9-year-old boy to play vs. Efren ‘Bata’ Reyes

Chasz Uy*

It was his dream to play against the who’s who in the world of billiards and 9-year old Chasz Uy gets to achieve this in the 2nd Mayor Albee Benitez 10-ball Billiards Tournament, a major sports event in this year’s MassKara Festival.

Chasz is scheduled to play against Efren “Bata” Reyes in an exhibition game 1 p.m. Wednesday at the Main Atrium of SM City Bacolod after his wish was granted by Bacolod Yuhum Foundation that arranged the match with “The Magician.”

A 4th grader in STI West Negros University, Chasz is the youngest player that signed up for the tournament but bowed out of the race after losing his first two games.

Nevertheless, it was worth the experience after he got to play with another billiards champ, Django Bustamante in his first match who was quoted as saying, “that boy is a good player.”

He finally ended his short stint in the tournament after losing to Murphy Baroa, another top player who is known as “The pride of Pototan,” Iloilo.

However, Philip Andrew Uy, Chasz’ father said, his boy never felt disappointed because it was an experience that he got to achieve at such a young age, plus the fact that Reyes agreed to face-off with the boy Wednesday.

Philip who is married to Janine said that all of their three kids, with Chasz being the youngest, were introduced to the sport at an early age in the resto-café their family owns.

Chasz started playing two years ago, during the time of the pandemic and found that he liked the sport. Philip said that their eldest son and daughter also play billiards, “but it was only Chasz who was excited to compete and so we signed him up for this tournament.”

When Philip saw his son taking a liking to the sports, “I started teaching him the basics and as part of his training, we would play an hour and a half every evening.”*

Later on, the father introduced the country’s top players and their achievements which further inspired his son.

Although Philip would take on much time teaching his son, he finally got the services of Reynaldo Grandea, a former coach of the Philippine Team, to mentor his son.

Philip said that Chasz is a good player but will need to be exposed to more tournaments. “Chasz got so excited and missed most of his shots and I think he was also overwhelmed with the crowd who were taking videos of him playing against Django.”

“I coached him to relax and to take his time but the crowd got to him because even at home, he misses shots when I take a video of him playing,” Philip said.

Philip though is glad of this experience his son will be able to cherish because “not all titled billiards player get to challenge an Efren Reyes. Even if this is just an exhibition game, it will be memorable to Chasz and even for that, this is all worth it.”

Another much awaited, must-see match will be Bacolod Mayor Albee Benitez and Reyes playing doubles against Bustamante who will be paired with Councilor Vladimir Gonzales Thursday, still in SM City Bacolod.

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