Newly crowned U.S. Open Pool champion Carlo Biado has billiards legend Efren "Bata" Reyes to thank for serving as an inspiration in his momentous victory.
"I candn't explain what I feel right now because I am so happy," Biado told The Game on One Sports last Wednesday.
Fondly called "Tatay (Father)" Efren by the new generation of cue artists, Reyes has always paid it forward by teaching his tricks, making it possible for more Filipinos to create more magic in the sport. He is generally regarded as one of the best pool players in history.
"Tatay Efren is such a big deal for billiards athletes because he teaches all of his tricks. I believe that's an advantage for Filipinos because other countries don't have the same privilege," remarked Biado. "I am thankful that he is in our Philippine team."
Biado won in comeback fashion over Singapore's Aloysius Yapp, 13-8, in the finals last Sunday (Philippine time) in Atlantic City. In the early goings of the contest, Yapp took a commanding five-rack lead, 8-3, which rattled the Filipino.
However, a familiar face in the crowd soothed Biado's nerves, and he then found the resolve to respond.
"My wife was there in front of the crowd. She told me to relax and not think about the bad chances I got with the ball. I just needed to play my game," he recalled. "I felt I was going to win, and she told me the same thing before playing. That's why I felt good."
Due to quarantine restrictions in the Philippines, Biado was forced to leave for the U.S. last May. Immediately upon arrival, he then participated in several local meets and reached the finals of two other tournaments.
Still, for Biado, nothing compares to winning the US Open. Before his triumph, the last Filipino to win the prestigious tournament was Reyes himself, in 1994, making it doubly sweet.