Efren Bata Reyes the best billiard player in the Philippines
I must say I truly love living in the Philippines and I have had no better day then the day I got to meet the best billiard player in the Philippines and the world, Efren Bata Reyes. Since I had moved here 5 years ago I had never been a huge fan of billiards, however here it is like a national sport. I only discovered why as in many sports bars on their TV was this man Efren and reruns of him dominating every opponent he ever played. If I had to draw a comparison he is like the Manny Pacquiao of Billiards.
The best lunch date I have ever had
Somehow without knowing then of course I would get the very lucky chance to meet the superhero himself and it really did all happen by pot-luck. No pun intended. I had been playing a bit, learning the game and was playing with a friend in which I lent his misses a cue. Guess what? It ended up broken and it was her job to fix it. She searched online and asked around finding the guy who made custom cues and the cue for Efren. This was unknown when she mentioned where she dropped the stick to have it fixed.
I decided once I got my cue back that I might pop down there and check out the shop purely out of curiosity. Once I got there the passion of Bong the cue maker was unreal, so without much convincing I decided to order a custom cue. He asked me all sorts of questions that I had no idea of as I am far from a professional, just someone who likes playing the game. Anyways I was guided by him and it has turned out amazing. I will get to more about this shortly.
When life presents an opportunity never shy away!
Midway through the stick getting made I had asked in a quick follow up text, how it is all going? He replied with a picture sitting with Efren. I was sitting with my work team for some after-work drinks at that point and I showed them the picture of Efren to ask is this legit? They looked in shock and then said OMG! I could see the passion for their superhero in their eyes and I thought to myself as I had had a couple of beers I wonder if I could meet him?
So like you do, just think less and ask the question. Bong said sure if you want to take us out to lunch? I thought that sounded like a very good idea so that's what we did. The next day my wife and I headed over to a local Japanese restaurant and got the chance to sit with Efren and enjoy one of the best lunch dates I had ever had. I had not met ever met anyone that has dominated a sport like Efren did billiards so I was extremely nervous. Like palms sweaty and I was just thinking shit what do I say? Lucky for me Efren is much better at speaking Tagalog so he could not hear how nervous I was as my wife translated.
True champions all have the same quality!
From the chat, I really wanted to know mainly one thing as a former competitive sportsman at a reasonable level myself.
How when the whole world is watching do you handle the pressure?
His humble response was so straight and raw that without a few follow up questions on its own would not have been as powerful. Efren's response was...
I just hope I get lucky
Such a humble answer. When I had the chance to follow up with some more questions I asked him about his training. He trained harder than everyone else and as a result, he said he got luckier more often than not. Well, that was my translation I took away anyways. It was really amazing to have lunch which was stopped frequently by onlookers wanting to see the hero too. He is truly a champion as he took the time out to say hi to each and every one of them even halfway through a piece of sashimi hanging out of his mouth.
From the humble beginnings of the Philippines to a man that will go down in history as the best billiard player that ever lived
Amazing, Bong at the end of the meal had mentioned that he was making me a stick currently and asked if Efren would sign it, and he said YES. I am now hence the owner of what I now call the best billiard cue in the world hand-signed in my colours that I will pass on to my son here in the Philippines to remind him of what he can do no matter where he comes from like the superhero of the Philippines, Efren Bata Reyes