Reyes comes back to make Villar Cup Final Sixteen

Efren Reyes

Former two-time world champion Efren “Bata” Reyes lived up to his other nickname “The Magician” to survive erstwhile conqueror Joven Bustamante via a come-from-behind 8-7 victory on Thursday and entered the Top 16 of the 1st Senate President Manny Villar Cup billiards tournament at the Starmall sportscenter in Alabang, Muntilupa.

The 54-year-year Reyes had a series of dry breaks in the early going of the match and found himself trailing by three racks, 7-4, to the frustration of big crowd who watched the third day of the tournament organized by the Billiards Managers and Players Association of the Philippines (BMPAP).

Reyes finally got a chance to escape the loss when Bustamante got struck by a dry break in what could be a deciding the 12th rack, allowing Reyes to unleash the big rally to the delight of the more than 500 fans.

Reyes sent the crowd roaring when he sank a tough-angled four-nine combination in the 14th rack. He then ran out the final rack to complete another Houdini act, and rolled into the knockout stage of this P1 million-plus event.

With his victory, Reyes joined Ramil Gallego, Warren Kiamco and Mark Mendoza who defeated respective rivals in the losers' bracket to barge into the knockout stage of the tournament.

Gallego defeated Mary Ann Basas and Kiamco ousted Panfilo Damu-ag, 8-4, while 18-year-old Mendoza also came from behind to eliminate veteran Eduardo Villanueva, 8-7.

The loss sent the 29-year-old Bustamante in a knockout match against former double-world champion Ronnie Alcano for the right to advance in the next stage.

Other players who already made it to the Top 16 include: reigning world No. 1 Dennis Orcollo, Antonio Lining, Gande Valle, Rodolfo Luat, Elmer Haya, Carlo Biado and Jundel Mazon.

File photo courtesy of Diana Hoppe - Pool Pics by Hoppe