‘Bata’ the Magician
ROSES AND THORNS - Pia Roces Morato (The Philippine Star) - December 6, 2019 - 12:00am

At 65 years old, Efren “Bata” Reyes is still at the top of his game. With his relaxed, smooth and professional stance, not to mention those snake eyes as he zones in for the kill, Efren still amazes both professional and amateur pool players at the peak of his career.

But what makes Efren Reyes always a legend?

To me the answer is simple. He loves the game and he sees moves that no one else can see which is why he is called “The Magician.” We never get tired of watching his famous zigzag shots and over and over even on replay one can’t help but notice how Efren moves with ease.

Efren “Bata” Reyes was born in poverty and while living with his uncle who owned a pool hall in Manila, Efren curiously watched players and mastered the game in his head at the young age of eight. He played his first game at the age of nine and he  was so good that by the time he reached his twenties, no one wanted to challenge him in the Philippines any longer which led him to compete in Asia.

Eventually, Efren beat the best of the best but despite winning every major tournament and title in the world, Efren “the kid” remains humble.

After a match, Efren would always be heard telling people that he got lucky but pros and enthusiasts alike often rebutted by saying that “it isn’t luck when you do it all the time!”

There’s just something about Efren’s game that makes him stand out and there’s no stopping this fireball as well as that smile that disarms us all.  I’m not a pool player and I certainly don’t understand much about the game but, watching Efren play is a different story and his journey is one for the books.

This genius who is revered as one of the most famous pool players of today looks forward to the next generation whom he says “can beat him” as there are a lot of potential pros in the Philippines.

Perhaps there is another champion out there in the making and certainly this is also a dream for “The Magician” but until then, and because he’s still got it like no other can, Efren “Bata” Reyes is and will always be the greatest pool player of all time.

EFREN ''BATA'' REYES
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