Pool Legends


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Biography of Efren Bata Reyes

Date of Birth: Thursday, 26 August 1954 | Born in: / Nationality: Philippines
Called “The Magician” for His Great Shots

The toothless pool player who came all the way from the Philippines has caught his opponents off-guard when he began a winning streak hustling in the United States disguised as Cesar Morales. His autograph eventually gave his identity away and from then on, he became an authority in the world of pool. Efren added a new dimension to what was once considered an American game. With his uncanny ability to pull off impossible shots, Efren has easily dominated the sports, frustrating even the most renowned billiard players.

A decade after his arrival in the United States, the table has been turned 190 degrees in favor of Efren as the Billiards Digest Magazine named him Player of the Year after he became the first non-American winner of the US Open Nine Ball Championship. As if that weren’t enough, he took home the largest single-winning purse in a pool event after defeating Earl Strickland in a three-day game scoring 120-117. One more title was then added to him as the Billiards Digest Magazine named him the best one-pocket player of all time. He also had the privilege to win the first televised WPA World 9-ball Championship. Unassuming and humble almost to a fault, Efren was a reluctant celebrity. He has graced covers of the most prestigious magazines and even made it to the list of TIME magazine’s 60 Asian Heroes along with late Philippine and Singapore presidents Corazon “Cory” Aquino and Lee Kwan Yew, respectively.
Efren earned his moniker, “The Magician,” because of his incredible ability to control the cue ball using unprecedented tricks and stunts. Watching Efren play is like watching a magician perform magic tricks, only that his audiences are grown men and large money is at stake. He wasn’t named player of the decade for nothing. Pool legends had no choice but to respect Efren and fear him despite his inconspicuous presence in the arena. Those who have seen him play know better not to fall for his beguiling meekness. Hard to believe but Efren is not doing it for show. Described by his opponents as the “humblest” player they have known, Efren is more than just an athlete. He is a role model for sportsmen and sportswomen of any discipline. For Efren who was once motivated to play by money, he’s seen enough fame and glory not to let fortune get the better of him.
The Making of a World-Class Pool Icon
Not unknown to many is Efren’s humble beginnings. Everyone sees it in the way he conducts himself—without an iota of bragging even after a magical shot. Efren is naturally a well-grounded person mainly due to the way he was brought up.
He was born in Mexico, Pampanga on 26 August 1954—the middle child among a brood of nine. His parents have four more daughters and four sons, making it impossible for his barber father to fend for the family. Since his parents had no way of sustaining all their children, Efren was taken by his father to Manila, the capital of the Philippines. He was only five years old when he was left to the care of an uncle who owned a pool hall named Lucky 13.
Efren literally grew up in the pool hall and slept on pool tables. Initially, billiards did not strike him as something interesting. However, upon observing that playing pool involves money, Efren began closely studying the game. Even before he began physically playing, Efren has mastered the game in his young mind. At night, he would sleep on his “pool” bed dreaming of endless moves and tricks he had seen other players do. When he turned eight, he began messing with the cue stick. His uncle wasn’t very happy about his interest in pool as it distracted him from school and his duties in the hall. But Efren was unstoppable. He would play in the morning before everyone else is up and at night just before he goes to bed.
Too small to reach the table, Efren would play standing atop empty Coca-Cola crates. He used to stand on two crates when he began playing. But what he lacked in height, he compensated with audacity and determination. Efren was an eager student and he took every opportunity to play even if that meant having to skip school. This became the bone of contention in his uncle’s home. They were not so keen on having Efren play because they wanted him to focus on his studies. As there was another Efren who played in Lucky 13, Efren was called “Bata” to tell them apart. From then on, he would be known to every Filipino as Efren “Bata” Reyes even though he is now a man nearing his sixties.
There, however, wasn’t any money at school so Efren, with his troops, would go from one pool hall to another challenging anyone for a game. Sometimes they’d win big time and other times, they’d pick a fight instead because their opponents wouldn’t want to release the money, furious at being beaten by a teenager. It came to a point when Efren became too distracted by pool to focus on his studies. He then decided to just quit school altogether so he could play full time and send money back home.
Efren beat one player after another and soon ran out of opponents. Not being able to earn out of hustling anymore, he decided to work for a comic printing press. He earned a meager salary of 90 pesos a month, which was hardly enough to support his family back in Pampanga. After working there for a year, Efren decided to go back to pool, thinking there’s no other way for him to earn money apart from hustling.
It did not take long before his reputation as the best player in the world spread in Manila. When a book author came to the Philippines scouting for the best player around, he was led by fate to Efren. That did not thrill Efren though as it spoiled his plans of going to the United States as an amateur player. No longer an unknown personality in pool, Efren still pushed through with his plan of going to the US and play albeit not as Efren Reyes but as Cesar Morales. Cesar Morales is actually one of his friends back home. Unaware that they were playing against the most distinguished pool player in the Philippines, his opponents got defeated one by one.
His first agent then was a Filipino businessman named Nonie Ortega. It was believed that Efren earned over 10,000 dollars in his first US hustling adventure. Unfortunately, Nonie took off with his winnings and accused Efren of still owing him some money for food and other expenses he incurred during his stay in the US.
He went back home but did not lose heart. Efren has seen how other pool athletes have played and he knew that he stood a chance. He was confident that he’d be able to beat them. Another Filipino agent duped Efren before he found a decent one who is ironically American.

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Product description
This t-shirt is everything you've dreamed of and more.
It feels soft and lightweight, with the right amount of stretch.
It's comfortable and flattering for both men and women.
• 100% combed and ring-spun cotton (heather colors contain polyester)
• Fabric weight: 4.2 oz (142 g/m2)
• Shoulder-to-shoulder taping
• Side-seamed

Size guide

Length (inches) 2829303132
Width (inches) 1820222426
Length (cm) 7174767981
Width (cm) 4651566166

Estimated shipping delivery times:

USA: 3-5 business days
Canada: 5-10 business days
World: 10-20 business days
Within Europe 5-10 business days

Your order will be sent out on average within 3-5 days of ordering.