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    With magical skills on the decline, legend Efren 'Bata' Reyes ponders retirement

    Jan 5, 2014
    Unlike before when no one wants to face him, more young players now want to play against him - which for Efren 'Bata' Reyes is a clear sign of how much his game has declined. Jerome Ascano

    EFREN ‘Bata’ Reyes is giving himself two more years before the Filipino pool legend calls it a career.

    Reyes admitted he's considering retiring from the game that has been very good to him now that he's already 59 years old, saying those amazing shots that made him popular in the world of billiards and earned him the monicker ‘The Magician,' are no longer what they used to be.

    “Malapit na,” said Reyes when asked by Spin.ph on Friday if retirement is already on the horizon.

    “Siguro mga dalawang taon pa,” the former double world champion continued.

    The charismatic Reyes, whose popularity reached its pinnacle when he won the 1999 World 9-Ball Championships, has not won a major world title since teaming up with fellow legend Francisco ‘Django’ Bustamante for the World Cup of Pool in 2009.

    “Hindi na kapareho ng dati ‘yung tira ko," Reyes said.

    The Angeles City native, however, is still very active in the international circuit as he is scheduled to compete this month in the Derby Classic events in the United States.

    Just last month, Reyes won a bronze medal in the carom event of the 2013 Southeast Asian Games in Myanmar.

    But Reyes was man enough to say he's no longer as invincible as before as he's now more prone to losing against younger opponents.

    Unlike before when no one wants to face him, more young players now want to play against him - which for Reyes is a clear sign of how much his game has declined.

    Continue reading below ↓

    "Marami na rin magagaling na mas bata, hinahabol na ako. Ngayon, gusto na nila ako makalaban,” said Reyes.

    Although he's now more vulnerable, Reyes remains glad that it is only now that the world is still catching up with Filipino players in terms of talent.

    “Pero ngayon palang sila pumaparehas,” he said.

    Still, the iconic pool figure continues to enjoy immense popularity.

    During the awarding of cash incentives by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) to all SEA Games medalists during the weekend, Reyes gamely posed for photo requests by fellow athletes, including the popular men’s basketball team.

    After retiring, Reyes said he plans to go into coaching, a task which he is now doing as one of the mentors of the women’s national billiards team that includes two-time world 10-ball titlist Rubilen Amit and Iris Ranola.

    “Mag-ko-coach na lang ako,” said Reyes.

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    Unlike before when no one wants to face him, more young players now want to play against him - which for Efren 'Bata' Reyes is a clear sign of how much his game has declined. Jerome Ascano
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