The First Billiard Player to Win 2 Different World Championships – Efren “Bata” Reyes

According to history, billiard games had been in existence for the past centuries and recognized as “lawn games” played by people nearly 700 years ago. As years pass by, this type of game had evolved greatly and now one of the most popular table-gamed competition worldwide.

The materials they use to create different billiard tables, balls and sticks likewise changes over the past years. However, more and more people had shown remarkable interest to playing or watching this type of table game today.

In the Philippines, billiard games are very popular all over the country and this is the reason why it homes the first billiard player to win 2 world championships in different categories whom they call as Efren “Bata” (The Kid) or “The Magician” Reyes. The world recognizes Reyes as one of the best billiard players in history to ever live because of his numerous won championships in different pool categories.

The Native of Mexico in Pampanga grabbed the spotlight of the billiard world since he was a teenager. Even though he came from a poor family, he did not surrender and made an effort to climb the peak of the mountain by playing his favorite pastime game, which is billiard.

When he is 5-year-old, his uncle made a decision to bring him in Manila and helped him work in a family-owned billiard hall that time known as “Lucky 13.” Efren during that time worked as one of the attendants in the hall and this gave way to mastering the game whenever he witness both amateur and professional players who compete with each other.

Because of his enthusiasm to learn how to play, he practices regularly as soon as he wakes up in the morning before his working hours. This kind of mindset and perseverance truly helped him to develop his game plans, which include making magical shots that are impossible to believe by the naked eyes.

During the time when the Americans are still residing in Clark Air Base (known as Clark Special Economic Zone today), he got an opportunity to compete with the best American pool players and they still cannot defeat him. At younger age, it is easy for “The Magician” to earn a living that time because he always wins whenever he competes in Angeles City.

As years pass by and Reyes continued to improve his game with his masterful performance, it seems that nobody wants to compete with him anymore and in between 1960-1970, there are promoters who saw him played and showed great interest to brining his talent to the next level against top-class billiard players in the world.

According to Wikipedia that in year 1980, he competed in a high-class pool tournament and won $80,000 in one week after visiting the United States. Although this is not an international event that time, this paved his way to reaching the height of his goal because he got an opportunity to compete in many international events such as in Asia, Europe and America.

One of the most disheartening experiences of Efren is when he competed and won in the United States and utilized “Cesar Morales” as his name to represent himself as a Mexican in year 1985. He earned huge amount of money (between $81,000 up to $176,000) that time, but his sponsor did not gave his share (50% sharing deal) and stole the money.

Despite of this, Reyes did not give up and continued his journey to become a world champion on his own. From the information shared through that in 1989, the Puyat brothers (Aristeo and Jose) made an agreement with him to become his real sponsors.

Since then, he became of the most feared and dominant pool player in the history of billiard. He achieved many awards and championships in his name, which include becoming the first player to win 2 championships in different categories.

Now at 63, Reyes is planning to retire in his most treasured career.


Credit images: Photo Owners

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