Reyes Triumphs in Villar Cup in Davao

Efren Reyes

Efren “Bata” Reyes, showing touches of the magic that made him the greatest pool player of all-time came back from an early three-rack deficit to rout Ramil Gallego 11-5 in the finals of the Manny Villar Cup Kadayawan Leg title before a mammoth crowd at the activity area of the  NCCC Mall in Davao City, Sunday. here.
With the win Reyes broke a long dry spell of three years without a title and proved that even at 55 he still remains a force in pool.
A jubilant Reyes said “ I am very, very happy that I was able to win this Villar Cup” even as he thanked senator Villar for” not being fed up of continuing to support for billiards.”
Reyes who competed in all the previous legs of this prestigious island-hopping series presented by Senator Villar's Villards: Tulong sa Pagsulong ng Philippine Sports entered the Villar Cup finals for the first time since losing to Warren Kiamco in the series' inaugural leg in Alabang last May 2008.
Reyes got off to a poor start and committed a couple of miscues that allowed Gallego to race to a 5-2 lead. But not wanting to disappoint the close to 3,000 fans obviously rooting for him, Reyes returned from a brief break and then displayed the magical touch that had brought him countless honors as he methodically fought back.
He also got a huge break when Gallego, a four-time Villar Cup finalist and the Bulacan leg champion, scratched on his shot at the money-ball in the 11th rack, which gave Reyes his first lead at 6-5.
The miss by Gallego proved to be the turning point of the match as Reyes, his game in full flow, raced through the the next five racks to wrap up the victory and celebrate his first championship since ruling the Derby City Classic in Louisville , Kentucky in January 2007.
Senator Villar was on hand to  award the coveted trophy and the P300,000 ($6,000) top prize at stake in this three-day tournament sponsored by Camella Communities to “The Magician” who was all smiles and asked that he and his teammates get the support of the fans when they represent the Philippines  in the forthcoming Southeast Asian Games in Laos. .
Gallego settled for runner-up honors  and the cash prize of P120,000, approximately $2, 500.
“This victory of Champ (Reyes) is a big boost in our preparation for the SEA Games, and we at the BMPAP congratulate him for his feat,” said Billiards Managers and Players Association of the Philippines president Atty. Vic Rodriguez.
Reyes said his victory was a product of hard work and perseverance, which he wants all his fellow billiards players, particularly the young ones, to emulate.