Will there be another Bata Reyes?
OF COURSE, there can never be another Thrilla in Manila, the young, over-eager correspondent from the Chinese television network CCTV was told.
This was on Sunday, a day after Muhammad Ali, The Greatest, passed away.
Why will there be no other Thrilla?
Because there will never be another Ali.
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Not that simple, though.
The other day, there was a report from Kentucky which quoted Ali’s daughter as saying “Ali’s heart continued to beat 30 minutes after his body shut down.”
Which should also mean that there could never be an exact end to inborn greatness.
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Yes, there could never be a second The Greatest.
Why? Because that mythical tag will belong exclusively to Ali, the greatest boxer ever.
Going to Philippine sports, the closest candidate for sporting immortality hereabouts is, hands-down, Manny Pacquiao, who has retired recently.
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Pacquiao, with a record eight world championships in separate divisions, may never be duplicated in this lifetime.
By the way, one other great international campaigner who merits the tag of greatest is world pool sensation Efren “Bata” Reyes.
Reyes had supposedly retired, although there has been nothing official about The Magician hanging up his cue stick for good.
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Unlike during his prime, there has been no great interest in Bata Reyes’ stints abroad.
Last year, he acted as playing captain for Asia in a team competition against Europe, bannered by Mika Immonen, a former world pool champion like Reyes.
Reyes did wonders in that Asia vs Europe series which went to the limit. Europe prevailed despite Reyes’ solid game and leadership, no thanks to the sub-par performance of two younger Taiwanese cue masters.
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Nothing has been heard of Reyes hence, and hometown pool fans seemed not to care at all.
Listen here. Philboxing.com reported yesterday that Efren “Bata” Reyes, 63, has won the “Make It Happen” One-Pocket pool championship at the Simonis Arena in Edison, New Jersey. He beat top American player Shane Van Boening, 4-3.
An AZ Billiards report said “Reyes foreshadowed the finals on Sunday when he ran eight and out against Boening that evened up their record at 4-1.”
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In the deciding Game 7, the report said “Reyes took an intentional foul but the the 32-year-old Van Boening left him open with a shot and Reyes ran four to take a 3-0 lead. Reyes was provided with another offensive opportunity and he took advantage of it, five and out, to win the game 8-0 and the title.”
The online report was accompanied by a picture of Reyes, in tangerine t-shirt, erupting in toothless glee and raising his cue stick with both hands. There were other fans, obviously proud Filipinos, whooping it up in the immediate sideline.
Will there be another Bata Reyes? Shane Van Boening, listed as the greatest pool player in the world today, should be able to provide the answer.
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