Filipinos Want Revenge in Manila

Efren Reyes

After their disappointing performance in the Kaohsiung leg of the San Miguel Asian 9-Ball Tour when none of them made it even to the semi finals, Filipino cue wizards led by “The Magician” Efren “Bata” Reyes want revenge in the final leg to be staged at the Robinsons Galleria Trade Hall along busy Ortigas Avenue, Metro Manila, over the weekend.

Home of the final leg the past three years and headquarters of one of the finest beers in the world, San Miguel Beer, Manila is where the excitement begins and ends and the Filipinos are determined not to disappoint their hometown fans.

Reyes who won the second tour stop in Jakarta after Gandy Valle stunned Chinese-Taipei's sensational Ching Shun “Son of Pool” Yang in the finals of the opening leg in Singapore anchors a six-man squad which includes former World No. 1 Francisco “Django” Bustamante, veterans Antonio “Nikoy” Lining and Ramil Gallego, Joss NE Tour standout Ronnie Alcano and Valle. Reyes emphasized “we will not allow anybody to embarrass us in front of our countrymen.”

Bustamante who lost a nerve-wracking Hope P1 million (about $20,000) final to reigning World Pool Champion Alex “The Lion” Pagulayan 15-14 last weekend said “we were sort of unlucky in Kaohsiung bur for sure we will redeem ourselves here in Manila.”

Reyes whose early exit in Taiwan cost him the top spot in the Tour Order of Merit to Yang has won five tour legs since the San Miguel Asian 9-Ball Tour started and is dead set on regaining the top spot in the tour where the top ten players at the end of the tour will automatically qualify for the World Pool Championships which will be held in Kaohsiung in late July.

However Yang who is currently on top with 160 points as against the 120 of Reyes with Valle a close third with 110 and Bustamante in sixth spot with 80 points and is himself ready to defend his standing and hopefully add another $10,000 top prize to his kitty. Aside from Yang the other Taiwanese expected to crowd the Filipinos for top honors are 2000 World Pool Champion Fong Pang Chao, teenage sensation Chia Ching Wu, World Pool Championship 2004 runner-up Pei Wei Chang and the talented Po Cheng Kuo.

Filipino pool fans who are among the most ardent followers of the sport in the world will get an additional treat when ESPN Star Sports will stage the first Asian Trick Shot Masters with Reyes, Bustamante, Yang and Chao trying to outdo each other in a game of “Can-U-Top-This?”