Filipinos Heartbroken Over All-Europe Final

Ralf Souquet

Filipino pool fans were heartbroken after hometown hero Efren "Bata" Reyes was outplayed by Billiards Congress of America Open 9-Ball champion Ralf "The Kaiser" Souquet in the semi finals of the Philippines-Europe 9-ball showdown following Warren Kiamco's earlier defeat at the hands of 2001 World Pool champion Mika "The Iceman" Immonen setting the stage for an All-European final at the ABS-CBN studios, Sunday.

The luster of the event was lost with an all-Europe race-to-thirteen final while Reyes and Kiamco were relegated to a mere battle for third place, with the Europeans also edging the Filipinos 10-9 in the struggle for the team trophy.

After an early see-saw battle where the score was tied at 2-2, Souquet raced to a 5-3 lead when Reyes was unlucky to see the one ball hang on the lip of the pocket in the ninth rack giving the German ace a chance to clean-up, finishing in style with a 2-9 combination to stretch his lead to 6-3. An uncharacteristic foul by Souquet enabled Reyes to pull one rack back at 6-4 but Reyes scratched in the very next frame and Souquet, with ball in hand, made short work of it to move comfortably ahead 8-4.

Reyes brought back a glimmer of hope for hometown fans when he quickly finished off the rack with a 1-9 combination to make it 8-5 but Souquet just as quickly did the same thing in the very next rack to virtually kill all hopes of a comeback by "The Magician." Reyes, whose break was a major letdown pocketed three balls on the break in the 15th rack to run out and make it 9-6 but the German ace, his cool and calculating game at its peak sank two balls on the break as Reyes watched him run out and move on the hill 10-6.

After pocketing two balls on the break Reyes had a somewhat difficult shot on the 5-ball which flew of the table as he put too much spin on the cue ball which was reflective of his frustration and with ball-in-hand Souquet ended the magical run of Reyes who suffered his only defeat after four rousing wins at the most crucial stage of the tournament. In a post-match interview Souquet conceded "it is very hard to beat Efren no matter where you play but in front of his home crowd its even tougher because the whole crowd is against you which is understandable." Souquet said Reyes' problem was "he was not as successful after the break as I was and I had more chances of getting out after the break. That made it much easier for me."

Souquet recalled that he beat Immonen in the semi finals of the BCA Open and "he's probably looking for revenge but I treat it as just another match. I'm very sad on the one hand that the Filipino crowd won't get a chance to see Reyes in the finals but I just did my job."

Photo courtesy of Diana Hoppe - Pool Pics by Hoppe