Bata Reyes, Three Other Pinoy Cues Invited to Play in World 8-Ball

FILIPINO billiards master Efren “Bata” Reyes and three other Filipino cue masters have been seeded to the 2007 WPA World 8-Ball Championship from March 1 to 8, 2007 in Fujairah, United Arab Emirates this was announced by the Asian Pocket Billiards Union (APBU).

According to Spencer Shiau, APBU general secretary, the four seeded Filipinos are besides the 12 spots for Asians in the 64-man, $120,000 tournament.

Three of the 12 berths are allotted for players from Middle East countries besides the UAE, while the other nine spots are for cue artists from non-Middle East nations—giving more Filipinos a chance to enter the tournament organized by the World Pool-Billiard Association, or WPA.

Taiwanese wunderkind Wu Chia-ching, the defending champion, is the only other seeded player for the event, which gives the winner $20,000.

Wu, only 17, actually unseated Reyes, who won the tournament in 2004. But the Filipino “Magician” has not lost his touch in 8-ball, proven by his victory in the IPT World Open Championship last September in Reno, Nevada—where he copped the top prize of $500,000, considered the richest in billiards history.

Bustamante, on the other hand, teamed up with Reyes to win the inaugural World Cup of Pool in Wales last August, although the event was a 9-ball tournament.

Pagulayan and Alcano have also made their mark in 9-ball, being the past and present kings of the World Pool Championship. The former, a Filipino Canadian, won in 2004, while the latter prevailed last November in a memorable run on home soil.

Besides Wu, the Filipino pool sharks will also have to deal with rivals from Africa, which has three spots reserved in the tournament, plus North America (four spots) Central and South America (two), Europe (16) and Oceania (two). UAE, the host country, also has 16 spots reserved for its players.

The latest WPA men's rankings, released last month, have Alcano as the highest-ranked Filipino at 29th, behind No. 1 Thorsten Hohmann of Germany.

Other RP cue masters on the list's top 100 are Marlon Manalo (31st), Bustamante (36th), Reyes (37th), Rodolfo Luat (40th), Dennis Orcollo (45th), Pagulayan (54th) and Gandy Valle (84th).

Meanwhile, the organizing committee also eyeing Orcollo and Gabica to be seeded in the main draw.

The 34-year-old Gabica, the most outstanding Filipino athlete in Doha Games recently winning a gold and a silver in 9 ball and 8 ball competition respectively.

Orcollo, on the other hand, acknowledge Philippine money game king is the 2006 World Pool leaque winner.