View Full Version : ‘Bata’ Reyes comes home sans fanfare

09-13-2006, 06:39 AM

‘Bata’ Reyes comes home sans fanfare

By Nikko Dizon
Last updated 05:02pm (Mla time) 09/13/2006

EFREN "Bata" Reyes, one of the country's sports heroes, arrived Wednesday from a fresh win in Reno, Nevada without fanfare and a coterie of politicians meeting him at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

But it was just as well for his fans -- mostly travelers, airline and airport personnel, and well-wishers -- who simply chanced upon Reyes at the airport at 5 in the morning.

Right before them was an accessible, friendly, and humble champ, known as “The Magician” in the world of billiards and pool.

Cheers of "Bata!" from a group of well-wishers at the NAIA Centennial Terminal 2 erupted as soon as Reyes stepped out of the airport and made his way to his car.

With his trademark toothless grin, Reyes waved, walked towards them, and gamely shook the hands of his excited fans.

Inside the airport, quite a number of airport personnel and passengers, including young American female tourists, were able to freely have their pictures taken with Reyes and have his autograph.

"This victory is for all Filipinos. Sa mga kababayan natin na nandito at nanduon, nagpapasalamat ako. Sa Nevada marami Pilipinong umasikaso sa amin kaya bago matulog busog na busog kami, (I am grateful to our countrymen here and there. In Nevada, many Filipinos attended and we went to bed on full stomachs)," Reyes told reporters.

Reyes won 500,000 dollars, the biggest prize in billiards, after ruling the International Pool Tour (IPT) 2006 World Open 8-Ball championship at the Grand Sierra Resort and Casino in Reno.

But Reyes said the money would still be subjected to a 30-percent tax in the United States. His prize, he said, would be sent to him in the coming days.

Even his IPT trophy that is as tall as him was left in the Reno for shipping to Manila.

Two weeks before the IPT, Reyes and close friend, Francisco "Django" Bustamante, split the 60,000 dollars first prize in the World Cup of Pool after beating Americans Rodney "Rocket" Morris and Earl Strickland.

The bosom buddies, who call each other "Pare", arrived together in Manila Wednesday on board Philippine Airlines flight PR 102 from Los Angeles.

Their arrival was so unlike that of every triumphant return of boxer Manny Pacquiao from feats abroad.

Pacquiao had to literally endure being overshadowed by a throng of government officials wanting to be identified with the “People's Champion.”

But Reyes himself acknowledged that boxing still reigns supreme among Filipinos when asked if it was "boxing or billiards" for his countrymen.

The 52-year-old even joked that billiards' prize money was only one-percent of Pacquiao's winnings.

"Ngayon medyo lumalaki na (It’s getting bigger though), " Reyes laughed.

Reyes and Bustamante are to leave for Singapore Thursday for the SMB Asian 9-Ball Tour.

Copyright 2006 Inquirer. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(I think I'm in trouble now!)

09-13-2006, 04:08 PM
sans carfare as well?...the check is in the mail???

09-14-2006, 07:01 AM
Have they named a street or building after him yet? Seems like a street that is filled with the action Pool halls would be perfect to name 'Magician's way' or 'Magician's boulevard'.... lol