Thursday, May 19th, 2022 – I've been speaking with Jeffrey De Luna, sensational pool player of the Philippines, and he's a straight shooter metaphorically and literally. What would you like fans such as myself to know about Jeffrey De Luna? – I asked. "What you see is what you get." – Jeffrey De Luna. A billiards insider has told me that "The Bull," De Luna has been beating players using nothing but the bridge and playing perfect pool with the handicap against top world players, which is an astounding feat in and of itself. And The Bull is as strong as any of the top players worldwide. He is one of the "young guns" of pool, as I call them, but make no mistake, he is a seasoned professional pool player of the highest caliber. And The Bull has an all-guns-blazing way in which he attacks a rack of rotation, practicing and playing pool eight hours a day, grinding. And he plays 100 racks of rotation, 9-ball or 10-ball rotation, but The Bull never plays drills, and man, with a game like his, all this player needs to do, is run out rack after rack of some of the most offensive juggernaut-edition game-official billiards hath ever witnessed in modern times – in any times. Perfect pool robots couldn't play the game better it would seem. Jeffrey "The Bull" De Luna stands atop the heap of world pool players as one of the sport's greatest assets, cue artists, players, and professionals; he is the "real deal" if ever there was one. Quite frankly, his game is so out-of-this-world otherworldly, just call him a billiards interstellar being! He is not of this Earth. He began the game at eight, the G.O.A.T. (Greatest Of All Times), Efren Reyes, being his mentor. But the Bull is not Reyes, nor Reyes the Bull, and their styles are as different as Earth, Wind, and Fire – but still the base elements of each player's game impeccable. Jeffrey 'The Bull' De Luna: "As you would know I started playing when I was 8, and of course at that age who would not want Efren 'Bata' to be his mentor? However, as I grow older you’d realize that we have different styles, different games etc – we are very opposite. In pool you have to have your own character, and efren is efren… and he is a legend! I was named 'The BuLL' because of my strong break, fearless and hardworking. We all know that it is the key to a winning game. I’m not perfect and still working on so many things on how to improve my game more and more. But when I play I don’t care. I will just play whoever I meet. You have to enjoy the game and be passionate about it. Above all, a win is a win. I’m hungry to have a Big title soon." The above response prompts me to ask The Bull a more pointed question: That's true, what you say, like how Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant or LeBron James, different winning players from different eras in that particular sport, with differing styles, and attributes. Do you feel like the best players play to their strengths? I would love to see you win the US Open, the World 9 ball championship, or some event of that magnitude. What are your ultimate goals in the game of pocket billiards? What would you like to achieve through the course of your pool career? "My ultimate goal is of course to be a World Champion, and It will in God's perfect time. Sometimes you are well prepared mentally & physically; sometimes you think U have given your best, but you still lose, and it is hard to understand why. Players need luck as well. I do not believe in such perfection. There are no perfect games for a week of competition. You will always make mistakes, but just don’t quit. Cos Quitting means time to retire." – Jeffrey De Luna. What do you feel the mindset of a champion such as yourself is? A professional pool player of your caliber? Can that mindset be taught? "One should be very passionate about what he is doing. Discipline is a must and hardwork." – De Luna. What would you do to change the rules of any game of pool if you could? What game? What rule or rules? "I enjoy the game. I have nothing to change." – Said Jeffrey De Luna. Have you ever broken a ball you hit and/or the cue ball? "In the Philippines, yes, maybe because it’s fake. But the balls that we used in the competition of course not…But now, with the quality of balls we used I don’t think any player can break it." – De Luna. What was one of your favorite match wins in a tournament? What tournament and against who? "My favorite match is when I played the 3x gold medalist in the Asian games, and he was so hot that time – none other than The prince of pool Yang Ching Sun. That feeling when I was just a 21 year old and won that match. It gave me so much inspiration and motivation to keep playing." – Jeffrey De Luna. And For Practice, again The Bull doesn't do drills: "I do 100 racks and record it by point system…For me drill is for consistency…You play everyday it will be different angles and balls…So I do the actual rotation and just record the points…Rotation for 9 balls or 10 balls…We call it rotation…And it was a great practice to stay in the usa too, cos u get to learn a lot of discipline like one pocket and banks." – De Luna says of his practice regimen. So then I ask: "What do you think of Shaw's 714 to beat 626 of Schmidt? Do you want a crack at the high run in 14.1 continuous?" And Jeffrey replies, "I know how to play. Why not if given a chance?" When asked of his sponsors, Deluna says, "I am sponsored by JFlowers cases… Exceed cues and Mezz cues are my Major sponsors for my playing cues, break cue, and jump cue."
Do you have customized preparations for each event? For example, do you adjust your practice table to match the pocket size of the upcoming event, do you find the same brand table? Any other preparations? "Honestly speaking, I just do my everyday programming, which is running in the morning, then practice 5 to 8 hours in the afternoon. I don’t really choose tables the same as the competition tables that we used, as it is hard to find an exact table. I just practice my stroke and break 'cause that is really important. That is the key to winning a match." – De Luna Said. Pool is very much an individual sport, but do you have a “team” that assists you, if so - what do they help you with? How does this help you? Do you use a coach? "No, I don’t have a team/coach. I am just comfortable being on my own, and I just do my best to improve more in terms of playing pool. That’s why I travel a lot, to expand my knowledge in the game." – De Luna Said. You are known to demand high standards of yourself at the table. Do you replay difficult spots/misses in your head and practice these particular situations later? "Yes I do! So I won’t be making the same mistake again." – Said De Luna. Not everybody is a natural “bubbly” personality like you, but do you feel it’s important that the profiled players, “put on a show” for the audience watching at home or on TV? "People might think that I’m doing it intentionally, but honestly that’s me! That’s okay and I’m comfortable playing that way. I am just being me not for a show or anything else. Players have different styles, and I am unique in my own style." – Said De Luna. What advice would you give players who struggle with reaching a new level? Did you experience this in your early days, and if so - how did you overcome this? "Just don’t give up, and just give yourself a chance to learn more or improve more. You know yourself better than everyone else, and you know what you can do. I do struggle, but it never gets through my mind, 'cause I’m helping my parents in terms of their daily needs. So I have strong courage to work hard for them." – De Luna said. World championship 9 ball or US Open 9 ball. Which title would you most prefer to win? "If I would be fortunate, I want both of course. And I am really working hard to get that title. I’m hungry for world titles. It’s a hard choice, but I would choose the World 9 ball Championship, that's why it’s called World." – De Luna. You are one of the biggest money match players. Do you think money games are important to keep you sharp? "It is important to play money games, because first you have to play with other good players to try what you’ve been practicing, and of course you get to try your nerves when your blood's rising from a hill/hill battle, with me putting my own money of course." – De Luna. All in all, De Luna is an all-class player, that appears to me to genuinely love the game of Pocket Billiards; what a rare talent, and part of the newer generation of players from the Philippines – the world's mecca of pool, and home to some of the best cue artists the Earth hath ever produced.