‘Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk | 2 Aug 2020 2:48 AM
Efren Manalang Reyes, (born August 26, 1954) popularly known as ‘The Magician’ is a Filipino professional pool player. A winner of over 70 international titles, Reyes is the first man in history to win World Championships in two different disciplines.
Besides his World titles he is also a 14-time Derby City Classic champion, a two-time World Cup champion, and a two-time World Pool League champion. By defeating Earl Strickland in the inaugural Color of Money event in 1996, Reyes took home the largest single event purse in pool history. Many analysts, fans, and current and former players consider Reyes to be the greatest pool player of all time.
Among his numerous titles Reyes is a four-time World Eight-ball Champion, the 1999 WPA World Nine-ball Champion, a two-time World Cup champion, a three-time US Open winner, a two-time World Pool League winner and a 13-time Derby City Classic winner – including an unprecedented five Master of the Table crowns. Reyes was born in Angeles in the Philippines in 1954.
He moved to Manila with his family at the age of 4–5. In Manila, he worked as a billiards attendant at his uncle’s billiards hall, where he started learning the various cue sports. Because he was not tall enough to reach the pool table, he played while standing on Coca-Cola cases that he moved around. At night, while he was dreaming of playing pool, the pool table was his bed.
The first big break of Efren Reyes came when he defeated Pepito Dancer with a 39-32 score on the seventh week of the Philippine Professional Pocket Billiards Championships in 1983. Shortly after, he went to the United States to start his hustling career and to get international recognition. After winning several big-shot tournaments in the US, Europe, and his homeland, Reyes established himself as one of the best players of Philippines in the 1990s.
He became the first non-American to win the US Open Nine Ball Championship after he defeated Nick Varner in 1994. Reyes then created a solid media buzz after he was chosen to face Earl Strickland in the inaugural ‘Colour of Money’ match in 1996. He won the match by a score of 120-117 and bagged a $100,000 single-winning pool purse. Reyes then became the first-ever pool player to win the WPA World Nine-ball Championship after it started broadcasting it on television in 1999.