EFREN 'Bata' Reyes and Francisco “Django” Bustamante began their search for another world title with a victory in their group stage assignments on opening day of the World 9-Ball Championships on Sunday in Doha, Qatar.
Reyes, the 1999 titlist, defeated Philipp Stojanovic of Croatia, 9-3, in Group One while 2010 champion Bustamante downed Lo Li-wen of Chinese Taipei, 9-7, in Group Nine.
Reyes will next face Badr Al Awadi of Kuwait, who beat Huidji See of Netherlands, 9-7. Bustamante will take on Abdullah Al Yousef, a 9-3 winner over Filipino Oliver Mendenilla.
Reyes and Bustamante are among the 16 players from the Philippines who are vying for the crown, a tournament-high.
A total of US$300,000 is at stake with the champion taking home US$40,000 and the runner-up US$20,000.
Other Filipinos who won their opening assignments were Joyme Vicente, who defeated Mohammad Ali Berjaoui of Lebanon, 9-4, in Group One and Ramil Gallego, who beat Sundeep Gulati of India, 9-6, in Group Two play and is set to face Tony Drago next.
Jundel Mazon downed Chris Melling of Great Britain, 9-7, in Group Three while Carlo Biado outclassed Rajandran Nair of Russia, 9-1, in Group Four. Roberto Gomez beat Takhti Zarekani of Iran, 9-6.
Also in the field are 2006 champion Ronnie Alcano, last year's world 8-ball champion Dennis Orcollo, Antonio Gabica, Lee Van Corteza, Marlon Caneda, Raymound Faraon, Joven Alba and Israel Rota.