Reyes, Amit Snare World Billiards Mixed Doubles Crown for Phillipines

Reyes, Amit Pocket World Mixed Doubles Crown for Phillipines in Epic Duel
Reyes, Amit pocket crown in epic duel
By Joey Villar Photos courtesy Emille Soriano

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines’ Efren “Bata” Reyes and Rubilen Amit broke out of a seven-all deadlock and turned back Team Korea’s Charlie Williams and Park Eun Ji, 9-7, in a thrilling showdown in the 2009 World Mixed Doubles Classic at the Nuvo City Lifestyle Center in Libis, Quezon City last night. Reyes and Amit bucked a pair of scratches from breaks and a slew of missed shots in carving out the victory .

Amit, the reigning women’s world 10-ball titlist, sank a difficult shot on the left corner pocket to cap the win to the loud cheers of the home crowd.

“We got a little bit lucky in the end,” said a smiling Reyes.

Amit said it’s a delight to play alongside his idol.

The Philippines’ Efren “Bata” Reyes and Rubilen Amit broke out of a seven-all deadlock and turned back Team Korea’s Williams and Eun Ji, 9-7, in a thrilling showdown in the 2009 World Mixed Doubles Classic at the Nuvo City Lifestyle Center in Libis, Quezon City last night.

The Philippines’ Efren “Bata” Reyes and Rubilen Amit broke out of a seven-all deadlock and turned back Team Korea’s Williams and Eun Ji, 9-7, in a thrilling showdown in the 2009 World Mixed Doubles Classic at the Nuvo City Lifestyle Center in Libis, Quezon City last night.

“It’s really a great feeling playing alongside him (Reyes). All the things he has just rubbed off on me. He’s really an inspiration,” said Amit.

Reyes and Amit will spearhead the country’s bid in the 25th Southeast Asian Games slated Dec. 9-18 in Vientiane, Laos with the former teaming up with old buddy Francisco “Django” Bustamante in the men’s 9-ball doubles and Amit seeing action in the women’s 9-ball and 8-ball singles.

Earlier, the Philippines’ second team of Lee Van Corteza and Filipino-American Shannelle Loraine overpowered Team Europe’s Mika Immonen of Iceland and Borana Andoni of Albania, 7-3, to clinch third place in the event presented by Nuvo Land Philippines, Inc. and Dragon Promotions. Loraine and Van Corteza had never met nor played together before, and dropped their first match of the event to Team Korea 7-4, which was their only loss. But they soon found their stride as they dominated over Team USA 7-1 and then dismantled Europe 7-3.

Immonen and Andoni had a great tournament representing Europe with a fourth place finish

Immonen and Andoni had a great tournament representing Europe with a fourth place finish

Corteza and Shanelle found the right chemistry for their wins over USA and Europe

Mika had several uncharacteristic unforced errors

It was a sweet revenge for Corteza who was beaten by Immonen in the final of the recent World 10-ball Championship.

“It’s a nice feeling getting back at Immonen ,” said Corteza, a former six-time Southeast Asian Games gold medalist.

Many fans were buzzing that this was one of the most fun and entertaining events they’ve ever watched. The event was the first ever international mixed doubles tournament in billiards, and the brainchild of elite production company Dragon Promotions. Dragon Promotions has already committed to producing this event annually and building it bigger.

“We hope to be able to host this again next year and make Nuvo City its annual home”, said Rally Martinez, Executive Director of Nuvo Land.

Loraine and Corteza also had a great event.

Loraine and Corteza also had a great event.

In the consolation opener match of the day, Team Japan faced Team USA to avoid the dreaded last place finish of the event. With US Amateur Champion Amy Chen paired with US Open and former World 10-Ball Champion Shane Van Boening, they seem to be the favorites over young Japanese duet of Hayato Hijikata and Kaori Ebe. Ironically Hijikata won his World Junior Gold at the same time and event Van Boening won his World Gold in the pro division back in 2007 in Jacksonville,Florida in the United States. Japan broke away at 3-3 to win the match 5-3 over USA.

USA’s with Van Boening and Chen didn’t have much luck with a 0-3 record in the event

Before the finals, Team Korea posted impressive wins and looked strong. They seem the only team that could be a threat to Reyes and Amit.

“Eun Ji has been playing superb and has impressed me along with everyone else here. If she keeps up this level, we have a really good chance to upset Team Philippines in the finals”,predicted Williams.

Riding the crest of emphatic victories in the preliminaries, Williams and Park roared to a 2-0 start by pouncing on a dry break by Amit in the first frame and then cleaning up the second rack with a display of superb shot making.

The two pairs alternated racks from there. Team Korea took the sixth rack for a 4-2 upper hand after emerging from an exchange of safety shots, with Williams drilling in a banked shot that opened things up for the easy point.

The Filipinos, however, made their own move, dazzling the crowd with one magical shot after another to get within 4-3.

Japan’s Hayato Hijikata and Kaori Ebe.

Japan’s Hayato Hijikata and Kaori Ebe.

Korea had a golden opportunity at 5-3 lead to extend to a three game lead when Williams set Park up a makeable 6/10ball carom for the win, but she missed and a safety battle ensued with Reyes making an incredible kick safe to tie up Williams.This led to a Korea mistake and eventualy win and 3 game streak that put Reyes and Amit up 6-5. Then in game 12, Reyes missed a 10-ball to the gasp of the crowd and gave Korea the game to tie at 6-6. Park missed an open 4ball during the run and Philippines was able to win back that rack, only to scratch on the break and leave Korea a tough layout. Williams opted to take the shot and lined up a tricky low percentage carom on the 1ball to the 10-ball. Amazingly he struck it well and sent the 10-ball to the pocket as he went down to one knee with a yell and fist pump to tie at 7-7.

The Filipinos, however, managed to wriggle out of trouble, beating the Koreans in an exchange of safety shots on the 15th.

“That was the crucial part of the match. Things would have been different had we missed the 15th,” said Amit.

Leading 8-7, the Pinoy duo was not able to pocket a ball on the break, but luckily left Korea with no shot. Williams opted to jump the 1ball in, but missed and left an open table for Amit/Reyes and they took full advantage for the 9-7 close win.

Williams played outstanding during the match and did not miss any open shots nor made any unforced errors. Park played well, with only a few mistakes.

“Efren is a legend and Rubilen is the women’s world champ, so it was a tall hill to climb. I played as good as I could and I couldn’t ask any more from Eun Ji. If just one or two things went differently it could’ve been a different outcome” said Williams.

Reyes gets congratulations from the players

Reyes gets congratulations from the players

“It was a really good match. I wouldn’t have minded so much even if we lost” said Amit.

The 10-ball tournament, produced by Dragon Promotions, is telecast live on ESPN Star Sports and ABS-CBN throughout Asia and the Philippines. The event is sponsored by Takini Cloth, Magic 89.9, Philippines Star, Predator Cues, Puyat Sports, and hosted by Nuvo City.

The matches had tremendous ratings and the final day have been changed to add an additional channel so will air on ABS-CBN’s Studio 23 and Balls. Internationally on ESPN Star Sports as well as ABS-CBN in middle east and USA.

“Billiards, the sport of the Philippines. The sport of the people.” Please visit www.dragonpromotions.com

Reyes and Amit made it to the finals by edging Japan’s Hayato Hijikata and Kaori Ebe, 7-4, Tuesday, and smashing Immonen and Andoni, 7-1, Wednesday.

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