Limpag: Oh where, oh where!

Fair Play

If your social media algorithm is like mine, then you are bombarded daily with compilations of the best of Efren Reyes shots, in between dancing girls who are barely dressed.

Bata, now an old, old man, is still the darling of the pool world and in recent years has earned a new fan base it seems, thanks to social media. Or, to be precise, social media pages that are profiteering off him.

He had his farewell tour almost seven years ago in Germany and that’s when Francisco Bustamante, his doubles partner who dropped the nine, asked him, “Where? Where?” when he was about to take a shot on the 10.

And typical Bata, played to the crowd, seemingly missing the 10 and eliciting an “Ooh” from the commentator. The crowd, and the commentator realized they were being played after seeing the 10-ball take a circuitous path to the top corner. Earl Strickland even approached Bata after that shot and pointed out the route of the final ball and we all know what he was thinking.

Since that video seven years ago, we’ve seen a few more where Efren is about to shoot the final ball--whether nine or 10--and the crowd goes, “Where? Where?”

And Efren never disappoints them. Though he’d miss some, his audacity to go for more difficult shots is what pleases the crowd.

None more so the crowd in Vietnam, where it seems Efren is worshipped like a God. There’s a video where a tournament in Vietnam rolled out the red carpet for Bata and the unassuming GOAT (greatest-of-all time) of the pool literally avoided the red carpet.

And of course, an Efren Reyes highlights video isn’t complete without that famous Z shot against Strickland in the 1994 US Open, a shot so creative and audacious that Time magazine wrote about it.

I don’t think I can do justice by trying to describe that shot but it’s something that pool fans all over the world has seen at least twice a day, thanks, again, to social media.

These videos show the world’s love for Efren Reyes. With countries like Vietnam, Germany and Indonesia holding farewell tours for the Magician, I hope the Philippines will hold one for Reyes, the man who changed how the world views pool.

I mean, it’s the least that we could do for the guy, an unassuming and always smiling player who showed the world what Filipinos are capable of in the world of pool.

People love to say that Efren Reyes is the Michael Jordan of pool. That’s wrong. There was Dr. J and other high flyers before MJ. There was no one like Efren before he stunned the pool world, playing as Cesar Morales. Reyes is not the Michael Jordan of pool, Jordan is the Efren Reyes of basketball.

The Goat.

And I hope all Filipinos can see him play for one last time, at home.


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