The Magician Bata Reyes Wins Jakarta Leg

Efren Reyes

Once again, Filipino legendary pool wizards Efren "Bata" Reyes lift Philippine flag in a high note by winning the 2006 SMB Asian 9-ball tour final leg at the Gran Melia Jakarta Hotel in Jakarta, Indonesia over the weekend.

He defeated dominated local bet Ricky Yang, 11- 6, in the finals of the Jakarta leg of the 2006 San Miguel Asian 9-ball Tour to successfully defend his Jakarta crown and complete the historical Filipino sweep of the annual nation-hopping event.

Winning the lag to open up the match, a red-hot Reyes was in top-notch form as he took 6 of the first seven racks against the Indonesian via rack runs in the 1st, 5th and 7th, a 1-9 ball combo at the 3rd, and clean outs at the 4th and 6th racks. Yang proved to be the slow starter as he was only able to score at the 2nd rack.

However, things started to heat up as Yang won the next three racks out of four by capitalizing on a scratch by Reyes at the 11th to slightly close the gap on the Reyes lead, 4-7.

But Reyes, cool and calculated as ever, stepped up his game and immediately went back on track to his winning ways by taking advantage of the 2 ball miss by Yang on the very next rack and sink an easy 5-9 combo.

Still, it was a valiant effort for the first time Indonesian finalist, cleaning out the 13th rack off a difficult Reyes safety on the 2 ball and another run-out at the 14th to have the score at 6-8 in favor of the Filipino.

The turning point of the match came at the 15th rack when Reyes pocketed a seemingly impossible corner pocket on the black 8-ball. It took a little bit of luck, a lot of magic and the Reyes touch to successfully pull off the corner pocket caper.

From there, Reyes cruised to victory after Yang blundered his placing on the 4 ball at the 17th rack, ultimately allowing the Filipino billiard icon to take the match at 11-6.

Reyes gained a finals berth by trumping Taiwanese Wang Hung-Hsiang in the semifinals, 11-6 while Ricky Yang defeated compatriot Muhammad Zulfikri in their semis encounter, 11-9.

The Tour is the only ranking tour in Asia for players to qualify to the World Pool Championship. The top ten finishers in the San Miguel Asian 9-ball Tour Order of Merit will automatically enter the 2006 World Pool Championship in November. Adding to the stakes will be a total tour prize money purse of $160,000 up for grabs in the four legs of the event.

The champion of each leg will earn the top prize of US$10,000 while the runner-up will settle for US$5,000.

This year promises to be more exciting as the tour will follow a new format. The main draw of 24 players will be divided into eight groups and they will compete in a single round robin format for the group stage with the top eight players advancing to the quarterfinals. The quarterfinals onwards will follow a single game knockout format. There will be alternate breaks with the group stage and quarterfinals following a race to 9, while the semifinals and the finals will be a race to 11. In the semis and finals, a player must win by two clear racks up to a maximum of race to 13.

For more information on the Tour, please check out For the latest schedules and program information on ESPN STAR Sports, catch us on the net at

The San Miguel Asian 9-Ball Tour is sanctioned by the Asian Pocket Billiard Union and organized by ESPN STAR Sports- Event Management Group (EMG) and the All Indonesian Billiards Association. San Miguel Beer is the title sponsor for the Tour. Iwan Simonis and Aramith supply the official tablecloth and official balls respectively. Brunswick Metro is the official pool table. Gran Melia Jakarta is the official hotel and venue. Bola Sports Tabloid is the official media. STAR Sports is the official broadcaster.

File photo courtesy of Diana Hoppe - Pool Pics by Hoppe