TAIPEI, July 12, 2004
Unshaken by a stunning loss right in his first match, Efren "Bata" Reyes bounced back by stringing three victories to firm up his bid for the Last 64 in the World Pool Championship even as compatriot Francisco "Django" Bustamante posted his third straight victory here.

Reyes, the 1999 champion, uncharacteristically dropped a 2-5 decision to Thomas Hasch of Germany but recovered his form and fashioned out a 5-1 rout of Markus Juva of Finland.

He then whipped Indian Alok Kumar, 5-1, then ripped Shintaro Sugaya of Japan, 5-3, to notch his sixth point and force a four-way tie for the lead in Group 2, which includes compatriot Dennis Orcullo.

The last Filipino qualifier in the sportís biggest event, Orcullo also fought back from a third game loss to Tony Drago of Malta after back-to-back victories to catch Thomas Hasch of Germany, Drago and Reyes at the helm with six points apiece.

Earlier, Bustamante continued to flourish in his side of the tournament, notching his third straight win in the second day of action of the nine-day event which gathers the best and the brightest cue artists in the world.

Bustamante, seeking an end to a string of so-so finishes in 9-ball tournaments in the last few months, thumped Spainís David Alcaide, 5-1, in practically the same manner he trounced Chang Pei-Wei (5-0) and New Zealandís Phil Wilkinson (5-1) in Saturdayís opener at the Taipei World Trade Center.

With six points, Bustamante, 40, paces Group 7 and is now a cinch to advance to the tournament proper where the top 64 players after the round-robin elims fight it out in knockout duels leading to the championship where $75,000 is at stake.

Lee Van Corteza matched Bustamanteís romp as he swamped German Michael Schmidt and Japanís Kazuo Furuta to pace Group 4 with six points for a share of the lead with Finlandís Marko Lohtander and American Tony Crosby, who won three of their first four games.

The day also saw Jose "Amang" Parica wheel back into contention after dropping his first two games as he came away with a pair of 5-2 victories over pacesetting Jose Llanos of Argentina and Thailandís Surathep Phoochalam. Parica dropped a pair of heart-breaking 4-5 losses to Kasper Kristofferson of Denmark and Taiwanese Huang Chien-Chen in Group 16 action.

Meanwhile, third round action will be aired "live" on STAR Sports at 5 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.

Losing his first two games and in danger of missing the magic 64 was Ramil Gallego, who absorbed a 3-5 loss to defending champion Thorsten Hohmann of Germany, and 3-5 setback to Swede Erik Weiselius.

In contrast, Warren Kiamco pulled off a pair of thrilling 5-4 victories over Jimmy Henry of New Zealand and American Danny Harriman to be among the leaders in Group 10. Also notching their fourth point were Rodolfo Luat, who beat American Mike Davis, 5-3, and Englandís Steve Davis, 5-2, to show the way in Group 9, and Marlon Manalo, who ripped American Timothy Hall, 5-1, and Puerto Ricoís Alan Rolon, 5-3, in Group 1.

Splitting their first round assignments were Antonio Lining, who nipped Al Logan of Canada, 5-4, but lost to Toom Storin of Swede, 3-5; Antonio Gabica, who blanked US Steve Willis, 5-0, but took a 3-5 beating from Thomas Engert of Germany; Gandy Valle bounced back from a 3-5 loss to Taiwanese Chen Ying-Chien with a 5-1 rout of Matthew McInnes of New Zealand.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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