MANILA, Philippines – Billiards magician Efren "Bata" Reyes and Dennis "Robocop" Orcollo stayed in the hunt for the US Open 9-Ball title in Virginia, USA on Friday (Saturday in Manila Time).
Still razor-sharp at 58, Reyes, the 1999 World 9-ball champion, sustained his fine form with an 11-9 romp over fellow Filipino Ronato "Volcano" Alcano in the loser’s bracket.
Alcano was enjoying a commanding 5-2 lead in the seventh frame before Reyes clustered sixth straight racks seize the lead, 8-5.
The Calamba native Alcano won the 14th frame to cut the deficit to 6-8.
Reyes won the 15th, but Alcano bounced back to tie the game 9-all count in the 18th frame.
Reyes, however, weaved his old black magic to run the next two racks for an 11-9 victory.
Earlier, Reyes defeated Orcollo (11-7) but fell short to Alex "The Lion" Pagulayan (5-11).
This sent Reyes to a do-or-die battle against Alcano in the loser’s bracket.
After losing to Reyes, Orcollo fought for survival in the loser’s bracket against Li He-Wen of China and US-based Jose “Amang” Parica.
Orcollo nipped Li (11-8) then ousted Parica (11-4).
Orcollo will face Reyes in a rematch in the loser's side. The $170,000-tournament, which offers $25,000 to the champion, is applying a double-elimination format.
Pagulayan, meanwhile, goes up against fellow unbeaten Shane Van Boening in the winner's side for the first final berth.
The Filipino’s US Open 9-Ball campaign is backed up by Billiards Managers and Players Association of the Philippines (BMPAP), Puyat Sports, Bugsy Promotions, Negros Billiards Stable, Hermes Sports Bar and Malungai Life Oil. - By Marlon Bernardino