Efren "Bata" Reyes
Efren Reyes (born 26 August 1954) is a Filipino professional pool player from Angeles City. He is a two-time world champion and is considered as one of the all-time greats in the games of nine-ball and one-pocket. He is often known by his nickname "Bata", and is also referred to as "The Magician" for his superb skill at the pool table.
He was born in Mexico, Pampanga in 1954 and moved to Manila with his family, at the age of 5. In Manila, he worked as a billiards attendant at his uncle's billiards hall. In there, he started learning the various cue sports. As he was not tall enough to reach the pool table, he played while standing on Coca-Cola cases. He is called Bata, the Filipino word for “Kid”, as there was another older player named Efren. To distinguish between the two, he was called Efren Bata.
He played for money at a young age. In the sixties and seventies, he played carambole or cushion billiards. After winning many tournaments, promoters have discovered him and gave him the opportunity to compete in big tournaments.
After winning a number of tournaments in the US, Europe and in parts of Asia, he started gaining attention and recognition worldwide. By the mid-1990s, he was one of the elite players of the Philippines along Jose Parica and Francisco Bustamante.
He soon became a notable player in the game of nine-ball. He also possessed a masterful skill in straight pool (14.1) and regarded as the best 14.1 player. In 1995, he dominated the Maine 14.1 Event and bested well-known players, Jim Rempe and Earl Strickland.
He didn't win and had to settle for third when he competed in the US Open 14.1 in 2000. He however conquered notable players such as Oliver Ortmann, Thomas Engert and Mike Sigel. He made an impressive run of 141.
In 1994, Reyes defeated Nick Varner in the finals and won the US Open nine-ball Championship. For a number of years, he was the only non-American to ever won the event.
After a couple of years, Reyes and Strickland faced each other in an event called the Color of Money. It was a 3-day-race-to-120 challenge match of 9-ball. Reyes won the match 120-117, which was held in Hong Kong, and took the prize of US 100,000.
Reyes was the first to win the WPA World 9-ball Championship on television in 1999. In 2001, he won the International Billiard Tournament held in Tokyo, Japan. Over 700 players joined the tournament to win the total purse of JPY 100,000,000 or USD 850,000. Reyes dominated the event by besting Niels Feijen in the finals 15-7 and earned JPY 20,000,000.
In 2003, he was inducted into the Billiard Congress of America's Hall of Fame. In 2004, he bested Marlon Manalo 11-8 and became the first-ever WPA World Eight Ball Champion. In December 2005, he won the IPT King of the Hill 8-Ball Shootout and won USD 200,000. He defeated Hall of Fame member Mike “the Mouth” Sigel two sets to none (8-0 and 8-5).
In 2006, he and Francisco “Django” Bustamante represented the country and captured the inaugural World Cup of Pool at Newport, South Wales, United Kingdom. He also won the IPT World Open 8-Ball Championship over Rodney Morris 8-6 and earned USD 500,000.
As a player in professional pool, he was known to have won a number of tournaments worldwide which makes him one of the most profitable players around. He topped the AZ Billiards Money List 5 times: 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005 and 2006. In 2006, he set a record by earning USD 646,000 in a single year.
In 2003, Reyes was featured in the movie Pakners with the late Fernando Poe, Jr..
Awards and Recognition
- Philippine Legion of Honor
- Philippine Order of Lakandula "Champion for Life Award"
- Outstanding Filipino Awardee of the Jaycees
- Philippine Sportswriters Association "Athlete of the Year"
- Billiard Congress of America Hall of Fame, 2003
- One-pocket Hall of Fame, 2004
Titles and Achievements
- Ronnie Nathanielsz (May 17, 2011). Reyes Wins US Open One Pocket Championship. Philboxing.com.
- Efren Takes 5th DCC Master of the Table. Billiards Digest (January 30, 2010).
- Reyes Relentless in FatBoy Challenge. AZBilliards.com.
- Reyes Redeems Himself at DCC 9-Ball. AZBilliards.com.
- Joey Villar. Reyes, Amit Win World Mixed Doubles Crown for Philippines (sic) in Epic Duel. Billiard Scoop.
- Skip Maloney (September 18, 2009). Reyes Reigns in Galveston. AzBilliards.com. Retrieved on 2009-09-19.