Efren ‘Bata’ Reyes is alive and well

Published January 16, 2021, 12:43 PM

by Waylon Galvez

efren bata reyes
Efren “Bata” Reyes of Philippines gestures and smiles during his match in men’s carom (1-cushion) semifinal at the Tent City of Manila Hotel in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games last December. (MB File Photo / Ali Vicoy)

Filipino pool legend Efren “Bata” Reyes is alive and well.

He isn’t dead.

The 66-year-old world champion had a good laugh about the “fake news” of his death when his daughter Chelo Reyes posted on Facebook a video of the pool artist known as the “Magician”.

“Okay lang ako,” Reyes, who was all smiles and in his cheerful personality, said on the video post while watching the NBA game between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Dallas Mavericks.

The video was posted on Saturday while Reyes was with family in Angeles City, Pampanga on Saturday morning.

According to Chelo Reyes, she and her two siblings – Frennis and Rose – and their mother Susan were surprised about the news, but their father took it humorously as “Bata” is known to deliver witty punch lines.

“Mas nauna pa daw nakaalam ang Facebook kesa sa kanya at sa amin tungkol sa balita na yun,” Chelo Reyes said in a message to Manila Bulletin.

“Nung nasabi ko sa kanya yun, I’m not sure po kung first time niya narinig yung about sa fake news. May mga tumatawag na kasi prior to confirm.”

While the world champion took in a funny way, Chelo Reyes said family members had a different view on such news – particularly if it’s “fake” – since it isn’t a good one to hear or read.

Although they have no idea who posted it and why, she said things will likely come back to hunt the culprits.

“Nainis po at nagulat po talaga, though alam naman namin kung ano ang totoo,” she said.

“Sa nag post or kung sino man may gawa nun, karma na lang siguro at ipagpa-sa Diyos na lang siya/sila. Kaya nag-post na lang din po ako to confirm na OK talaga siya,” she added.

Reyes has endeared himself to millions of Filipinos and pool fanatics around the world with his easy going personality. He has won numerous local and international tournaments – the biggest of which were the eight-ball (2004) and nine-ball (1999) world titles.

His popularity transcended even on the field of entertainment as he appeared on the hit movie Pakners with the late Fernando Poe Jr.

Reyes also represented the country as a member of the national team, winning a bronze medal in the 2002 Busan Asian Games, and has been an inspiration to some of the younger pool players.

One of them is Rubilen Amit, a two-time ten-ball world champion.

When news broke out about Reyes, Amit said she quickly reached out to the family for confirmation, and when she learned it was a hoax, she felt bad and disappointed to those who spread the news.

“Mga walang magawa e,” said the 39-year-old Amit, a many-time gold medalist in the Southeast Asian Games. “Ang dami ding nagtatanong sa akin about the fake news kaya… talagang mga salbahe ang gumawa.”