Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Filipino Pool Player Efren Bata Reyes on Time Magazine!

Time Magazine Image

Here is a read on Filipino pool player Efren Bata Reyes, aka The Magician, from Time Magazine’s November 13, 2006 issue – “60 Years of Asian Heroes”. Time Magazine’s special anniversary issue pays tribute to the remarkable men and women who have shaped these times. It’s an interesting read, friends! And I kid you not!

And without further ado, here is the article in its entirety. Enjoy!

Efren Reyes

Pool isn’t merely a beer-hall amusement

– it’s a path to the top

by Bob Guerrero

Efren Bata Reyes Image

Crime, entertainment or professional sport are the more traditional paths followed by those seeking an escape from poverty. Thankfully for the Philippines and the game of pool, Efren Reyes opted for the third of these routes. It might not have been the case – growing up dirt poor in Angeles City, Pampanga, presents a man with countless ways to go awry. But Reyes possessed so miraculous a talent that nothing, ultimately, could deviate him from his true calling.

At the age of nine, Reyes began hustling for pesos at a pool hall owned by his uncle. Forty-two years later, he would collect the richest prize the game had ever seen - $500,000 in the International Pool Tour (IPT) World 8 Ball Championship in Reno, Nevada, which Reyes won in September. Connecting those two events is a career trajectory that moves in only one direction: up. Reyes has won almost every major title, leveraging a repertoire of creative shots that is as legendary as his genial temperament. Humble, soft-spoken and flashing a toothless smile, he is beloved even by his rivals: in a poll during the last World Pool Championship, over half of the competitors named his as their favorite player. But he is especially idolized by impoverished Filipinos, to whom he is still Bata, or “The Kid,” and the embodiment of their aspirations. They know, too, that he has shared his winnings with needy friends and relatives.

These qualities have earned Reyes the kind of adulation normally reserved for film stars. He has even featured in advertising campaigns by the likes of McDonald’s and San Miguel Beer. But if there’s one thing the man has been advertising since the day he first picked up a cue, it’s this: the odds-defying ability of a poor Pinoy to parlay hard work, skill and guile into fame, fortune and respect.

Time Magazine Graphic
Jowana Balana Bueser of Laguna, Philippines.

As a young Filipina who has been seeking real heroes for a long time, I could not have been more delighted when I saw four of my countrymen in TIME's "60 Years of Asian Heroes" [Nov. 13]. We have had heroes and will have more, despite the political and economic quagmire in the Philippines. It's true that Corazon Aquino did not have an amazing presidential term, but People Power continues to inspire the world. Journalists Eugenia Apostol and Letty Jimenez-Magsanoc feed the populace with balanced news and fearless views. Pool champion Efren Reyes is always a breath of fresh air. While showing off seems to be the mantra of most sports superstars, Reyes remains humble despite his legendary status. These four heroes serve not only as inspiration but also warnings. Would-be dictators, irresponsible journalists and show-off athletes should be scared because they will only lose in the end. - Jowana Balana Bueser

"THE KID: Efren Reyes' ability made him unstoppable;

his character made him beloved."

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Anonymous said...

Thanks for putting this up! Very much appreciated!

THE ANiTOKiD said...

You're welcome!


kegler747 said...

Here she goes again... the problem of blogging by Malu Fernandez

The Purple Phoenix said...


I just saw this entry when I googled my name. (Secret's out: I do google my name.)

I'm Jowana Bueser. He. He. Like millions of Filipinos, I'm a big Bata Reyes fan. I think he a better role model than a certain boxing superstar :)

THE ANiTOKiD said...

Welcome! Hope to see you around, my friend!


THE ANiTOKiD said...

And before I forget - that was a nice letter you sent to Time Magazine, kabayan!

And I kid you not!


It's always a runout at The Runout TV!