Still got it: ‘Bata’ Reyes handily beats Thai foe in SEA Games carom
MANILA, Philippines–Philippine pool icon Efren “Bata” Reyes carved out a 100-37 decision over Thailand’s Thongchai Punyawee in the men’s 1-cushion carom event of the Southeast Asian Games Wednesday at Manila Hotel.
Reyes took advantage of taking the first turn, racking up points to keep his opponent on catch-up mode early.
The 65-year-old cuemaster even put together a pair of 20-point runs to assert his might over his foe.
“I wasn’t nervous at all in the match,” Reyes told reporters in Filipino shortly after the match. “My opponent was not that strong anyway.”
Efren “Bata” Reyes had a rousing win over his Thai foe on Wednesday to open his 1-cushion carom bid in the SEA Games. While he was happy with the win, Reyes, 65, said he wasn’t satisfied.
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The victory sent Reyes, a bemedalled athlete, to the semifinal and closer to what could be his first SEA Games gold.
Reyes, though, apologized for being rusty, pointing to an aching right shoulder.
“That match should’ve been quick. But it took us a while,” he said. “My usual shots weren’t working. That’s why the crowd wasn’t as thrilled.”
That couldn’t be more evident when Reyes, at the 98th, muffed the second of what would’ve been a back-to-back shot to seal the game, drawing a mix of laughter and sigh from the spectators.
Reyes, though, promised to be better, as he moves on to the semifinal against Dinh-Nai Ngo of Vietnam, a bronze and silver medalist at the Three-Cushion World Cup.
Reyes and Ngo tangle 4 p.m. this Friday, Dec. 6.