Carlo Biado grateful to have ‘Tatay’ Efren as mentor in pursuit of perfection
MANILA, Philippines—Carlo Biado started from idolizing Efren “Bata” Reyes to joining the legendary cue artist in the pantheon of Philippine billiards.
Reyes and Biado are the only two Filipinos to have won the US Open Pool Championship with the former taking the title in 1994 and the latter in 2021.
Biado also broke the string of 11 runner-up finishes for the Philippines in the tournament.
“Of course this is a big honor because I’ve been dreaming of winning this title for so long,” said Biado in Filipino. “I’ve went through so much hardship to get this and now I’m part of this short list of greats who’ve won the championship and that includes Tatay Efren.”
Biado added that he and Reyes usually play together in the Philippine national team system and it was during these sessions that he built a life-long bond with The Magician.
An accomplished cue artist outside the money tournaments, Biado won gold medals in the 2015 and 2017 Southeast Asian Games and also a couple of bronzes in the 2015 and 2019 edition of the regional tiff.
“When he doesn’t have someone to play with in the Philippine team, I’ll be the one to take him on. Eventually I started calling him Tatay, and it was what he was called by my teammates. I’m really happy that I’ve been with Tatay Efren for such a long period of time in the national team.”
Biado added that while Reyes is that father figure he has in the sport, the Philippine sporting icon continued to demand nothing short of perfection from him.
And it’s not just Reyes who’s pushing Biado to get as close to perfection, but also his wife Nikki.
“My wife is a perfectionist, that’s why she’s my lucky charm during the US Open,” said Biado. “I’m incredibly thankful because she’s always there beside me and supporting me. I can’t really explain it but I’m so happy that she’s with me. We’re a tandem but she also points out when I make a mistake.”
“For example when I practice and when she sees something wrong with a move I make she’ll make sure that I do it all again.”
Nikki’s influence on Biado is not just felt on the pool table but outside of it as she won’t let her husband slack off in physical exercise.
Biado said that he usually plays half-court basketball with his friends in the weeks leading up to tournaments but whenever he doesn’t have to play with it’s Nikki who will push him to dance Zumba with her.
“It doesn’t mean that if you’re great at billiards then you won’t exercise. You should be physically fit because games will take so much time during tournaments and you’ll wait for your next opponent inside the venue while doing nothing. It’s not enough to be great at the sport, you should also have a strong body,” said Biado.
“I usually play basketball with my friends or with my fans but I’ll never make a career out of basketball. Now we’re in quarantine my wife and I play Zumba so that I get my sweat going. During times when I feel lazy, my wife will always wake me up and tell me to exercise when there’s competition coming up.”
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A hustler during his younger days, Biado’s work as a tee boy then eventually a caddie at Villamor Airbase’s golf course when he was around 13-years-old and he normally squeezed this odd job of his while attending school.
What he then earned from Villamor will then become his capital to play billiards and it was in these games that he saw a way out.
“I stopped schooling because life was hard back then and I was the one working for my family because my mother didn’t have a job, plus I also have a younger sibling, and I’m the one supporting my family through billiards,” said Biado.
“When I felt that I’m getting better in life, that’s when I decided to use billiards as my career.”
It’s from this experience that Biado vowed to be the best father he can be for his five children John Carlo, Ralph Stephen, Rain, Serena, and Raven.
Biado said that he doesn’t have a problem if any of his children decide to pursue billiards in the future but his main wish for them is to finish their studies.
“If they want to play billiards, then I’ll support them but of course I want them to first finish their education because I didn’t finish my studies,” said Biado. “They can always simultaneously play billiards and study, and I’ll always be supporting them whatever path they take.”
Biado said that his eldest John Carlo, 15, sometimes plays billiards but is more inclined to become a professional Mobile Legends player.
While there was no E-Sports tournament back when he was a kid, Biado is aware of the burgeoning sport and that he’d be supporting his eldest no matter what.
“My eldest wants to become an ML player and if that’s what he wants then I’ll let him pursue it,” said Biado who joked that one of the gadgets during his childhood years was the Nokia 3210 that looked like an ice shaver. “Maybe one day he will eventually play in the world events, I never imagined that there would be a sport like that abroad.”
“I hope he does make it, and as a father I’ll always support him.”
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