"BATA" REYES WINS SAN MIGUEL ASIAN BILLIARDS

EFREN "BATA" REYESParanaque City, June 2, 2003 -- Efren "Bata" Reyes 
went home richer by $20,000 last night after beating 
Warren Kiamco, 11-2, in a lopsided all-Filipino final of 
the San Miguel Asian 9-Ball Tour at the Pearl Plaza 
in Parañaque City.

Known as the magician in the world of pool, Reyes 
proved to be the master, and Kiamco the learner during 
the final match, witnessed by an appreciative crowd that 
packed the small but pleasantly cold venue.

"Buwenas lang sa bola," said Reyes as he was signing 
autographs moments after the victory.

"Parang kakampi ko lahat ang mga bola at para kay idol 
din ito," he added, referring to action king Fernando Poe Jr., whom the 
48-year-old Reyes recently starred with in a movie titled "Pakners."

Reyes was all over Kiamco in the final match, racing to a 7-0 lead from 
which he never looked back. On the 13th rack, Reyes still had four balls to 
clear  Nos. 3, 7, 8 and 9  when Kiamco threw in the white towel to ignite a 
big round of applause from the crowd.

Despite the loss to Reyes, Kiamco didn’t do too bad over the last two days 
as he walked home carrying a $10,000 check and a slot to the World Pool 
Championship in Cardiff, Wales, in July.

"Hindi na din masama. Sabi ko nga kanina, mag all-Filipino lang sa finals, 
kahit ano nang mangyari," said Kiamco, who defeated Reyes for the gold 
medal in the rotation event of the 1991 SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur.

The battle between the two Filipino cue masters came after they disposed of 
their foreign counterparts earlier in the semis of the $100,000 Manila leg, 
the second and last stop of the tour.

Reyes, the 1999 world champion, needed less than an hour to send Korea’s 
Park Shin Young home, 11-3, while Kiamco needed all the luck just to beat 
Taipei’s Lee Kun Fang in an extended contest that lasted more than two 
hours, 13-11.

Earlier in the day, Reyes bumped off countryman Antonio Lining in the 
race-to-nine quarterfinals where Kiamco took out Korea’s Jeong Young Hwa.

All the top 10 finishers in the tour earned tickets to the WBC where they 
will join close to a hundred more of the world’s best 9-ball players.

A total of 32 players representing 13 Asian countries joined this year’s 
tour that was cut short to two legs following the cancellation of the 
Vietnam, Hong Kong and Taipei stops due to the SARS outbreak in the region.

Kiamco was the runner-up in the first leg won by Taipei’s Yang Ching Shun 
in Singapore where Reyes, then out of form and out of luck, bowed out after 
the opening round.

However, it was an entirely different story back home for Reyes, 
well-loved, well-respected by the masses for his superb playing skills and 
friendly demeanor on and off the playing arena. (By Abac Cordero, Star)

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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