Efren 'Bata' Reyes admits English billiards not PH's strength after loss to Vietnam

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – The legend himself Efren "Bata" Reyes competed in his first event at the 2017 Southeast Asian Games here but it wasn't the strong debut he was hoping for.

He and Francisco Dela Cruz were swept by Vietnam in English billiards doubles, an event that Reyes admitted wasn't the Filipinos' strength.

"Talagang ganyan, expected na namin na ganoon ang mangyayari e. Tsaka hindi namin talaga laro ‘tong English billiards. Laro talaga natin pool e," he told reporters after the 100-90, 100-33, 100-72 defeat.

"Ang expected natin ‘yung pool talaga. Sigurado naman ‘yun panalo ng mga player natin. Ang mga players natin sa pool mas magaling pa nga sa akin, mga bata ngayon e. Kasi dito sa English billiards, wala tayong player."

(It is what it is, we expected this would happen. English billiards isn't our strength. Our edge is in pool. We expect to win in pool. For sure the younger players will win. Our pool players are much better than me, the young ones. For English billiards we don't have any player.)

The 62-year-old also rued that they used cue sticks for snooker instead of those more appropriate for English billiards during the match. The key characteristics of English billiards include the use of a bigger table and smaller balls.

"Nakaisang laro, nakakahiya nga talo kami. Itong first game namin hindi pa kami nanalo," he said. "Samantalang kaya namin ‘tong kalaban namin ngayon kaysa doon sa ibang player. Kaya lang talagang ‘di namin alam. Ginanahan lang kalaban namin pero kaya namin ‘yun."

(I already played once, but it's embarrassing that we lost. This is our first game and we didn't win. But we could have beaten our opponent now instead of others. But we really didn't know. Our opponents were very eager but we could have taken them.)

Reyes noted that younger Filipino players have a better chance at succeeding in English billiards, and that he himself first played it in 1987, but only around two more times since.

Reyes is not done yet with English billiards because he will still compete in the singles event.

Despite the loss, "The Magician" still garnered much attention from Filipino fans after his media interviews. – Rappler.com