MANILA, Philippines – Filipino pool maestro Efren “Bata” Reyes continued winning accolades for the Philippines as he was named by the United States Billiard Media Association (USBMA) as the "Player of the Decade".
The 55-year-old billiards wizard beat fellow former world champions Johnny “The Scorpion” Archer of the US, Mika “The Iceman” Immonen of Finland and Ralf “Kaiser” Souquet of Germany in the USBMA polls.
The Angeles City, Pampanga native, who was inducted into the Billiard Congress of America Hall (BCA) Hall of Fame in 2003, has garnered nearly $1.7 million in prize money according to a report on AZBilliards.com.
The amount does not even cover his latest feat in the 5th Master of the Table Crown in the US where he won a total of $47,500.
“He (Efren) is an inspiration for the Filipinos,” said long-time benefactor Aristeo “Putch” Puyat, acknowledged as the Godfather of Philippine Billiards. Reyes is the top player of Puyat Sports.
Reyes won more than 20 major men’s professional pool titles in the past 10 years starting with his $30,000 Camel Pro 8-Ball Championship win in 2000.
Of his 22 major victories, the versatile Reyes won 4 one-pocket crowns, 4 8-ball titles and 15 9-ball titles. He also won the Derby City All-Around title 5 times.
Reyes is the first Filipino to win the prestigious World Pool (9-ball) Championships tiara in 1999 at Cardiff, Wales. He also took the World 8-ball title in 2004 in Fujairah, United Arab Emirates.
He scored his biggest wins in the International Pool Tour (IPT), where he won 2 titles (2005 IPT King of the Hill and 2006 IPT North American Open) and pocketed $765,000.
In the women's division, Allison Fisher of Great Britain was named Player of the Decade, defeating compatriot Karen Korr and Austrian Jasmin Ouschan for the coveted plum. – Report and photo by Marlon Bernardino