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07-19-2019, 09:37 AM

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Originally Posted by bbb View Post
Shorty was born in 1916 ...
According to Shorty's Hall of Fame biography on the BCA site, he was born in 1929. Does that need to be corrected?


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07-19-2019, 10:25 AM

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Originally Posted by pt109 View Post
Efren won the consolation tournament in a world tournament ,,,Chicago...early 90s?
.....they said he played 3-cushion like a pool player
Next week he won a 9-ball tournament....
...they said he played 9-ball like a 3-cushion player

Vaguely recalled from Billiards Digest....anyone remember more details?
I don't know about that, but Blomdahl beat him in both 3C and 9-ball.
  
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07-19-2019, 10:39 AM

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Originally Posted by pt109 View Post
Efren won the consolation tournament in a world tournament ... Vaguely recalled from Billiards Digest....anyone remember more details?
Google is your friend. So was the discussion group RSB (rec.sport.billiard) until a psychopath destroyed it.

The following was posted by Ted C. Gonzales to RSB on March 13th, 1996. Copied here without permission and I hope Panozzo doesn't sue me. But let me put in a plug for Billiards Digest. It is now the magazine of record for pool in the US. If the history of the game is important to you, you should subscribe. http://billiardsdigest.com it doesn't cost much compared to the other ways you waste your money.

***************************************

On the cover of the Feb 96 issue of Billiards Digest is a picture of
the unassuming Efren "The Magician" Reyes garbed as, what else, a
magician! There is a lengthy article on this Billiards legend, so
I suggest to buy your own copy. But I enjoyed it so much I thought
I'd post it anyway even though somebody else might have already done
so in the past. Coincidentally, a second article on The Magician
appears in this month's Filipinas magazine. FYI, Barnes & Nobles
carries Filipinas magazine.

HIS OWN MAGICAL TOUR
by Mike Panozzo

One can almost imagine the thoughts that ran through tournament director
Scott Smith's mind at Red's 9-Ball Open in Houston nearly 11 years ago
when a skinny foreigner with a scraggly mustache and a shortage of teeth
penciled in the name "Cesar Morales" and plunked down his entry fee.

"I thought he was just a local kid, from the 'Little Mexico' area of
Houston," remembers Smith.

Few people paid much attention when the quiet invader bought himself in
the pre-tournament calcutta for $75, and even fewer bothered to wander
back to the table in the most obscure corner of the massive night
club/poolroom to witness his opening-round match -- Morales vs Johnson.

With his cover as "Cesar Morales" long since blown, Philippine supercueman
and 1995 Billiards Digest Player of the Year Efren Reyes, sipping from a
Heineken in the lounge of the Adam's Mark hotel in Winston-Salem, N.C.,
breaks into one of his squinty-eyed, tight-lipped smiles. Ha laughed at
the recollection, barely able to speak. "They put me on a table in the
back of the room," he says, laughing again. "They think I can't play!"

Mr. Johnson, holding the doughnet end of a 10-0 score, probably could
have warned a few players about the mysterious Morales. He chose instead
to depart the premises, not even bothering to show up for his loser's
bracket match.

(continued in the next post)


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07-19-2019, 10:42 AM

(part 2)

Next up in Houston was in Oklahoma's David Matlock-then considered one of
the top five bar-table players in the country. Unimpressed, Reyes (Morales)
dismantled the powerful lefthander, 10-2.

By the fourth round of the 96-player tournament, the buzz was starting
to build. Reyes' exaggerated, roller-coaster stroke, merciless safeties,
accurate jump shots and mind-bending kick shots (which earned him his
long-standing moniker, "The Magician") had sweators and pros alike
confounded. Who was this Morales? Where did he come from? And how did
he learn all those wild shots?

Intrigue gave way to fervent nationalism as Reyes approached the title
match against road warrior-turned tournament-player Wade Crane (who also
entered the tournament under an alias: Billy Johnson). Nearly 1,000
Texans jammed the bi-level club, and chants of "U.S.A., U.S.A." echoed
through the arena. Reyes rode in with his own posse, about 20 strong,
who added to the circus atmosphere with chants of "Manila, Manila,"
and the then-popular "Where's da beef?" after each Reyes conquest. The
only hitch in Reyes' stroke came after the final match, when he signed
a few autographs "Efren Reyes," revealing his true identity.

The significance of this recollection is not so much the fact that then-
29-year-old Reyes won the $10,500 top prize in his first U.S. pro
tournament. The event's importance is measured by the impact Reyes'
appearance and success had on the men's professional 9-ball scene. Never
before had the crop of American 9-ballers seen the likes of Reyes. So
astonished and offended was then-Texan Earl Strickland (who finished
third, just missing a shot at Reyes), that he challenged all players-
himself included-to turn up their games a notch to protect America's
dominance in pocket billiards.

But as suddenly as Manila's mystery man had arrived, he disappeared,
returning to his native Philippines. For the next four months Reyes
was the topic of virtually every pool-related discussion. His much-
anticipated midsummer return to the U.S. spurred a mini tournament
revival. Reyes was the rage of the American pool scene. Crowds were

always largest whenever Reyes played. And he rarely disappointed.
After years of playing nothing but rotation money matches in the
Philippines, Reyes quickly adapted to the rigors of tournament 9-ball.
He posted several top-10 finished, and a few memorable performances.

Perhaps the most revealing display of Reyes' immense talent came
during a 10-day stretch in August of that year. Reyes had severed
relations with his first backer, Philippine businessman Nonie Ortega,
and was staying in Chicago with insurance broker Phillip Estrada, whom
he had befriended in Houston. After finishing seventh at the Busch
9-Ball Open pro tour event in nearby Moline, Ill., Reyes returned to
Chicago and decided to enter the Billiards Digest 3-Cushion Championship.
Forget that Reyes had never competed in a carom tournament. The '85
three-cushio classic attracted 42 players from 13 countries, including
19-time world champion Raymond Ceulemans of Belgium, future world
champ Torbjorn Blomdahl of Sweden, France's Richard Bitalis and
Argentina's Luis Doyharzabal.

Undeterred, Reyes strolled into Chris's Billiards, limbered up with
a few racks of rotation, averaged .836 and posted a creditable 4-2
record in the preliminary round-barely missing a spot in the 12-man
final-round bracket. Reyes did, however, qualify for the 12-man
consolation bracket. There, he caromed his way to a Ceulemans-like
1.30 average (including a 40-19 win in just 20 innings), and won the
$1,000 top prize.

And just how did the versatile Filipino celebrate? He raced across
town to enter a rapid-fire, one-day 9-ball tournament that featured
some of the Midwest's top talent (including Jeff Carter, Dallas West,
Jimmy Mataya and Mark Wilson). Naturally, Reyes rolled unbeated
through the 49-player field to earn an additional $1,300!


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07-19-2019, 10:43 AM

(part 3 of 3)

Reyes went on to win two more major 9-ball titles in '85, posted the
year's highest winning percentage (.785) and tallied the most .900-
plus AccuStats Total Performance Average matches (20).

More than anything, Reyes singlehandedly jump-started a professional
sports tour. Any tournament he entered was more exciting. And players
became students. An inordinately large number of fellow pros could
usually be seen watching Reyes' matches, analyzing his patters and
studying his kicking, jumping and safety skills.

"His style was so drastically different," remembers two-time Billiards
Digest Player of the Year Nick Varner. "He attracted a lot of attention.
And he had a big impact on the way we played the game. He created an
awareness about kicking. We generally tried to hide. He made the
shots. He taught us that just because you're snookered, you don't have
to lose the game."

"When he first came here, I used to laugh when he kicked at balls," adds
recently retired Mike Sigel, who was the game's dominant player in the
mid-'80s and the player Reyes admits was the American he most enjoyed
playing. "I thought no one could do that accurately and consistently.
We just guessed when he kicked. But he knew what he was doing. And I
never realized how important that was until I studied his game.

"He was also pretty intimidating then," Sigel continues, figuratively
no doubt, given Reyes' 5-foot-7, 135-pound frame. "You couldn't
communicate with him, because he didn't speak English then. And his
stroke and style were so different that they scared opponents. I
know I wasn't crazy about playing him. And I think he beat me the
last four or five times we played."

Between visa limitations and homesickness, Reyes played in the U.S.
only sporadically the next two years - usually playing from February
to June, then returning to his home in Angeles City to be with his
parents and his two children. In '86 he played in just four tournaments,
winning his fourth pro title at the Sands Regency Open. In '87, Reyes
again played in the U.S. for only six months. Still, he made the final
four in three of the year-s four biggest tournaments and closed the
year ranked fifth by the Men's Professional Billiards Association.

Like clockwork, Reyes was back again to start the '88 calendar year.
And in May he grabbed his fifth major 9-ball title, topping Sigel in
the final of the McDermott Masters in Troy, Mich. But posing for
post-event trophy photos in the Troy Hilton ballroom, tuxedo-clad
and champion's check in hand, Reyes could not possibly have anticipated
the winless streak on which he was about to embark.

Over the next six years, Reyes would reach the championship match in no
fewer than eight major 9-ball tournaments. Each time, Reyes would leave
town a disheartened runner-up. (Granted, from '88-'92 he entered five
or fewer tournaments per year.) Twice ('93 and '94) his final-match
losses came at the PBT World 9-Ball Championship - the title Reyes
covets more than any other. Another was in the largest, riches
professional tournament in the history of the sport, the '92 International
9-Ball Classic (435 players $40,000 top prize). His record in television
matches: a dismal 4-8. Hardly a record befitting a player nonetheless
considered by many to be the best pool player in the world.

"Efren always seemed to have trouble with the 9-ball break," says
Varner. "It was inconsistent. Everyone knows that to wn one of the
big 9-ball tournaments, your break has to be going well. Efren would
get to the last or three matches, and then the inconsistency would catch
up to him. When you reach the finals and you're playing Johnny Archer
or Earl Strickland, your break better be working or you're going to be
in for a long match.

"Then, after it happened a few times, the psychological problem of
trying to get the monkey off your back seemed to affect him."

Reyes agrees.

"For a long time, I am not lucky in the final," he says, in vastly
improved but still somewhat broken English. "I don't make balls on
the break. But mostly, there was always been a lot of pressure for
me to win. Everyone in the Philippines expects me to win. They
think I should never lose a match. It is very difficult to play
like this. I want to win too much."

Reyes wasn't the first Filipino to test American pockets. Jose Parica
had preceded Reyes to the land of opportunity, but the tiny, big-hearted
money player had neither the style nor immediate impact that this
younger countryman possessed. And in the Philippines, the difference
was even greater. While Parica and Reyes were competitively close,
Reyes (called "Bata," meaning "Kid" in the native Tagalog dialect) was
the player all the Filipinos looked up to. From the time he was 15,
Reyes had been earning a living for he and his family in poolrooms
on the poverty-stricken, over-populated Southeast Asia island. It
wasn't until Reyes came to the U.S. that others from the seemingly
endless ranks of Philippine cue stars followed - Rodolfo Luat, Francisco
Bustamante, Leonardo Andam, Antonio Lining, Santos Sambajon, et al.
So revered and respected is Reyes in the Philippines that if he decided
to quit the Pro Tour in the U.S., it would be some time before we saw
another Filipino player back on American soil. In the Philippine press,
Reyes is a genuine sports hero.

It was Reyes' potential as a world champion and his standing as an idol
of the Filipino players that convinced Jose "Popit" Puyat, owner of
four AMF-Puyat bowling and billiard centers and several construction
concerns in Manila, to sponsor the entire Filipino contingent for pro
events.

With Reyes deflecting most of the pressure and providing a calming
effect for his countrymen, Bustamante, Andam and Luat have all blossomed.
Bustamante and Andam each have a PBT title to their credit, and Luat
finished second to Archer at the PBT World 9-Ball Championship in
Winston-Salem.

All of which plays a role in the enormous pressure Reyes places upon
himself. It's as if he's been trying to carry the weight of the
Philippine Islands on his square shoulders. Despite his title
shortcomings, however, it was generally agreed that when Reyes did break
the drought, the floodgates would well be opened.

That day came Sept. 25, 1994, at the Holiday Inn in Chesapeake, Va.
Playing in the title match of the most prestigious American tournament -
the U.S. Open 9-Ball Championship - with ESPN cameras documenting his
every shot, Reyes shot down Varner, 9-6.

"Winning the U.S. Open changed everything," Reyes says, without
hesitation. "I knew that I had to wn just one big tournament, and then
winning again would be easier. After that, I knew I could win again."

No kidding!

Reyes closed out '94 with another title, the Bicycle Club Invitational
in Bell Gardens, Calif., then set his sights on '95. With the Pro Tour
basically on hold until June, Reyes spent the first five months in
Manila.

"This year, I wanted to see how many tournaments I could win," Reyes
admits. "Before, I wasn't practicing at home. This year I played a
lot with Antonio Lining. Then I came here for a long time. I tried
to prove that if I stayed here all year, I could win."

Reyes, who has always benefitted from constant action, seemed to
thrive on the short season. He quickly grabbed titles at the Sands
Regency and Bicycle Club tournaments in June. Mr. Versatility went
a step further in August and September, winning the PBT World 8-Ball
Championship and Maine 14.1 Championship, respectively. He went on
to win the Pro Tour Championship in Owensboro, finish second in the
U.S. Open, third in Lexington, and fifth at the world championship
in Winston-Salem.

For his efforts, Reyes earned the Pro Tour's No. 1 ranking and held it
until the world championship, where he was overtaken by winner Archer
(by a measly 15 points) for the year-ending Pro Tour points crown.
He earned $57,135, second only to Archer's $68,200, despite missing
the Tour's first two stops in '95. (Simply showing up for one of those
events would have earned Reyes the 25 points needed to win the Pro
Tour points title.)

"Next year I have only two goals," says Reyes, "I want to win the
World 9-Ball Championship, and I want to be No. 1 at the end of the
year."

"He has the drive again," Sigel notices. "And it's his time. He
has the dedication to practice, and he's constantly learning.

"He has such tremendous knowledge, as much as anyone I've ever seen.
That's why he'll last a long time in this game. I consider myself
pretty knowledgeable, but I learned a lot about moving, and kicking
and breaking out balls from watching Efren. And when he has to
switch hands, he plays better lefthanded than anyone I've ever seen."

Reyes' penchant for picking up games quickly and incorporating
newfound knowledge into all of his games is almost legendary. Stories
abound about Reyes learning to play one-pocket and almost immediately
winning a tournament. Likewise with English billiards.

"In 1987, I went to Singapore to learn the rules," he remembers, again
laughing. "The Philippines team was going to play a tournament in
Jakarta. I was picked to play English billiards, 3-cushion and snooker.
I played the best player in Singapore for two days to learn the moves.
Then I went to Jakarta and wo the English billiards and snooker
competitions.

"I have a natural intelligence to understand things," Reyes adds.
(Hmp, yabang!)

Reyes simply loves a challenge. And the more cerebral, the better.
He routinely beats the computer playing chess, pummels his countrymen
at cards, and averages well over 100 in duck pin bowling.

"He's also the world's greatest karaoke singer," kids Mike LeBron,
with whom Reyes has stayed and travelled when in America since '87.
"After Efren won at the Bicycle Club, we had a victory party. He sang
all night. And when he sings, his English is perfect."

"I like to sing," Reyes laughs. "I sang, "The Way We Were,' "Only You,'
'I Can't Stop Loving You.' I'm a good singer!"

That's the side of Reyes few take the time to know, which is a pity.
Perhaps intimidated by the language barrier, or Reyes' generally
quiet demeanor, few players and/or fans spend enough time with the
41-year old champion to really get to know him. But among his friends,
Reyes is characterized as funny and outgoing.

"Not only is he the best player in the world," insists LeBron, "but
he's a good person with a great heart. The others all look up to
him. He never argues. He never fights. He never talks bad about
anyone. And he's one of the most generous people I know. The maid
will come in to clean our room, and Efren will just hand her $10 or
$20. He doesn't do it for show. He probably wouldn't even want me
telling someone he did that. But that's just the way he is."

Reyes simply smiles and blushes a bit at his friend's compliments.
Maybe that's why so many fans were so happy to see Reyes have the
kind of year in '95 they always knew he could have. He hasn't an
enemy on the Tour, which makes him unique among players, and seems
immune to the political infighting that has plagued the pool world.
He is a joy to watch play, accepting winning and losing with the
same humble shrug-of-the-shoulders.

And while he may not offer the dramatic flare of a Strickland, the
rugged good looks of a C.J. Wiley, or the polished camera presence
of a Johnny Archer, Reyes still may be the Tour's most marketable
property. There's something about a reticent, yet completely
likeable invader from another land (who happens to possess other-
worldly talent) that adds a valuable degree of mystery and intrigue
to the sport.

Regardless of what the future holds, the Magician's mystery tour
has already one of pool's most memorable stories. And with a couple
waves of his magic wand, there could well be a few astonishing
chapters to add to Efren Reyes' growing legend.

-end of article-

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07-19-2019, 01:04 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Jewett View Post
According to Shorty's Hall of Fame biography on the BCA site, he was born in 1929. Does that need to be corrected?
Actually, 1929 sounds about right to me, but I won't say I know for sure.
  
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07-19-2019, 07:19 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by bbb View Post
Thanks for the link
Really enjoyed it
I gave you recognition and posted the link at one pocket.org
I hope that was ok
Thanks for the recognition and posting the link. Please spread the magic!
  
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07-20-2019, 04:14 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Jewett View Post
According to Shorty's Hall of Fame biography on the BCA site, he was born in 1929. Does that need to be corrected?
1916 is not correct
i will edit my original post
  
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Efren... a life story....
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Efren... a life story.... - 07-20-2019, 12:03 PM

A book, a movie.....

I'm in!

td

p.s. Thanks for sharing that story Bob.

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07-21-2019, 07:38 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Jewett View Post
(part 3 of 3)

Reyes' penchant for picking up games quickly and incorporating
newfound knowledge into all of his games is almost legendary. Stories
abound about Reyes learning to play one-pocket and almost immediately
winning a tournament. Likewise with English billiards.

"In 1987, I went to Singapore to learn the rules," he remembers, again
laughing. "The Philippines team was going to play a tournament in
Jakarta. I was picked to play English billiards, 3-cushion and snooker.
I played the best player in Singapore for two days to learn the moves.
Then I went to Jakarta and wo the English billiards and snooker
competitions.

"I have a natural intelligence to understand things," Reyes adds.
(Hmp, yabang!)
I can share an anecdote for this, which was told to me by my friend's dad who was part of the team hosting efren. However, this was over 10 years ago so i've omitted the stuff that dont remember fully, and I apologise in advance if i get some of the details wrong. but this is pretty much the gist of it..

The context is that this was to be the first South East Asian Games to include billiard games. However, not everyone in Asia played the same games and the compromise was they would include pool but the philippines would have to learn the english games as well.

so while in singapore efren was being taught the rules of the game and some basic play. he was flummoxed and amused in equal measure cos the table was huge and the snooker cues were so tiny. eventually efren asked my fren's dad who were the good players to play in singapore and whether he could arrange some sparring matches. he said that would put up US$100 per game. seeing how clueless efren was during the session, my fren's dad advised him against it, saying they would wipe him clean. efren laughed and said its ok, my association gave me $1000 for training purposes, just let me play with them.

seeing that he couldnt talk efren out of it, he proceeded to set him up. it got a bit of interest from the community of top billiards/snooker players and several of them showed up at the venue. they were so amused to see this stranger playing a game unfamiliar to him for big money... and a pool cue... and as to be expected, efren lost all of it.

my fren's dad checked in on efren, who was surprisingly cool about his losses. puzzled, he asked why did he bet so much when he knew he could not win. efren replied that if he did not put up the money, these guys will never play seriously and there was no way he could learn their tricks.

when the games came around, efren scored the upsets, and the higher ups in singapore were furious and an inquiry was held, as singapore was one of the favourites in billiards. my fren's dad shrugged and simply said that there was no way they could legislate for the fact that the guy is a genius.

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07-21-2019, 07:55 AM

^^^^^
Great story
Thanks
  
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Agree - 07-21-2019, 08:06 AM

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This is why jump cues should be banned. Skill should matter.
I agree watching the top players kick brings more to the game and requires much more thought.
  
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07-21-2019, 09:31 AM

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Shorty was born in i do not know for sure but it was before cuelemans
Ceulemans was born in 1937
Shorty was past his prime by then
Really donít know if Shorty was a world champion three cushion player but it was said he played three cushion really very well especially for a pool player
To my recollection, Larry "Boston Shorty" Johnson tended to have a grand average of about 1.05 in three cushion competition.
  
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07-21-2019, 06:32 PM

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To my recollection, Larry "Boston Shorty" Johnson tended to have a grand average of about 1.05 in three cushion competition.
Hi Stu,
The only players at the Nationals who could be expected to maybe average 1.0+ until Sang Lee showed up were Gilbert, Hallon and Ashby.

From Charlie Ursitti's data, Shorty had tournament averages of .830, .744, .861, .771, and .869. On the other hand, he tended to play a defensive game which tends to lower the average. And maybe he averaged higher when he was younger. Ursitti's data doesn't show him until he's 49.

To put this back on topic, if Efren had gotten naturalized, he could have been the US 3-C champ until Sang Lee showed up.


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Last edited by Bob Jewett; 07-21-2019 at 06:35 PM.
  
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07-21-2019, 07:37 PM

This has been a good thread....
...special thanks to Bob Jewett and Pink Spider


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