LOCAL pool officials turned to legends Efren “Bata” Reyes as they try to boost the morale of rising star Cheska Centeno ahead of the Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur.
The 18-year old pool player from Zamboanga City suffered a heartbreaking loss in the World Games in Poland last month in the buildup to her repeat bid in the SEA Games women’s 9-ball.
Centeno finished out of the medal spots, losing loss to Han Yu, 3-9, in the battle for bronze.
Reyes and Bustamante were present when she celebrated her birthday upon her return to Manila on June 30 and the two legends were also said to have led a team-building session.
“Nanghihinayang sila kay Cheska. Actually, nakalamang pa sya ng 7-5 sa Chinese na kalaban nya sa semis pero kinapos sa bandang huli,” said Billiard Sports Confederation of the Philippines (BSCP) secretary general Robert Mananquil.
“The veterans, Bata and Django, do not want it to happen again in the SEA Games. Kaya habang maaga pa, nag-open forum na sila at tinuruan nila ng maturity si Cheska kasi alam nila na malaki ang potential ng bata na manalo ng ginto.”
Carlo Biado won gold in the World Games and Mananquil expects him to assert his dominance over cue artists from Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore.
Also seeing action in the men’s 9-ball event is former Asian juniors champion Johann Cua while veterans Warren Kiamco and Dennis Orcollo will play in the men’s 9-ball doubles event.
Former SEA Games gold medalist Rubilen Amit will also play in the singles and with Centeno in the women’s 9-ball doubles event.
Reyes will see action in men’s English billiards singles before teaming up with Francisco Dela Cruz in the men’s English billiards doubles event.