Reyes Advances To Villar Cup Quarter Finals

Efren Reyes

Efren “Bata” Reyes recalled his magic touch to storm back from a 0-4 deficit to beat teenage phenomenon Johann  Chua, 11-6 and advance into the quarterfinals of the First Senate President Manny Villar Cup Bacolod leg being held at the Garden Royal Function Hall of Goldenfields Commercial Complex.

Cebu leg champion Gandy Valle maintained his mastery of Lee Van Corteza scoring a gripping 11-10 victory to also move to within three wins of becoming the first two-time winner of the prestigious island-hopping series presented by Villards: Tulong sa Pagsulong ng Philippine sports.
After an easy 11-5 opening round win over upstart Mike Takayama, Reyes had a hard time against the 16-year-old Chua who came into the match fresh from a stunning upset when he ousted Davao leg titlist and 2007 World Pool Championship runner-up Roberto Gomez.
A poor start saw the 54-year-old Reyes surrender the first four racks to Chua. But not wanting to disappoint the huge crowd that was obviously rooting for him, Reyes summoned his magical touch and ran out five consecutive racks to take the upperhand 5-4.
Chua, a member of the star-studded Bugsy Promotions of businessman Perry Mariano, took two of the next three frames to stop the bleeding and tie the count at 6-all. But that proved to be short-lived as Reyes, as soon as he got back to the table, cleaned up the succeeding five racks to clinch the win that put him closer to the coveted Villar Cup and the $15,000 top prize at stake in this tournament organized by the Billiards Managers and Players Association of the Philippines in cooperation with the city government of Bacolod and the Negros Billiards Stable (NBS) of businessman Jonathan Sy and sponsored by Camella Communities.
The win meant that Reyes will face former world champion Kunihiko Takahashi in the quarter finals in what is expected to be a mouth-watering encounter. The 39-year-old Japanese won the World 9-Ball Championship in 1998, a year before Reyes ruled it and kick-started the Philippines domination of the sport.
Takahashi notched his second win by trouncing hometown bet Eduardo Villanueva, 11-5, a similar score he posted in defeating Russian Petiza in the opener.
Valle remained perfect against Corteza in their career head-to-head match-ups and his latest triumph moved the 31-year-old former Asian Games gold medalist from Davao to a quarterfinals match against veteran internationalist Rodolfo Luat, who continued his fine run by whipping former double world champion Ronnie Alcano, 11-6, in their last 16 encounter.
Other quarterfinals matches pit Bulacan leg titlist Ramil Gallego against Joven Bustamante and Michael Feliciano opposite fellow qualifiers Ronnie Aying.

Gallego made it by demolishing Japanese Kenji Taguchi, 11-5 while Bustamante blasted Elmer Haya with a similar score.
On the other hand, Feliciano, a Bugsy boy, won his round-of-16 match against John Rebong, 11-9 while Aying, who travelled all the way from Davao to compete in this event stunned Francisco “Django” Bustamante who lost an 11-10 heartbreaker..
All the quarterfinals matches were slated to be played late Saturday with the semifinals and the finals both scheduled today.