Reyes sets up final battle vs. Morris in World 8-ball
() - September 11, 2006 - 12:00am
Filipino Efren "Bata" Reyes and American Rodney Morris clinched the top two spots in the final round robin group to set up a grand showdown for the US$500,000 top prize of the US$3 million IPT World Open 8-Ball Championship at the Grand Sierra Resort and Casino in Reno, Nevada.

With Morris already assured of a championship berth after racking up four straight wins, Reyes toiled hard to book the remaining final ticket with three victories in five games in yesterday's penultimate action of this week-long poolfest.

Reyes figured in the longest match of the second round against fellow countryman Dennis Orcollo.

Orcollo crept back after trailing at 2-5, but did not have enough firepower to conquer the more experienced Reyes, who went on to seal the match, 8-6.

Reyes also pulled all-important victories over Immonen, 8-3, and American Corey Deuel, 8-2, that became his saving grace after he faltered at the hands of Morris, 8-7, and Oliver Ortmann of Germany, 8-6.

Aside from Reyes, Morris also dusted off Orcollo, 8-4, Ortmann, 8-2, and Deuel, 8-3, before bowing to Immonen, 5-8, in a no-bearing encounter.

Orcollo failed to forge an all-Filipino championship for scoring only two wins against Immonen, 8-0, and Deuel, 8-1. Orcollo will take home US$66,000 for finishing at the fifth place overall, while Deuel will pocket US$50,000 for sixth place.

Reyes now looks forward to seeking vengeance at Morris, who beat the Filipino billiards supremo, 6-11, in the 1996 US Open final.

Reyes said pressure will surely heat up in his match with Morris as they will scramble it out for the whopping US$500,000 (Php 26.5 million) bounty, the richest ever single paycheck in the history of the sport. The loser will receive US$150,000.

"I'm excited for tomorrow. This is a lot of pressure for me and Rodney Morris.This is for five hundred thousand. You cannot find another tournament like this. We've been playing a lot for how many years, and the prize money we won from the tournament was ten thousand, twenty thousand only. But this is the big one. I hope that this IPT tour is going to be continued," Reyes told

"I'm thinking to win tomorrow because a lot of people in our country are expecting us to win," added the RP pool legend.

Morris said he will be ready to whatever Reyes brings in to the table and that he is very confident of coming out smoking the victory cigar.

"It feels wonderful. It feels like... I really feel good about myself. Efren is the greatest that ever lived, as far as pool, in my opinion, but he's fifty-two years old, and I'm in my prime, I think. So I'm ready," Morris said.

"If I just play my game, I think I'll be fine. And I'm not even worried about the money. I mean, I'm excited about it, but if I think about the money while I'm playing, I'm not gonna win. The money's not even a thought right now. I got one more race to eight. I gotta get eight games tomorrow and that's it. He'll never get eight," he added.

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