FORMER world No. 1 Efren `Bata’ Reyes joined 12 other Filipinos who barged into the knockout phase of the World 9-Ball Championship in Doha, Qatar Wednesday.
Reyes beat Jeong Young H of Korea, 9-4, in Group 1 to advance in the round-of-64.
Unfortunately, Reyes’ close pal and former world champion Francisco `Django’ Bustamante fell by the wayside and lost to Thorsten Hohmann of Germany, 6-9, in Group 11.
“I grew up playing against him,” Hohmann said of Bustamante, who was once based in Germany. “He was like a pool god then. I’ve beaten him in many important matches. He has a lot of respect for me and that only makes me play better when I play against him. That gives me confidence. And I have a lot of respect for him.”
Left to carry the fight for the Philippines together with Reyes are one-time world title holder Dennis Orcollo, Antonio Gabica, Marlon Caneda, and Israel Rota, who all advanced via the winners’ bracket.
Marlon Manalo also gained berth in the knockout stage with a 9-4 win over Sniegocki Mateusz of Poland, 9-4, in Group 2, while Mark Antony beat Marc Claramunt of Spain, 9-7, in Group 4.
Carlo Biado, meanwhile, made it in the next phase with a 9-7 win over Jasson Klatt of Canada in Group Six, ditto with Jeff De Luna and Ramil Gallego in Group 8.
De Luna upended Philip Reilly of Australia, 9-5, while Gallego defeated Radoslaw Babica of Poland, 9-6.
Other Filipinos who advanced were Raymund Faraon, who edged out Li Hewen of China, 9-7, and Lee Vann Corteza, a 9-5 winner over Salah Al Rimawi of Kuwait.
Alex Pagulayan, a Filipino who’s representing Canada in the tournament, also made it via a 9-3 win over Han Hao Xiang of China.