Team Philippines, made up of legend Efren “Bata” Reyes and fellow world champion Rubilen Amit, retained the World Mixed Doubles title Friday by beating a crack United States team in Hangzhou, China.
In another testament to the country’s expertise in the game of pool, Reyes and Amit trounced world champions Johnny Archer and Jeanette Lee, 10-6, to regain the crown they first won two years ago in Libis, Quezon City.
Reyes is coming off a bronze medal finish (carom 1-cushion) in the recent Southeast Asian Games in Indonesia, while Amit went home with a silver in the 9-ball event.
Their victory once again put the duo in the spotlight with Reyes becoming the oldest player to win an open international competition at the age of 56. They pocketed the top prize of $15,000 (about P45,000).
Reyes and Amit, playing for Puyat Sports of Aristeo “Putch” Puyat, barged into the finals with a dramatic 9-8 win over hosts Li Hewen and Chen Siming in the semifinals.
“We hope we made the country proud of us once again,” said Reyes, whose legend in the sport is matched only by his magical shots and missing dentures. “We offer this to our countrymen.”
For Amit, it was sweet return to top form after failing to defend her two SEA Games golds in Indonesia, and losing early in the recent World Women’s 10-ball championships.
Two years ago in the maiden tournament, Reyes and Amit beat Koreans Charlie Williams and Eun Ji-park for the title.
Another Filipino pair in Lee Van Corteza and SEA Games double gold winner Iris Rañola took part in the competition but had an early exit after bowing to a Chinese pair.
Sixteen teams from around the world saw action in the high-level competition, including Tommy Donlon and Kelly Fisher of United Kingdom, Mika Immonen and Marika Poikkijoki of Finland, Chao Fong-pang and Tsai Pei-chan of Chinese Taipei, and China’s Liu Haitao and Fu Xiaofang. Marc Anthony Reyes