EARL ‘The Pearl’ Strickland drew first blood in the match-up with Efren ‘Bata’ Reyes, beating the Filipino legend, 17-11, in the 8-ball event of ‘The Battle of the Legends’ in Astoria, New York on Tuesday (Wednesday Manila time).
Strickland closed out strong, winning seven of the final eight racks to secure the victory in his first one-on-one match-up with Reyes in 13 years.
Strickland and Reyes will battle again in 9-ball in the penultimate day of the event on Wednesday before wrapping up with the 10-ball competition the following day.
The long-time rivals are battling for the $100,000 top prize.
According to a report by American billiards player and coach Joe Tucker, the American won despite losing a 5-0 lead after Reyes was able to tie the match at 7-7.
Strickland had lost two prior head-to-head match-ups with Reyes starting with the marathon ‘Color of Money’ where the Filipino beat the American, 120-117.
Reyes also won the second edition of the ‘Color of Money’ in 2001.