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Retirement never crosses Bata’s mind

() - September 20, 2006 - 12:00am
Enjoying his finest form in years, Efren "Bata" Reyes isn’t just about to hang up his cue sticks.

"Ngayon pa ba ako magre-
retire, eh ang lalaki ng mga pa-premyo sa bilyar. Tsaka bata pa ako (Should I retire at this time when the prize money in billiards is so big? Besides, I’m still young)," said Reyes said in jest shortly after arriving Monday night from Jakarta, Indonesia where he won the final leg of the San Miguel Asian 9-Ball Tour.

Reyes, long regarded as the greatest pool player of all-time, repulsed Indon Ricky Yang in their race-to-11 final, 11-6, to bag his second Tour leg title in the season and complete the Filipinos’ first-ever sweep of the four legs of the annual nation-hopping circuit.

The victory was worth another $10,000 for the amiable Reyes, who has perhaps won all the biggest titles staked in the sport, including the world 9-ball crown, the IPT King of the Hill plum, the World Cup diadem in partnership with buddy Francisco "Django" Bustamante, and just recently the IPT World 8-ball Open title.

His latest winnings is just a fraction of the $500,000 purse he pocketed in the IPT World 8-ball Open in Reno, Nevada last week. It also failed to come close to the $60,000 he and Bustamante won in topping the inaugural World Cup of Pool in South Wales two weeks ago.

But Reyes would take it, anytime, anywhere.

"Suwerte lang siguro, mahigpit ang pangangailangan, e
(Maybe I am just lucky, we’re in dire need)," said Reyes, who has collected a total of $540,000 in three weeks.

When he first competed in the rich US circuit two decades ago, Reyes’ biggest purse was $10,800 for winning the Red’s Open in Houston, Texas.

That was then.

But Reyes remains as sharp as ever, still steady and poised in pressure-packed matches, and continues to instill fear on his rivals even at age 52.

"I think that’s true. Why will he retire when he is winning more than 10 years ago," said Reyes’ long-time benefactor Aristeo "Putch" Puyat. — With report from Rainier Allan Ronda

BALL TOUR BUSTAMANTE BUT REYES INDON RICKY YANG KING OF THE HILL MAYBE I RAINIER ALLAN RONDA REYES SAN MIGUEL ASIAN SHOULD I
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