Filipinos in pool

Paul Marquez

I just never knew. My grandfather is all Filipino and is 100 years old. He arrived in San Francisco in1939. Because of him I knew many Filipinos and was a member of the Filipino/American society. I learned many things about the islands and history. Nobody ever mentioned pool to me.

I knew that Filipinos were fearless warriors and their ferociousness changed military strategies. I knew that Filipinos were the greatest cane fighters in every type of stick martial arts offered.  Filipino systems are the only systems considered or mentioned. The point is, if Filipinos did something special, it was mentioned. Maybe in pool they were always the best, and I just did not hear about it.  But how is it they are the strongest among all countries? Since when?  Always? Or, did Efren and Jose Parica expose the Filipino excellence and dominance? Only to spark the Filipino people to step it up a level or two when they had something to celebrate? After Imelda’s Rule, the Philippines needed something to celebrate.

The timing to me makes me think, so I wonder? Maybe all Filipinos are naturally gifted? Really? Everyone talks about the Filipino stroke and how graceful they move the cue ball. Well, Alex Pagulayan plays without this so called Filipino stroke and is AZ Billiards number one player in the world. This may be a hypothesis or guess if you will. Here it is. “The Filipinos played quality pool. The mixture of billiards and rotation helped them understand 9ball and one pocket quickly. Rotation with all the balls improves kicking at balls, I mean how could it not. Jose Parica then Efren were special and these special players gave the Filipinos something to be excited about and to be proud of. Then without a doubt Efren was the best player in the world. The best! More pride and more inspiration. Heroes and inspiration the Philippines desperately needed and hoped for.

It’s tough there and some validation from the entire world that Filipino people are capable of anything . This had changed the island for the better forever. “I am part Filipino and I believe Efren Reyes, with support of Alex Pagalayan, Francisco Bustamante, and Jose Parica had an impact as enormous as Muhammad Ali and Jesse Owens did here in America. When I recently went to a niece’s birthday party and it was revealed I played upper level pool. Then the talks about these special men excited the entire room. I shared a story unremarkable to most. The story, Vegas 2001 I played craps with Efren and Alex at the Riviera and was personally pretty giddy about the whole experience. Not as giddy as family at my nieces party. I realized I may as well have played craps with Michael Jordan, and Muhammad Ali, with some involvement with Abraham Lincoln in some way.

If this type of inspiration remains consistent like it has been with pool, the world should expected an influx of Filipino boxers to dominate. Without a doubt Manny Pacqiou has become the world’s best fighter. I wonder if Efren gave Manny what he needed in some way. I do know Manny through a pool tournament at Hard Times, a coincidence? Maybe, or maybe Efren Reyes happened to change the world. A change directly affected the Filipino people, including a better self image. Am I crazy? I mean a third world island or suggested reaction caused pool players is conspiracy craziness right? I mean to suggest the world is better now and potentially better forever is crazy voodoo right? A voodoo or spell the cause? But just maybe it would have to be some god, witch, warlock or super hero behind it. Do you believe I’m those things?  If it’s my only guess.  For my case dough.  I’m betting this grandiose miraculous claim is being done by a magician.

Player of the Decade

Efren “The Magician” Reyes, who amassed nearly $1.7 million in prize money, and Allison Fisher, who won 27 Women’s Professional Billiard Association Classic Tour titles, were named Player of the Decade by the United States Billiard Media Association, the USBMA announced today.

Reyes, the 55-year-old Filipino sensation, won more than 20 major men’s professional pool titles during the decade, starting with his $30,000 Camel Pro 8-Ball Championship win in 2000. Of his 22 major victories, the versatile Reyes won four one-pocket crowns, four 8-ball titles and 14 9-ball titles. He also won the Derby City All- Around title three times.

But it was during the short-lived International Pool Tour that Reyes scored his biggest wins. In three multi-million dollar events, Reyes won two titles (2005 IPT King of the Hill and 2006 IPT North American Open) and pocketed $765,000.

Fisher, meanwhile, continued her dominance over women’s pool for a second straight decade. After winning 26 Classic Tour titles during the ’90s, the former snooker champion added 27 more from 2000-2010. In addition to her WPBA Classic Tour titles, Fisher, 41, earned the gold medal at the 2009 World Games, was the 2000 BCA U.S. Open 14.1 champion and won the Tournament of Champions five times. She earned $637,000 over the 10-year span.

Additionally, both Reyes and Fisher were elected into the Billiard Congress of America Hall of Fame during the decade, with Reyes being inducted in 2003 and Fisher in 2009.

In Player of the Decade voting, Reyes out-pointed Johnny Archer, Mika Immonen and Ralf Souquet. Fisher was named woman player of the decade on all but two ballots, with Karen Corr and Jasmin Ouschan each receiving one vote.