‘Jeff Bata’ De Luna Joins ‘Bata’ Reyes In Round Of 16

Jeffrey De Luna, the 20 year old youngster known around the local pool circuit as 'Jeff Bata' joined his longtime idol Efren 'Bata' Reyes in the round of sixteen main draw of the Hope P1 million All Filipino Billiards Open which gets underway on February 21 at the TV studios of IBC 13 at Broadcast Center, Quezon City.

De Luna became the youngest player to qualify in the event sponsored by Hope and Smart by whipping Dondon Razalan 7-4 in one of the four knockout matches in the losers bracket of the qualifying phase at the Bowling Inn and Billiards Center on busy Taft Avenue, Manila.

Razlan started off impressively winning the first two racks but De Luna kept his composure and rattled off four racks in a row to jump to a 4-2 lead. Razlan clawed back to even the count at 4-4 but he came up empty on his break in the ninth rack allowing De Luna to clean up before the talented youngster who earned the monicker 'Jeff Bata' because of his tendency to go for near impossible shots just like 'The Magician,' ran out the last two racks to clinch a spot in the main draw.

De Luna fought back through the losers bracket by routing Allan Cuartero 7-1, Eduardo Saracho 7-2 and Razalan 7-4 after being relegated to the losers side when he lost to Luis Saberdo in a cliffhanger 7-6. Also advancing from the losers bracket were 1998 Asian Games gold medallist Gandy Valle and Saberdo and Joven Alba who are both members of the Philippines snooker team. Valle, as expected, clinched a spot with a comfortable victory over Victor Arpilleda 7-3 but two favored stars, former Japan Open champion Antonio 'Nikoy' Lining and Antonio 'Bebeng' Gallego were ousted in stunning upsets.

Alba whipped an off-form Lining 7-4 while Saberdo prevailed over Gallego by an identical 7-4 scoreline. The four winners in the losers bracket and the four early qualifiers, Edgar Acaba, Robert Dy, Antonio Gabica and Carlo Viado will comprise the lower half of the last 16. The upper half is composed of top seeds, Efren Reyes, Francisco 'Django' Bustamante, World Pool Champion Alex 'The Lion' Pagulayan, 'Marvelous' Marlon Manalo, Asian Games gold medallist Lee Van Corteza, Warren Kiamco and veterans Rodolfo Luat and Leonardo Andam

The tournament is organized by Billiards and Snooker Congress of the Philippines president Ernesto Fajardo, Aristeo 'Putch' Puyat of Puyat Sports and Jemah Television president Marc Roces with Rolly Vicente as tournament director. The round of sixteen matches will be telecast on prime time over IBC 13.