POOL legend Efren ‘Bata’ Reyes has warned that other Southeast Asian countries are beginning to catch up with the world-class Philippine billiards players.
Reyes, in Myanmar for the carom event and to serve as coach of the women’s team, fired the warning after getting a glimpse of the competition that the Filipinos face in the SEA Games.
“Puwede na sila sa mga world competition,” said Reyes in an interview with DZSR Sports Radio.
As of posting time, the Philippines has posted two gold medals in the billiards competitions courtesy of Dennis Orcollo and Rubilen Amit in the 10-ball event.
Reyes, dubbed as ‘The Magician’ in the pool circuit, couldn’t even win the gold in Myanmar, settling for the bronze in carom.
The 1999 world 9-ball champion insisted the Philippines is still the best in the region but warned that Southeast Asian countries have bridged the gap significantly.
“Tayo naman ang number one dito kaya lang marami na ang nag-improve. Kapag nakikita mo sila tumira ngayon, hindi sila ganyan tumira noon,” said Reyes.
One of the top threats to the Philippines, Reyes said, is Thailand, for so long a world power in snooker which is now beginning to produce impressive pool players.