Reyes avoids upset to advance at Villar Cup

Efren Reyes

DAVAO CITY – Efren “Bata” Reyes battled back from two racks down to dodge an upset ax and escape with a 9-8 victory over Richard Pornelosa at the start of the First Senate President Manny Villar Cup Davao Leg yesterday at the Atrium of Gaisano Mall here.

The 54-year-old pool icon got off to a faulty start, committing a couple of miscues that allowed his unheralded foe to seize a two-rack lead up to the 10th frame.

But not wanting to make an unceremonious exit, Reyes dug deep into his legendary bag of tricks and came up with a couple of magical shots enough to manage him to tie the count at 6-all.

He then used his overwhelming edge in experience to reach the hill first and get over it to the delight of a jampacked Davaoeno crowd that gathered to witness the country's top cue artists competing in this fourth stop of the island-hopping pool series presented by Villards: Tulong sa Pagsulong ng Philippine Sports in cooperation with the Billiards Managers and Players Association of the Philippines (BMPAP).

“Sometimes you need to be lucky to win,” said Reyes. “That guy (Pornelosa) is really good and he's really on his way to beating. I just got lucky the breaks went my way.”

Reyes will next face reigning national champion Lee Van Corteza, who demolished Jundel Mazon, 9-2, in their opening round match.

Fellow former double world champion Ronnie Alcano likewise advanced into the Last 16 after trouncing William Millares, 9-3. He will have Villar Cup Alabang Leg champion Warren Kiamco, who defeated Patrick Gonzales, 9-4, as his next opponent in this three-day tournament sponsored by Camella Communities.

Current world no.1 Dennis Orcollo is also through to the next stage as he manhandled Davao qualifier Romeo Alcano, 9-1.

Not as lucky was former world titlist Alex Pagulayan, who succumbed to a near-flawless game of Jharome Pena, 9-6.

Orcollo and Pena will go up against each other in the round-of-16 today.

Other first round matches saw Roberto Gomez blasting Bugsy Promotions stablemate Johann Chua, 9-4, and Elmer Haya eliminating Mary Ann Basas, 9-4.