Reyes Derailed by Alcano
Efren Reyes will be having a longer haul to make it to the finals as Ronnie Alcano detoured him to the loser’s side in the double elimination format. The former World Champion Reyes started off strong in the match with a 2-0 lead, but then saw it dwindle as Reyes made several unforced errors.
The two players played in front of a full capacity crowd at SM Mall North at The Block. Nearly a thousand fans squished together to catch a glimpse of the two legends.
Reyes had lost a highly advertised one on one match with Alcano several months ago, where Reyes fell short. Efren would try to make amends from that defeat here today, but things didn’t go as plan.
Alcano once he tied the match with some great combos and run outs, then never looked back and defeated Reyes 8-5.
“Lot of pressure playing here (Philippines)! Today against Ronnie I could not control the cueball so I could not get the shots. I feel very nervous right now”,said Reyes of his performance.
Reyes will have to get another win against Canada’s strong,young hopeful Jason Klatt in order to reach the final 16 round.
Morris On Stride
Can an American reclaim the Predator International Championship title? That all depends on Rodney Morris. Morris, known as The Rocket, has been the hottest American player on tour ranked #2 and with 4 finals appearances in the 5 weeks.
Giant names such as Van Boening, Deuel, Williams are all gone. None of the top USA players were able to make the final 16 cut and finished out of the money. Morris has been on a resurgence of late, and he attributes it to hard work.
“I’ve been working out, dieting, and practicing and refining the weaknesses in my game. I still have alot I can improve, so I’m not done yet”, said Morris. The results are showing as Morris took down V. Arpilleda of the Philippines 8-4 and then pinoy E. Calasang 8-6. Morris coincidentally uses Poison Cues which sponsors him and is owned by Predator Group and he is managed by the event producer, Dragon Promotions.
“It’s a definite plus having our player do so well, especially when he is sponsored by our event sponsor”, said Charlie Williams, Founder of DP.
Morris was seeded #5 with his record going into the final 16, and will play Canadian John Morra for the right to move into the quarter finals.
Reyes Advances to Final 16
Reyes kept hundreds of fans up late watching his final match of the day. They were not disappointed.
Though there were no cameras,TV, or even stream of this match that would keep Efren alive or not in the Predator Championship, Reyes put on a strong performance against up and coming Jason Klatt of Canada. Reyes started off strong with a 3-1 lead, but then made errors to let Klatt come back and tie at 3-3. This made The Magician a little worried. Fortunately for Reyes, Klatt missed an easy combination on the 10-Ball.
“I’m always nervous nowadays when I play. Sometimes I don’t play so good”, said Reyes.
Efren was able to hold the lead though from then on. He reached the hill first at 7-3, but Klatt was able to strike back 2 racks and put some pressure on Reyes. The final rack saw Efren miss position on the final 10-Ball, which made the 56 year old veteran laugh and let out an audible sigh. He made the final 10-ball and raised his arm in relieved victory. Klatt smiled in his chair before Reyes made the final shot at the visible nerves of Reyes.
“It’s way different playing Efren here versus anywhere else. The crowds are amazing, but it’s a good experience,” said Klatt on what it felt like playing against Reyes in Manila. Klatt has had rising results the past year in big events, including a big win against Johnny Archer in May. “I’m just trying to get out here and get more experience. One day I want to be able to win a World Championship or US Open.”
“I was so nervous. It’s hard to play in front of your home crowd, even though at the same time it’s nice to have the support,” said Reyes of the pressure.
He was asked about his chances now of winning the event. “Earlier today I couldn’t control the cueball, but now I feel like I can. So yes, I feel like I got the chance now to win!” said Reyes smiling.
Reyes will enter tomorrow the #16 seed and will face #1 seed Dennis Orcullo on the first TV match. Orcullo is also the defending champion of the tournament.
Bustamante Exits Early
Francisco Bustamante fans will have to wait awhile to see him win an international event in the Philippines. Bustamante was seeded in the event but it did not help him with his first loss to Roberto Gomez in a tight 8-7 match. He was able to bounce back with one win over D.Razalan 8-5.
Bustamante will be inducted into the USA Hall of Fame next month, and is only the 3rd Asian to receive that honor. Efren Reyes, his best friend, is the only other Filipino in the Hall of Fame. But in this Predator International Championship, he will have to sit on the sidelines and root for his friend.
In a close 8-7 thriller with Warren Kiamco, Bustamante fell on the wrong side of the score. He stood up and gave a gracious handshake and pat to his friend Kiamco after the match.
Kiamco went on to defeat Ricky Zerna to make it to the final 16 round.