‘Bata’ Battles Fellow Grandmaster Chao In Face Off Series 3

Efren Reyes

He had just proven that father time hasn't dawned upon him – or at least he continues to defy it. His recent title conquest of the World Cup of Pool said it loud.

Now, Efren “Bata” Reyes puts his legendary status on the line once again as he takes on an old nemesis – fellow Asian great Fong-Pang Chao – in a one-on-one duel dubbed as Face Off Series 3 – The Grandmasters slated on October 28 and 29 at the posh Club Capo Exclusive in Tomas Morato, Quezon City .

The match, a race-to-50 9-ball affair, is the Face Off Series' and Club Capo's next offering the highly-successful showdown between former world no.1 Dennis Orcollo and Taiwanese “Son of Pool” Ching-Shun Yang last September 8 and 9 with the former emerging the victor via a 50-45 decision.

The Face Off Series 3 is presented by Club Capo in cooperation with JBET.net, Bugsy Promotions, Puyat Sports and Nuvo City.

Reyes doesn't need any introduction. He is simply the best player to have ever played the game.

But to the uninitiated, the 55-year-old Magician is a two-time world champion and holds countless of international and local titles.

Among his notable successes were the 1999 World Pool Championship, 1994 US Open 9-Ball Championship, 2004 World 8-Ball Championship and the IPT World Open 8-Ball Championship where he won the record-breaking $500,000, which until now was the largest prize money tournament in the history of pocket billiards.

This year, Reyes finally broke a long title-drought when he ruled The Manny Villar Cup Kadayawan leg last August in Davao City.

Then after that, he teamed up with bosom buddy Francisco “Django” Bustamante to win the World Cup of Pool for the second time last September 6.

As a player in professional pool, Reyes has been known to have won a number of money-rich tournaments worldwide. This makes him one of the most profitable players around. To prove it, he topped AZ Billiards Money List 5 times – 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005 and in 2006, where he set a record by earning $646K in a single year.
Like Reyes, the 42-year-old Chao is also one of the best cue artists who hailed from Asia.

In 1993, Chao became the first Asian to win a world title in pocket billiards after he ruled the WPA World 9-Ball Championship.

The Kaohsiung , Taiwan native became a two-time world champion when he won the same event in 2000, defeating Mexico 's Ismael Paez in the titular match, 17-6, the largest winning margin ever made in a world championship final.

Chao, who is now residing in China , is renowned for his jump shots, relying on them considerably more frequently that most other pros. One notable instance was when he played versus Francisco Bustamante at the 2001 ICC tie-breaker, where Bustamante had made a good snooker behind a ball, leaving Chao in a difficult position. But Chao went for the jump, and made it to win the match and the title.

While a majority of Taiwanese players play with open bridge hands, Chao is among the few who play with a closed or loop bridge.

The Reyes-Chao match is part of a series of challenge matches Club Capo is putting up.

The exclusive membership club is planning to pit eight to other pairs of world-class cue artists each year. It has also lined up a match pitting former double world champions Ronnie Alcano and Ralf Souquet of Germany .

The second edition of The Philippines versus the World will be part of the Face-Off Series.

Club Capo Exclusive is also eyeing a match between Francisco “Django” Bustamante against American Rodney Morris and Lee Van Corteza opposite Shane Van Boening in November.

Other planned matches include a rematch between 2007 World Pool Championship finalists Roberto Gomez and Darryl Peach of England; Alcano versus fellow former world champion Wu Chia-ching of Singapore; a scotch doubles match featuring the tandem of Efren “Bata” Reyes and Bustamante against the duo of Orcollo and Alcano, as well as the pair of Bustamante and Gomez versus Johnny Archer and Van Boening, and Alcano-Johann Chua opposite Yang-Ko Pin-yi; and a duel between Reyes and Archer.