Reyes Makes It

Efren Reyes

Efren “Bata” Reyes lifted the spirits of millions of Filipinos when he made it to the knockout round of 64 in the 2006 Philippines World Pool Championship with a masterful 8-5 conquest of 21 year old Indonesian Roy Apancho after initially appearing to be in danger of being ousted.

Reyes had to win in order to oust Crosby who beat him on opening day in an 8-7 heartbreaker and then put pressure on “The Magician” by whipping Radislaw Babica 8-4. As Crosby sat and watched in the stands Reyes, playing his best pool of the tournament so far pulled away from a 2-2 count with some vintage shot-making including a classic bank shot on the 1-ball that gave him a 3-2 lead.

A foul by Apancho called by eagle-eyed referee Nigel Rees who spotted the Indonesian's cue stick nudging the 5-ball when going for a shot on a lower numbered ball gave Reyes ball-in-hand enabling him to take a 4-2 lead. With pressure building up on the Indonesian who had to win four racks to qualify he missed a long shot on the 2-ball and Reyes seized the opportunity to go ahead 5-2.

Just when it appeared that Reyes would pull away, the hometown crowd let out a collective sigh of despair when he was forced to try a masse on the 1-ball after a superb safety by Apancho and missed badly, hitting the 8-ball instead. Apancho pulled one rack back to come to within 5-3. But Reyes caused concern in the Indonesian's corner when he played an exquisite bank shot on the 7-ball to take a 6-3 lead.

Despite the pressure Apancho extricated himself out of a tight situation with some excellent shot-making to make it 6-4 and assure himself of a place in the next round. Reyes, sensing danger, quickly ran out the eleventh rack behind a solid break and some precision shots to move ahead 7-4.

Apancho saw the 4-ball rattle around the corner pocket before dropping in gently to the consternation of the Filipino fans as the Indonesian find came to within two racks at 7-5. Apancho, assured of a place in the knockout phase was not about to ruin the hometown crowd's jubilation and when he missed a difficult shot on the 9-ball, the Indon unscrewed his cue stick as a sign of surrender. Reyes, jokingly missed his shot on the 9-ball but laughed out loud because he knew he had already won 8-5 and moved into the crucial knockout stage where his skill and experience are certain to help him when the pressure is on.

Reyes paid tribute to Apancho and predicted the young Indonesian has a bright future. Reyes said winning the lag and breaking better than in his earlier matches was the key to victory.

Other Filipinos who did well were SEA Games gold medalist Lee Van Corteza who whipped Stuart Lawler 8-4, Rudy Morta who beat fellow Filipino Roland Garcia 8-6, Dennis Orcollo who routed David Reljic 8-3, veteran Rodolfo Luat who scored a thrilling 8-7 win over China's Fu Jian-bo and Ramil “Bebeng” Gallego who scored his second successive win beating Thailand's Tepwin Arunnath 8-4 after earlier scoring a hard-fought 8-6 win over American Rob Saez.