GAB chief Mitra says apologetic 'Bata' Reyes has learned his lessons | Inquirer Sports
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GAB chief Mitra says apologetic ‘Bata’ Reyes has learned his lessons

/ 05:58 PM March 17, 2021
Efren Bata Reyes

FILE – The Philippine pool legend Efren “Bata” Reyes during a carom match in the 30th Southeast Asian Games. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — Even off the pool halls, Efren “Bata” Reyes could sure work his magic and bail himself out of trouble.

The billiards master known around the world as “The Magician,” offered his apology for the ruckus his presence has created in a pool match in Laguna over the weekend.

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Games and Amusements Board chair Baham Mitra didn’t say if the 66-year-old billiards legend ever violated any rules but on Wednesday stated he’s not going to be sanctioned.

“He has written an apology and explanation letter. I think he has learned his lessons and we appreciate his reaching out to us,” Mitra told the Inquirer.

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Reyes was invited by police after a game he was featured gathered way too much crowd that it violated several safety health protocols.

“Before agreeing to the person who invited me, I informed them to ask permission to the local government or barangay captain so that there will be no problem upon my arrival,” said Reyes in his letter to GAB.

But the news that Reyes was in town proved too hard for people to resist. The crowd became out of control prompting barangay officials to call the police.

In the barangay hall, Reyes, winner of 70 major international tournaments including two World Championships, joined those who were apprehended.

“The police officer told me to just follow them to the barangay hall so people would comply,” his letter added. He said the police officer gave him a warning and allowed him to go.

Like the police, Mitra said he “would like to give courtesy to our world champion” who has brought honor and pride to the country.

Reyes brought the Philippines in the sporting map when he captured the 1999 World 9-ball Championships. He won also won the 2004 World 8-ball.

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Known for his mesmerizing trick shots and charming, toothless smile, Reyes paved the way for several other pool legend like Django Bustamante and Dennis Orcollo who went on to become World champions themselves.

He represented the country in international multi-event competitions, playing mostly in caroms and winning a bronze in the Asian Games and four bronzes in the Southeast Asian Games.

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