We almost didn’t make it to our 8:30 pm deadline tonight, because we had found ourselves all caught up in Efren "Bata" Reyes’ first match at the World Pool Championships at the PICC. He was down 4 games to 7, and two balls away from losing the race-to-8 match to Tony Crosby, when he racked up three straight games to tie the match. In the deciding game, he pounced on a mistake of Crosby’s, and sank the next four balls confidently, elegantly. Only the 9-ball was left, and both the crowd (the website story correctly described the spectators as The Magician’s "adoring faithful," a simple truth we could see for ourselves on TV) and the broadcast commentators called it a day. Until Bata missed. That gave Crosby a simple set-up, and the Florida-based Englishman calmly, finally, sank the shot.
Turns out the adoring faithful, who cheered every good shot, regardless of who had hit it, had a hand in his victory. Crosby: “When he missed the 9 though I was just praying that it was going to be easy and it turned out it was. This is by far the best place I’ve ever played a tournament and the excitement here is incredible. The crowd was so happy that I couldn’t help but laugh and joke with everyone."