Reyes Fights To Stay Alive in P1M Billiards Open

Efren "Bata" Reyes fights to stay alive in the Hope P1 million All-Filipino Billiards Open in a scheduled TV table match against Edgar Acaba at the IBC studios late yesterday after being dumped into the losers bracket by super cool Antonio "Ga-Ga" Gabica who inflicted the first defeat of Reyes, considered the man to beat, in a stunning 9-4 rout.

While luck may have played a part in Gabica's victory especially on the alternate break format, nothing should be taken away from the godson of Reyes who was pocketing well behind some excellent positional play. After the score was tied at 4-4, Gabica silenced the crowd by rattling off five racks in succession to win the match and force Reyes into a must-win situation against Acaba who also stayed alive by defeating Luis Severdo 9-5.

Gabica had earlier sent fancied Warren Kiamco, runner-up in three legs of last year's San Miguel Asian 9-Ball Tour to the losers bracket with a 9-7 win in the opening round of sixteen, double elimination last Monday. However, Kiamco was still in contention with a 9-4 win over Carlo Viado.

In sharp contrast to Reyes his bosom buddy, former world No. 1 Francisco "Django" Bustamante continued to blaze his way past his opponents, scoring a scorching 9-4 victory over promising youngster Jeffrey "Jeff Bata" De Luna who had earlier made waves in the tournament with some magical shots reminiscent of his hero, Reyes.

Breaking well Bustamante raced to a 3-0 lead against De Luna but the youngster clawed back to win two racks in a row to make it 2-3. However, Bustamante, playing precision pool took the next two racks to lead 5-2 before De Luna fought back again to bridge the gap at 4-6. De Luna scratched on a shot at the 2-ball in the eleventh rack and Bustamante pounced on the chance to clean-up and then ran out the next two racks to emerge as the favorite to win the top prize of P500,000.

Lee Van Corteza got his game together in the nick of time to overcome a poor start against veteran Rodolfo "Boy Samson" Luat to win 9-6 while reigning World Pool Champion Alex Pagulayan coasted past Gandy Valle 9-6. Roberto Dy, the super veteran stunned Leonardo "Dodong" Andam 9-4 and will next meet De Luna. In other key matches in the losers bracket Valle faces Alba and Kiamco battles Luat.