Reyes Faces Yang in Epic Battle

Efren Reyes

Efren “Bata” Reyes faces Chinese-Taipei's sensational Ching Shun Yang in what promises to be an epic quarter final clash in the last leg of the San Miguel Asian 9-Ball Tour 2005 being played at the Trade Hall of Robison's Galleria along busy Ortigas Avenue in Metro Manila.

Reyes lost the top spot on the Tour to Yang after his early ouster in Kaohsiung and is determined to regain the lead. At the same time Reyes hopes to help the Philippine squad avenge its disappointing performance in the bustling Taiwanese port city in the third leg of the prestigious tour which brings the finest pool players in Asia together.

The top ten in the points standing at the end of the four-leg San Miguel Asian 9-Ball Tour automatically qualify for the World Pool Championships in July.

The 50 year old Reyes, a hero in the Philippines and a legend around the pool halls of the world, began his campaign to redeem himself after an early exit in Kaohsiung with an effortless 9-4 rout of Vietnam's Luong Chi Dung and then followed up with some magical pool in annihilating Kaohsiung leg runner-up Au Chi Wei of Hong Kong 9-1.

Reyes, winner of the Jakarta leg saw the score tied at 1-1 before running off eight racks in a row to win 9-1 and serve notice to the young ‘uns that there was still a lot of pool left in him. Reyes's smashing victory delighted a huge hometown crowd in this hotbed of pool and set the stage for a titanic battle with Taiwan's “Son of Pool” Ching Shun Yang, comfortable winner of the last leg in his own hometown.

Yang, looking to win back-to-back tour titles and pocket another $10,000 top prize, made short work of India's former snooker player Alok Kumar 9-4 and then went on to score an equally comfortable 9-4 win over He Win Li of China. Filipino fans were hoping that Win who was leading 4-2 in the early stages of the match could pull off a monumental upset and get the deadly Yang out of the way, but that was not to be.

Playing with supreme confidence behind a solid break and precise shot-making Yang ran through seven straight racks to hold back the challenge of Win to arrange the mouth-watering showdown with “The Magician.”

Three more Filipinos entered the quarter finals although Francisco “Django” Bustamante continued his miserable run on the Tour where he hasn't won a single leg after being ousted by Malaysia's Patrick Ooi 9-3. Bustamante who won an error-littered match in the opening round against World Pool Championship semi finalist Kuo 9-8 was never in contention and could only shake his head in disbelief over his disastrous showing. "Its really not my tournament to win" rued the former world No. 1.

Lanky Ronnie Alcano, a standout on the Joss NE Tour in the US and the highest placed Filipino in the last leg in Kaohsiung showed flashes of brilliance in whipping South Korea's Young Hwa Jeong 9-2 while opening leg winner Gandy Valle who stunned Yang in Singapore also went through to the quarter finals with a spectacular 9-2 shellacking of fancied Satoshi Kawabata of Japan.

Filipino veteran Antonio “Nikoy” Lining charged back from a 5-8 deficit against Vietnam's Vu Trong Kai to win in a nerve-wracking endgame 9-8.

Teenage sensation Chia Ching Wu of Taiwan once again proved he had the number of 2000 World Pool Champion Fong Pang Chao defeating the Taiwanese legend in a 9-8 cliffhanger for his third victory over Fong Pang Chao on the tour. Last year's World Pool runner-up Pei Wei Chang also moved into the quarter finals with a 9-5 victory over fellow Taiwanese Chu Hung Ming.

The quarter finals will see three Filipinos battle Taiwanese in a clash of the giants of Asian pool while in the fourth match the only “outsider”- Malaysia's Patrick Ooi faces Lining of the Philippines in a day that promises to provide fans with some spectacular pool.