Leslie “the AnitoKid of Billiards” Mapugay and Nino Lopez, the Wild Blu Project is a charitable initiative that promotes the correct development of young billiard players through training and discipline.
These young players have the potential to not only achieve the greatness of Efren “Bata” Reyes, but also to successfully complete their formal education in academic institutions. The Wild Blu Project was founded as a program that advocates the proper development of young boy.
It is a grassroots-level organization that does not make a profit and is made up entirely of volunteers. Its primary focus is on cue sports and it recruits young people between the ages of 10 and 17 who play pocket billiard and come from low-income families.
The team is managed by sponsors, supporters who volunteer their time, and mentors who are willing to provide guidance and assistance to junior players who have been selected for their talent. It is a program that is selfless and dedicated, with the goal of assisting junior billiard players in developing their talent and skills at the pool table.
Since it first began, the program has been responsible for the development of players who have the potential to shape the sport in the years to come.
Among them are rising star junior player Bernie ‘Benok’ Regalario, who has already signed a professional player sponsorship with Peri Cues in November of 2020, and young player Kayla C. Herrera, who has made a name for herself by winning in various tournaments, including the women’s division in the 1st Miguel Padilla Memorial 8-Ball Tournament in August of 2019, the Girl’s division in the September 2019 District Meet in 8-ball and 9-ball, and the Girls’ division.
Aside from the successes in the sport, the program has also assisted its players in completing their academic careers, particularly with regard to junior players. As far as the Wilde Blu Junior Team is concerned, Dexter M. Barnido and NJ Asugue Perez are the first batch of players to graduate from high school.
The junior players benefit from the help and assistance of the sponsors and mentors as they develop their talent and skills. In exchange, the junior players are required to avoid getting into any kind of trouble, to honor and respect their parents, to continue their education, and to keep their grade point average (GPA) at school at a minimum of 80 percent.
The group now consists of 18 individuals, including Earl Vincent Trinidad, Dartagnan Philippe Bonode, Jego Flores, Kayla C. Herrera, Elijah De Mesa, Bastien Olanda, Rey Calanao, Sofhia Rosales, Ian Cedrick Bayot, Jolo Aspuria, Dominic John Versoza, Dianne Jane Versoza, Ruben Quezona Bujawe II, Trix Carl Jamantron, Apollo M. Miranda.
The number of official sponsors and supporters who have jumped on board has increased significantly. The following brands are included in this: HOW Brand, Kamui Brand, Ropa Commercial, South Cue Billiard Depot, Peri Cues, Aspire Billiards, Angel Custom Cues, JD Custom Cues, CPBA Cloth, DC Cues, AnitoKid of Billiards, MAPPA, Bilyarista.com, Jimenez Logistics and Solutions Inc., Pathfinder Gear, the Parashop Manila, and Hahn Manila.
In addition to Lopez and Mapugay, other mentors working on the project include Victor Arpilleda, who is in charge of the team and serves in the capacity of a coach. Arpilleda won a silver medal at the SEA Games in 1987 and a gold medal at the SEA Games in 1997. He is also a former coach of the Indonesian Billiard Team, which competed in the SEA Games in Singapore in 2015.