In the first part of our interview, “Fourth Heaven” Daniel Sanchez (Eswai) talked about his experience in the PBA, both on the individual tour and in the team league.메이저놀이터
We recently sat down with Sanchez at the Goyang PBA Stadium and he gave us some seasoned but not too heavy-handed answers about his professional adjustment in Korea. He talked about the fierce competition in the colorful stadiums, his decision to move to another country in search of a second life in billiards, teamwork, and much more.
While listening to Sanchez’s story, we were also curious about his surroundings. When I asked him who he was most excited to see on the team, he quickly pointed to Han Ji-Eun, the youngest female player on the team.
When I asked him why, he said, “She is usually shy and small, but when she starts playing, she shows off her strong strokes and her attitude towards the game is amazing. “Personally, I feel that her character is a bit similar to Choi Sung-woo (Seoul Metropolitan Government) and Han Ji-eun, and although Choi Sung-woo’s skills are still superior, I told Han Ji-eun, ‘You have a very special ability. I’m looking forward to seeing you play in the future,” he said.
Eswai also had high praise for Korean billiards in his eyes, calling it “the center of the world.”
“There are a lot of good players in Colombia, Mexico, and Turkiye, but I think the center of the world is definitely Korea. I went to clubs for two months and played against a lot of players, and they were very respectful.”
What caught his attention were the countless pool halls that lined the neighborhoods. “In Barcelona, where I lived, there were only about three pool halls in a neighborhood, but when I came to Ilsan, I could easily see 10 to 15 pool halls,” Sanchez said.
Spain, on the other hand, has a much smaller pool hall scene, but it’s one that’s attracting young up-and-comers.
“When I was broadcasting, you’d go to a pool hall and you’d see people in their 40s and 50s, but now there are a lot of very young players, between 16 and 17 years old,” Sanchez says. “I wouldn’t say they’re very good right away, but they all have great skills. There are a lot of players who are trying to follow in the footsteps of David Zapata (Blue One Resort) and David Martinez (Crown Hae Taeyeon) who are currently playing in the PBA.”
It’s also a natural fit for the PBA’s colorful arenas. “(The PBA) is a much different environment than the League,” Sanchez said, “and the loud cheering was a bit of a challenge at first. Especially when we played in the first round of the team league, the cheering, the lights, the music, everything was new to me.” But he sees it as a positive.
“Just because it’s billiards doesn’t mean you can’t yell and cheer like in baseball, because if you’re focused, it doesn’t matter.”
Sanchez, who had only traveled to Korea briefly before, is going through an adjustment period on a broader level now that he’s living in Seoul. “I’ve been in Korea for more than two and a half months now, and I’m currently taking private tutoring and trying to learn as much as I can from conversations with people around me,” Sanchez said. In fact, his intonation of some of the words he throws out is similar enough to be indistinguishable from Korean.
When asked if there was any culture that he was unfamiliar with in Korea, he said, “For better or worse, the first thing that I noticed was the big difference is the brotherhood culture. Me and Ivan Mayor are very far apart in age, but we consider each other friends, and when I go to a Korean billiard hall, people call me ‘chess-type’ and it feels very friendly. I like this culture,” he smiles.
The second thing was the unexpectedly ‘cool’ (?) gaze of Koreans. Korean people’s gaze. “They don’t seem to care much about other people,” Sanchez says. “In Spain, for example, if you wear an orange top, pink pants, and different shoes, they ask you ‘why are you dressed like that’ and stare at you on the street. But in Korea, you can wear whatever you want and no one cares.”
Before concluding the interview, Sanchez had a message for his fans, who have been supporting his new team Eswai and his “second life” in Korean professional billiards.
“I would like to thank my fans for their support, and I would like to go to as many places as possible to meet them in person. When I meet them, they call me ‘chess-type’ and I feel very close to them, which is very nice. It’s nice to know that someone recognizes and appreciates me, and even if I don’t play well, I’d appreciate your support.”