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---Welcome to Philippine Pool Players---

by Carlo S. Sanchez

Efren "Bata" Reyes

EFREN REYES was born Aug. 26, 1954, in Angeles, Pampanga. He is the middle son of nine children - five boys and four girls. His family was poor and his father worked as a barber. When Efren was five years old, his family sent him to stay with his uncle, who owned the Lucky 13 pool hall in Avenida, Manila. Efren was put to work as a billiard attendant. This is where he picked up the nickname "Bata" (The Kid). Efren's bed was the pool table. Efren did not actually pick up a pool cue until he was eight years old, but for the first three years at the Lucky 13, he still learned a lot about the game. Not only from watching the hustlers, the movie "When I slept on the table, I dreamt about pool," he said. "I learned about pool from my dreams." Then at eight years old, he began living out the dreams. "Just to be able to shoot," he said, "I stacked cases of Coke three high so I could play pool." After a shot, he would move the cases around the table so he could take another shot. Even though his uncle did not want him to play pool, Efren would play two hours in the morning and two hours in the evening, when nobody was around. "I liked sleeping on the table because when I woke up I could play pool." He started gambling at nine years old. At 12, several of his rich Chinese friends, whom Efren met at the Lucky 13, tagged him along to different places like Bulacan, Olongapo, and Angeles for vacations. While there, they would pick up games. The friends would finance Efren against some of the best players in the Philippines. Once he beat the number two guy in the country. "I watched all the good players and the weak players, too," he said. He practiced every shot. He had no teacher. "I learned the simple shots from the good players. English, draw, follow, how to put the cue ball in position. But what about the other shots? The good players don't know the invisible shots. A lot of times the weak players make these impossible shots. I learned a lot of trick shots from watching bad players." Efren dropped out of high school after two years in order to support his family by playing pool. He had financiers and he would play for maybe P100.

Profile: Efren Reyes

Based: Angeles City, Philippines
Highlight of Career: World Pool Champion 1999, US 9-ball Champion 1994, World 8-ball Champion 1995, 1996, 2000, World Pool League Champion 2001, 2002
Cardiff Record: 1999-Champion, 2000-last 64, 2001-last 32, 2002-last 8, 2004-San Miguel Asian 9-Ball Tour
Cue Used: Philippines-made cue
Nickname: "Bata" & "The Magician"
Favourite Player Francisco Bustamante

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