Efren Bata Reyes Achievements.
His first agent then was a Filipino businessman named Nonie Ortega. It was believed that Efren reyes earned over 10,000 dollars in his first US hustling adventure. Unfortunately, Nonie took off with his winnings and accused Efren bata reyes of still owing him some money for food and other expenses he incurred during his stay in the US.
He went back home but did not lose heart. Efren has seen how other pool athletes have played and he knew that he stood a chance. He was confident that he’d be able to beat them. Another Filipino agent duped Efren before he found a decent one who is ironically American.
The First non-American winner of the US Open Nine Ball Championship
It was his victory over Nick Varner that solidified his world-class status as an athlete. Due to his growing popularity, Puyat Sports decided to sponsor his games. Arsiteo “Putch” Puyat feels a special kind of affinity to Efren, saying that their now bankable empire was built by their grandfather from scratch. Helping Efren was like honoring their grandfather. Call it fate or destiny, but many believe that Efren was simply rewarded for his hard work and humble heart.
One of his most memorable performances was against Earl Strickland, his favorite opponent. The event was called “Color of Money” and was inspired by the movie of the same title. He was challenged to play 120 matches of 9-ball. The match was held in Hong Kong and 100,000 dollars was at stake. It was a heart-stopping event with Efren tipping onto the losing end on the second day of the match. On the third day, however, he was back with a vengeance. He regaled the audience with his unbelievable tricks, earning him the moniker, “The Magician.” Needless to say, Efren won the match 120-117. It wasn’t only the 100,000 dollars he took home, but also the respect of other pool players.
Way back, pool was purely a game of gambling. But after Efren displayed incredible stunts for the world to see, it gained a whole new reputation. Since Efren’s legendary winning, more Filipinos became interested in pool and pool halls began to mushroom.
In 1999, Efren became the first winner of the televised match of WPA World 9-ball Championship. When he came back to the Philippines, the whole nation was waiting to welcome their new hero. He was teary-eyed when he was interviewed upon his return, overwhelmed by the attention he was getting. Efren found a new inspiration in playing. Realizing that he no longer plays only for the money but also for the glory of his country, Efren became more determined to win every match he joins.
Efren was awarded the Presidential League of Honor in 2000 and eventually accorded the Philippine Order of Lakandula “Champion for Life Award.”
His next overseas game was in Tokyo where he beat Niels Feijen and took home 850,000 dollars along with the International Billiard Tournament trophy. It was considered the biggest first prize in a pool tournament back then. But it was only the beginning of his long running winning streak. The following year, he went on to beat Mika Immonen, one of the most distinguished players, in the winner-take-all International Challenge of Champions. He was awarded 50,000 dollars and topped the AZ Billiards Money List for the second time.
Mainly due to his unbelievable skill in controlling the cue ball, he became the first Asian to be inducted into the Billiard Congress of America’s Hall of Fame in 2003, the same year he became the Mid-Atlantic 9-Ball Open Champion. In 2004, he defeated Marlon Manalo and was declared the first-ever WPA World Eight Ball Champion, making him the first player in WPA history to win both 9 and 8-ball World championships. He was inducted into the One Pocket Hall of Fame and again topped the AZ Billiards Money List for the third time. He would top it for the fourth time after winning the IPT King of the Hill 8-Ball Shootout when he took home 200,000 dollars after defeating Mike “the Mouth” Sigel. His home country then appointed him Philippine Sports Ambassador of the South East Asian Games.
Pairing with Francisco “Django” Bustamante
Efren and Earl Strickland would meet again during the World Cup of Pool in 2006. Having Francisco “Django” Bustamante for a partner resulted in a win. The two conquered the title and defeated Team USA composed of Earl Strickland and Rodney Morris. More than the winnings, it was forming a friendship with a fellow Filipino that made it more fun for Efren.
Efren would again be pitted against Rodney Morris in the IPT World Open Eight-ball Championship that year where he won and was supposed to receive 500,000 dollars, earning him his fifth year as top pool player in the AZ Billiards Money List. In spite of not being able to be paid in full right away, Efren did not sue the promoter, saying that he understands that they are in trouble.
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