LAS VEGAS — Although he has competed and won in tournaments, Efren “Bata” Reyes has been recognized as an international icon in the entertainment capital of the world.
It’s another achievement for the Philippines, and for the 73-year old.
“Biro mo dito pa ginanap sa Asian Culture dito pako nabigyan ng Lifetime Achievement award eh dito pa sa Vegas hindi doon sa atin.”
The Asian Cultural Alliance bestowed a Lifetime Achievement Award for Reyes as a living legend and an icon. He is the first player to win world championships in two different disciplines in pool.
He also won over 70 international titles, and is regarded as the greatest pool player of all time by a number of analysts, fans, as well as current and former players.
Reyes, who grew up poor in Pampanga and Manila, began as a billiards attendant at his uncle’s billards hall.
Even at a young age, he was already establishing himself as a winner.
In 1994, he won the US Open nine-ball championship, becoming the first non-American to win the event.
There was no stopping him since.
“Ang maipapayo ko lang sa mga kapwa ko player kailangan mag pa lakas kailangan walang masamang bisyo tsaka kailangan puro concentrate.”
For 7 decades, Bata Reyes has traveled around the world representing the Philippines. Reyes has paved the way for young Filipino cue artists who are making a name for themselves.
“Noong panahon, matagal na rin. Hindi sila makapaniwala na mga Pilipino mga taga asia lang ang puedeng tumalo sa kanila dito sa america dahil dito rin nanggaling ang billiard. So dumating ako dito nakilala naging popular tuloy ang billiard doon sa atin.”
For now, Reyes says that he is far from retiring. He says that he will continue to play pool until he cannot hold the cue sticks anymore.
Bata Reyes played in New Orleans at the Buffalo Pro 1 classic in May. He says he will continue to compete in international tournaments this year.