Reyes In Scintillating Win

Efren Reyes

Efren “Bata” Reyes showed that his magical touch still hadn't deserted him with a scintillating 10-6 victory over talented Dennis Orcollo to move into the round of 32 in the 2006 Philippines World Pool Championships Wednesday night and set-up a showdown with sometimes dangerous Ronnie Alcano in the round of 32.

Alcano who was the last player to make the cut with a one rack edge over Germany's Christian Reimering in the elimination group blasted hitherto undefeated Filipino Roberto Gomez 10-1 to serve notice that he can be a danger to Reyes when his game is on.

The standing room only crowd around TV Table 1 at the Philippine International Convention Center enjoyed an enthralling encounter where Reyes, breaking in masterful fashion effortlessly overcame the challenge of Orcollo, a fisherman at the age of nine who, despite his hopes, failed to land the biggest catch of his life in Reyes.

On the adjoining Table 2 the spillover crowd enjoyed superb display by double Southeast Asian Games gold medalist Lee Van Corteza who continued his near flawless performance with an effortless 10-4 win over Britain's Imran Majid whose problems with an ear infection and vertigo added to his miseries.

When Orcollo, regarded as the most dangerous player when big money is on the line won the lag but scratched on the break it set the pattern of the match as Reyes quickly ran out to take a 1-0 lead. Reyes came up dry on his break but Orcollo after a great shot on the one, faltered under pressure and scratched when attempting a bank shot on the three to give Reyes a 2-0 lead.

Orcollo recovered from a dry break with a terrific 3-8 combination and ended an excellent run-out rack to pull one back at 2-1 before Reyes strode to the table and almost nonchalantly broke and ran-out to make it 3-1. After he hooked his cue ball in the edge of the center pocket Orcollo fouled and Reyes swept ahead 4-1. Orcollo capitalized on Reyes' only error of the match to come to within three racks at 5-2 but “The Magician”, his game in full flow, quickly doused any ambitions the Surigao hotshot may have had with another effortless performance to move ahead 6-2.

But Orcollo still had some fight left in him and the “Money Man” who played on the US circuit for the first time this year and won three big tournaments, clawed back to take a rack and make it 6-3. Just as swiftly Reyes pocketed three balls on the break, executed a delicate 1-5 combo and then made a long cut shot on the 1 to ease in front by a 7-3 margin.

Suddenly the pressure seemed off perhaps because of the inevitability of defeat at the hands of the master and a relaxed Orcollo broke and ran out in style to make it 7-4. Demonstrating his brilliant control of the cue ball after another excellent break, Reyes went ahead 8-4 before he uncharacteristically missed a rather difficult 1-9 combination and Orcollo with an almost impossible bank shot on the 1 cut the lead o three, 8-5 to spark a flicker of hope.

It was not to be as Reyes then drove what the TV commentators said was a knife through the heart of Orcollo with a golden break, one of the very few in the WPC so far to get to the hill 9-5. Orcollo, with one last gasp sank a touchy 2-9 combination for 9-6 but Reyes ended his torture with an effortless run-out to take the match 10-6 and set up another all-Filipino clash with sometimes dangerous Ronnie Alcano who was the last player to qualify for the round of 64 with a one rack advantage over Christian Reimering in the elimination round where Alcano won only one match.

Marlon Manalo played some characteristically marvelous pool to whip Chan Keng-kwang of Singapore 10-5 while promising Asian Games contender, 22 year old lefty Jeffrey de Luna stunned Dutchman Nick van den Berg 10-8 in another display of consummate pool and remarkable composure for one so young on the world stage. Rudy Morta who plays much of his pool in Japan added to the joys of the hometown crowd with a 10-9 cliffhanger over Markus Juva of Finland while qualifier Jharome Pena ended Australian Louis Condo's hopes with a 10-7 whipping before touted veteran Rodolfo “Boy Samson” Luat continued his amazing run at the WPC with a 10-5 rout of former US Open champion Jeremy Jones sending the last American packing his bags and flying home.