Reyes Wows Fans in Bahrain

Efren Reyes

Efren "Bata" Reyes and bosom buddy Francisco "Django" Bustamante have wowed fans on their arrival in Bahrain for a series of exhibition matches as part of a Middle-East swing that would also include matches in various stops in Saudi Arabia.

The winner of the biggest prize in pool history - $200,000 - in the classy International Pool Tour 'King of the Hill' 8-ball finals over American icon Mike Sigel was greeted by scores of fans but according to the Bahrain Tribune appeared shy and spoke instead of his mission to introduce more people to billiards.

The recognized "Godfather" of Philippine billiards, businessman-sportsman Aristeo "Putch" Puyat welcomed the idea of entertaining Filipino workers overseas who had contributed so much to help the economy.. Puyat said "I am sure Efren and Django who also spend several months a year abroad just like their hard-working countrymen will enjoy entertaining them and giving them a chance to lighten up."

Reyes said billiards is "a wonderful game and there are many rising talents in the Philippines and other countries." Nicknamed "The Magician" because of his incredible shot-making, Reyes said he was hoping to "someday see a professional billiards training school in the Philippines similar to the one they have developed in Taipei."

Reyes noted "a growing love for billiards in the region (Middle East) because I can now see so many billiard halls in Bahrain or in Dubai which I had visited before." His exhibition match with the colorful Bustamante was packed with billiards aficionados.

Proceeds from the exhibition matches of Reyes and Bustamantes will be donated to charity, specifically to the Gawad Kalinga, a project aimed at building homes for the poor.

Reyes said he was preparing for two major international tournaments this year adding "I intend to play the game as long as there's strength in my body, especially in my hands - as long my hands don't shake."

Photo courtesy of Diana Hoppe - Pool Pics By Hoppe