SEA Games 2023

Efren ‘Bata’ Reyes suffers early SEA Games exit to end medal streak

Delfin Dioquino

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Efren ‘Bata’ Reyes suffers early SEA Games exit to end medal streak

ICON. Efren "Bata" Reyes has been competing in the SEA Games for nearly 40 years.

Delfin Dioquino/Rappler

Billiards legend Efren 'Bata Reyes, 68, falls victim to Cambodia's Woo Donghoon in the men's three-cushion carom singles

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia – Billiards icon Efren “Bata” Reyes missed out on a medal in the Southeast Asian Games for the first time in six years as he crashed out of the men’s three-cushion carom singles.

Reyes absorbed a 40-15 loss to Cambodia’s Woo Donghoon in the round of 16 at the AEON Mall here on Tuesday, May 9.

The loss marked the first time the 68-year-old failed to medal since the 2017 edition in Malaysia, where he suffered exits in English billiards singles and in English billiards doubles with Francisco “Django” Bustamante.

Reyes won back-to-back one-cushion carom bronzes in the past two SEA Games.

“My opponent is from Korea,” Reyes said in Filipino. “At first, I thought that I could easily win but it turned out that he is good.”

Efren ‘Bata’ Reyes suffers early SEA Games exit to end medal streak

Donghoon, who is Korean-Cambodian according to billiards chief Robert Mananquil, jumped to a 24-12 lead in the race-to-40 match and never let Reyes recover.

It has been a disappointing campaign for the national billiards team so far, with top Filipino pool players Carlo Biado, Johann Chua, Rubilen Amit, and Chezka Centeno bowing out in their singles events.

Biado and Chua got the boot in the round of 16 of the men’s nine-ball, while Amit and Centeno were eliminated in the quarterfinals of the women’s three-cushion carom.

“We were just caught on a bad time. We did not have the best performances,” said Reyes.

Still in the running in men’s three-cushion carom singles is Francisco dela Cruz, who earlier beat Thailand’s Thongchai Punyawee to advance to the last eight. –

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Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.