MANILA - Efren “Bata” Reyes, perhaps the greatest billiards player of all time, continues to put the Philippines on the global map.

The United States Billiard Media Association (USBMA) announced yesterday that the 55-year-old Filipino pool maestro was named Player of the Decade, beating fellow former world champions Johnny “The Scorpion” Archer of the United States, Mika “The Iceman” Immonen of Finland and Ralf “Kaiser” Souquet of Germany in voting.

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Hall of fame

The Angeles City, Pampanga native Reyes, the top player of Puyat Sports, who was also inducted into the Billiard Congress of America Hall (BCA) Hall of Fame in 2003 amassed nearly $1.7 million in prize money, according to the report of website Azbilliards yesterday.

Reyes, fresh from winning his fifth straight Master of the Table Crown last Monday during the 12th Annual Derby City Classic at the Horseshoe Casino and Hotel in Indiana, United States.

“He (Efren) is an inspiration for the Filipinos.” said benefactor businessman Aristeo “Putch” Puyat.

Record

Reyes won more than 20 major men’s professional pool titles during the decade, starting with his $30,000 Camel Pro 8-Ball Championship win in 2000. Of his 22 major victories, the versatile Reyes won four one-pocket crowns, four 8-ball titles and 15 9-ball titles. He also won the Derby City All-Around title five times.

Reyes is also the first Filipino who won the prestigious World Pool (9-ball) Championships tiara in 1999 at Cardiff, Wales.

He also took the World 8-ball title in 2004 in Fujairah, United Arab Emirates.

He scored his biggest wins in the International Pool Tour (IPT), won two titles (2005 IPT King of the Hill and 2006 IPT North American Open) and pocketed $765,000.

On the distaff side, Allison Fisher of Great Britain was also named Player of the Decade, defeating compatriot Karen Korr and Jasmin Osuchan of Austria. (PR)