MANILA, Philippines – Filipino pool icon Efren “Bata” Reyes crashed out of the Southeast Asian Games men’s one-cushion carom singles after bowing to Vietnamese bet Nguyen Tran Thanh Tu, 100-55, on Wednesday, May 18, in Hanoi, Vietnam.
The 67-year-old – considered the greatest of all time in billiards – got off to a rough start as his much younger opponent cruised to a 29-1 run for the 36-7 lead off a slim 7-6 margin.
In carom, there are only three balls with no table pockets, and the scoring runs don’t stop until a player fails to hit all three balls, which then begins the opponent’s next turn.
That early run was all the breathing room Nguyen needed as the hometown bet consistently widened the gap over Reyes until the very end, and even nearly doubled up his lead before reaching the 100-point end mark.
The amiable Pinoy legend, however, was a gracious sportsman in defeat as he gamely posed for a selfie with Nguyen while the packed venue gave the competitors a standing ovation.
This is the fifth straight one-cushion carom singles bronze for “Bata” – a streak that he started in the 2011 Palembang Games. He last won gold in the 1987 Jakarta Games, where he ruled his pet events, billiards and snooker. – Rappler.com