MANILA, Philippines – Philippine billiards icon Efren "Bata" Reyes is once again at the top of his game after winning the recently concluded Spanish Open 9-Ball Championship in Vigo, Spain.
Reyes, the top player of Puyat sports, showed his vintage form by outclassing Niels "The Terminator" Feijen of the Netherlands (11-8) in the finals to win the championship trophy and pocket the US$8,000 top prize.
Reyes’ handler, businessman Aristeo "Putch" Puyat, said the Filipino ace delighted the overseas Filipino workers who watched the game with spectacular and difficult shots.
"Muli na naman nag-alay ng karangalan sa bayan si Efren (Reyes) at napasaya niya din ‘yung mga OFW natin na todo suporta at nanonood ng laro ni Efren sa Spain," said Puyat.
Earlier, Reyes, dubbed the “Magician," beat reigning World 9-ball Champion Daryl Peach of Great Britain (9-6) in the quarterfinals.
He then toppled compatriot and fellow Puyat Sports stablemate Francisco "Django" Bustamante (9-7) in the semifinals to arrange a titular showdown with Europe’s No.1 player Feijen.
Reyes also defeated Amalia Matas Heredia of Spain (9-3) in the round of 32 and Carlos Cabello Ariza, also of Spain, (9-3) in the round of 16.
The event attracted the likes of former World 9-ball and World 8-ball Champion Ralf "Kaiser" Souquet and Oliver "The Machine" Ortmann of Germany, Oscar and Ernesto Dominguez of Mexico, Rodney "Rocket" Morris of the United States and local hero David "The Matador" Alcaide.
In the Scotch doubles event, the pair of Reyes and Bustamante yielded to the tandem of Souquet and Alcaide (1-5) in the finals.
With the win, the 56-year-old Reyes continued his roll of winning tournaments this year.
According to AZbilliards.com, the 2010 Player of the Decade Reyes already has total earnings of $61,580 in prize money this year. The earnings do not yet include his top prize from the Spain Open. -- by Marlon Bernardino