Geronimo ousts Bata at Villar Cup

Egie Geronimo turned Efren "Bata" Reyes from an opponent into a mere spectator

CEBU CITY – Unheralded Egie Geronimo took the cudgels for the upset-minded young guns in the First Senate President Manny Villar Cup Cebu Leg by humiliating no less that pool icon Efren “Bata” Reyes, 9-1, at the start of the knockout stage yesterday at the jampacked Trade Hall of SM City Cebu.

Coming into the match with only a leg title in the Search for the New Billiards Idol series as the brightest line in his resume, Geronimo was a hands down underdog against the man billed as the greatest cue artist ever.

But it only took a scratch off Reyes's break of the opening rack for Geronimo to seize the opportunity and start the carnage that earned him adoration from an awestruck Cebuano crowd.

After cleaning up the first rack, Geronimo broke and ran out the next six frames before allowing the former world champion back to the table only to miss a shot at the money-ball, sending Geronimo to the hill at 8-0.

Two racks later, it was over and another upset was recorded in this topnotch event presented by Villards: Tulong sa Pagsulong ng Philippine Sports, in partnership with the Billiards Managers and Players Association of the Philippines (BMPAP) and sponsored by Camella Communities.

He was slated to face in the Last 16 fellow qualifier and Bugsy stablemate Michael Feliciano, who also demolished Godofredo Ducanes, 9-1.

Besides Reyes, the other big guns, who are already out of the running for the prestigious Villar Cup and the P400,000 top purse, are fellow former world titlist Ronnie Alcano, defending Villar Cup champion Warren Kiamco and veteran internationalists Rodolfo Luat.

Alcano was booted out by young Bugsy boy Jomar De Ocampo, 9-7, in the losers' bracket of the preliminary stage, while Kiamco, who lost his first match to another Bugsy boy Johann Chua, was eliminated by Benjie Guevarra, 9-5, late Friday.

Other round-of-32 matches saw other top guns former world champion Alex Pagulayan trouncing 14-year-old Cebuano Diondel Raga, 9-5; Francisco “Django” Bustamante demolishing Steve Villamil, 9-2; reigning national titlist Lee Van Corteza blasting Romar Villones, 9-5; current world no.1 Dennis Orcollo ripping John Rebong, 9-4; and Joven Bustamante blanking Arturo Pubilco, 9-0.

Also advancing into the octofinals were Guevarra, who downed William Millares, 9-2; Ramil Gallego, who edged Panfilo Damuag, 9-8, Carlo Biado, who subdued Eduardo Villanueva, 9-5; Mike Takayama, who prevailed over Manolo Tanasas, 9-8, and Richard Pornelosa, who also squeaked past Danny Otacan, 9-8.

Matches in the Last 16 up to the quarterfinals were also scheduled to be played last night, with the semifinals and finals slated today.