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Efren "Bata" Reyes

World champs bannerpowerhouse pool team

John Bryan Ulanday (The Philippine Star) - November 2, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The legendary Efren “Bata” Reyes spearheads the stacked Philippine billards and snooker team that is expected to reign supreme in the 30th Southeast Asian Games the country is hosting Nov. 30-Dec. 11. 

Reyes, the 65-year-old multiple world champion dubbed as “The Magician,” will be out to weave his magic anew as the country’s playing head coach with close pal and also ex-world titlist Django Bustamante serving as his deputy.

The two Philippine billiard legends will oversee the plotting of tactics and strategies of the star-studded national team that also includes world-class players Dennis Orcollo, Carlo Biado and Rubilen Amit.

Orcollo is a former world men’s 9-ball king, Amit reigned as WPA world 10-ball queen twice in 2009 and 2013 while Biado ruled the 2017 world 9-ball as well as the SEA Games in Malaysia, making the formidable Philippine team the heavy favorite in the 10-event pool discipline of the biennial meet.

Surpassing the two-gold haul in the Kuala Lumpur SEA Games two years ago is the top priority for the Filipino cue artists

“All of us played in almost all of the toughest and most prestigious tournaments in global stage since the smoke of battle in 2017 in Kuala Lumpur had extinguished, so there’s no reason for us not to surpass our showing the last time around,” said Amit during the SCOOP On Air Forum at the Manila Times Television.

“Traditionally, we are strong in those events. We’re winners in these events whether in Asian or World Championships level so we’re going to harvest a lot of medals here,” she added.

Also in the Philippine billards team are Johann Chua, Jeffrey Ignacio, Warren Kiamco, Chezka Centeno, Iris Ranola and Floriza Andal.

Alvin Barbero, Michael Angelo Mengorio, Jeffrey Roda and Basil Al-Shajjar lead the snookers squad while Benjie Guevarra and Luis Saberdo banner the English Billards. Reyes will be joined by Francisco dela Cruz in the carom event.

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