Reyes Faces Gallego in Villar Cup Finals in Davao

Pool legend Efren “Bata” Reyes had to dig deep into his bag of classic shots to dodge the upset axe of Jomar de Ocampo and score a hard-earned 10-7 victory that catapulted the pool icon to the finals of The Manny Villar Cup Kadayawan Leg at the jam-packed activity area of NCCC Mall in Davao City..

The victory meant the  55 year old Reyes will take on former leg winner Ramil Gallego for the coveted title and the P300,000 top prize at stake in this prestigious island-hopping series presented by Senator Manny Villar's Villards: Tulong sa Pagsulong ng Philippine Sports.

Gallego, the Villar Cup Bulacan leg titlist played some solid pool to overcome Cebu leg champion and top local bet Gandy Valle, 10-4, in the first semifinals match.

Reyes said “its hard to win in the Villar Cup because all those who compete are good players most especially the young players such as Jomar. They are getting even better because of the continuing tournaments of Sen. Villar.

It is Reyes's second trip to the finals and he is hoping to win this time around. He had earlier made it into the finals of the Camella Communities-sponsored series' inaugural leg in May 2008 in StarMall in Alabang, where he lost to Warren Kiamco.

It was a hard-earned win for Reyes as De Ocampo came out with his A-game and didn't succumb to the pressure of playing against the man regarded as the greatest pool players of all-time who had the huge Davaoeno crowd obviously rooting for him.

De Ocampo, a 20-year-old pride of Alaminos, Pangasinan, won the lag, but it was Reyes who took the first two racks, before De Ocampo clawed back to tie the sc ore at 2-2.

Reyes pocketed two straight frames to retake the lead, but De Ocampo kept himself within striking distance until the former utilized his vast experience to the hilt and held on.

 De Ocampo made it to the Final Four by upending former leg winners Lee Van Corteza (9-5) in the quarter finals and getting the better of Francisco “Django” Bustamante (9-7) in the semifinals.

Before beating De Ocampo, Reyes won over Carlo Biado (9-8) and Mike Takayama (9-3).

Gallego, meanwhile, made it to the semis after defeating former world champion Ronnie Alcano (9-6) and Kiamco (9-5), while Valle won against Rene Mar David (9-4) and two-time Villar Cup champion Roberto Gomez (9-6) before bowing out of contention in this three-day event co-organized by the Billiards Managers and Players Association of the Philippines (BMPAP) headed by its president Atty. Vic Rodriguez.

The finals match was slated to be played late yesterday, along with the awarding ceremonies to be led by Senator Villar.