ROCKWOOD — Bryzen Ace Manipula recently won the 2023 Canadian Billiard and Snooker Association’s (CBSA) Canadian Junior Championships.
In doing so, the 16-year-old Rockwood resident has earned a spot in the World Junior Championships in nine-ball.
He will compete against the top junior billiard players in the world in Austria this October. The invitational tournament will feature 72 junior players.
“I worked really hard for it, so I’m really happy,” said Manipula.
Nine-ball is a form of rotation pool, Manipula explained to the Advertiser.
Instead of eight-ball, when players shoot solids and stripes, all balls will be shot in order from one to nine. Whoever makes the nine-ball wins.
“It’s a lot more scale dependent, I’d say because you only have one option,” he said. “You can only shoot at the lowest (numbered) ball.”
The junior champ grew up with his entire family playing pool, and that is what got him into the game.
“My grandpa [had been] playing in the Philippines,” he said. “And once he moved here, it’s branched down to my aunts and uncles and my dad.”
Manipula decided to seriously take up competitive billiards just last year, and he hopes to continue to do so in the future. To get where he has, he joined in an open tournament with the CBSA. Last year he ended up placing fourth and that motivated him for this year’s tournament.
“I finished in fourth [last year] and I finished in first this year, so [you just have to] work really hard and keep practicing,” he said.
The nine-ball player has also received a sponsorship from a Japanese cue maker, Mezz Cues. The company stated on its Facebook page that it is “glad to welcome a young and promising talent” like Manipula.
Along with his sponsorship, the CBSA announced on Facebook its Canadian Junior Legacy Fund will be assisting Manipula and two other Canadian juniors with funds required to compete in Austria for the world championships.
“There is no better investment than to invest in our youth,” the CBSA stated in a media release.
Manipula, who has travelled internationally for nine-ball once before – to London – said he is looking forward to being able to compete in Austria.
He and two others will represent Canada at the tournament; one in the under-17 division, and the other will be playing with Manipula in the under-19 division.