Efren 'Bata' Reyes tells PH athletes: Have discipline, stay humble
MANILA, Philippines – Efren "Bata" Reyes is a man of a few words, so when he has something to say, everybody listens.
People in attendance at the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Awards Night were all ears when the Filipino icon delivered a candid speech that highlighted what it takes to excel in sports.
Reyes, a three-time PSA Athlete of the Year, was given the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Philippines' sporswriting fraternity after putting the country on the map when it comes to billiards.
"Sa mga kasamahan kong atleta at sa mga nais maging atleta, ang dapat nating gawin ay magkaroon ng disiplina, dedication, at focus sa sport na napili natin bilang isang career," said Reyes.
(To my fellow athletes and to aspiring athletes, we must have discipline, dedication, and focus for our sports that we chose as a career.)
"Kasama na rin dito ang puspusang pagsasanay at walang takot humarap sa mga kalaban. Magbubunga ito ng tagumpay sa pakikiisa sa mga sports leaders at sports patrons ng ating bansa."
(We must also train hard and have no fear in facing our opponents. These, paired with our unity with our sports leaders and sports patrons, will lead to success.)
The man widely regarded as the greatest pool player of all time obviously knows what he is talking about.
Given the moniker "The Magician" for sinking improbable shots, Reyes rose through the ranks and became the first player to win world championships in two different disciplines in pool.
But success did not happen overnight for Reyes, who recalled the times he slept at pool tables as he dreamed of making it big in his sport in order to give his family a better life.
"Ang tangi kong hangarin noon ay makatulong sa pangkabuhayan ng aking mga magulang," Reyes said.
(My only goal back then was to help my parents financially.)
"Dahil sa dedication ko sa paglalaro ng pool at disiplina bilang isang atleta, umakyat ng mataas na baitang ang aking laro at nakilala ng mga sports patrons para makalaro sa mga international competitions."
(Because of my dedication to playing pool and discipline as an athlete, I was able to raise my game and be known by sports patrons who supported me in playing in international competitions.)
Despite his international success, Reyes has remained down-to-earth – a trait he hopes Filipino athletes adapt.
"Pagkatapos nating matamo ang tagumpay, patuloy pa rin tayong lahat na maging humble o mapagkumbaba sa ating buhay."
(After our success, we must continue to be humble.)
At your service
Now 65 years old, Reyes is far from the player that dominated his foes and collected countless titles worldwide.
He admitted to turning down invitations to several tournaments lately due to his poor eyesight and aching body.
But if the country needs his services, Reyes said he will always be available.
"Maglalaro pa ba ako? Basta't kailangan ako ng ating bansa, nandito po si Bata, pero matanda na ngayon," he said.
(Will I still play? As long as the country needs me, Bata is here, but he has already grown old.)
"Gusto kong makatulong sa mga batang nais maglaro ng pool at ibang disiplina ng billiard sports. Marami ngayong mga batang naglalaro na magagaling pero kailangan gabayan para makaani ng tagumpay para sa ating bansa."
(I want to help young players who want to pursue pool and other disciplines of the billiard sports. We have many young players who are good but need guidance to be succcessful for the country.) – Rappler.com