EFREN “Bata” Reyes and Francisco “Django” Bustamante will not compete in the 2015 World Pool-Billiards Association (WPA) World 9-Ball Championship in Doha.
Eight Filipinos led by Southeast Asian Games gold medalists Dennis Orcollo, Carlo Biado, and Warren Kiamco made it to the main draw this year’s world competition that opened on Monday and will run until Sept. 18.
Noticeably missing from the list though are Reyes and Bustamante, who won the tournament in 1999 and 2010 respectively.
The absence of Reyes and Bustamante is a dampener for the event, with a good number of Qatar-based Filipinos expected to watch the competiton featuring 128 players.
“There will certainly be a bit of electricity missing without these two,” wrote the WPA on its Facebook account. “Whenever Efren played these past years, hordes of Filipino overseas workers in Qatar, starved for a taste of home, poured out enmasse to cheer on their hero and legend ‘Bata.’
“We don't know the reason why, only that perhaps they had some sort of commercial commitment back home,” the WPA added.
Left to carry the flag are Orcollo, Biado, and Kiamco, who won gold in last June’s SEA Games in Singapore. Orcollo topped the 9-ball singles competition while Biado and Kiamco won the doubles 9-ball event.
Other Filipinos in the main draw are Johann Chua, Lee Van Corteza, and Raymund Faraon. Antonio Gabica and Amir Rota are actually the two Pinoys in the tournament but they are now based in Qatar.