AJ Manas, a rising adolescent star who has already stunned pool icon Efren “Bata” Reyes and veteran Warren Kiamco, has his sights set on competing for a seat on the national squad.
At the 1st Mayor Albee Benitez MassKara Billiards event in Bacolod City on Thursday afternoon, October 6, AJ Manas, a 15-year-old player from Antipolo City who had defeated the famous Efren “Bata” Reyes earlier in the week on Wednesday, October 5, was eliminated from further competition.
AJ Manas was eliminated from the competition in the round of 16 by Jundel Mazon, the winner of the Guinness World Series of Pool 10-Ball Challenge in 2010; the score of the match was 8-7.
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The young talent, who earlier in the day on Thursday upset a member of the national squad named Warren Kiamco 8-7 in the round of 32, kept his positive attitude even after suffering a setback.
AJ Manas told reporters after the game, “Win or lose, you learn something,” and he meant every word of it. “Talo, panalo, may aral kang makukuha”
He stated that being able to compete against legends and peers that he admires motivates him to perform better.
AJ Manas had already eliminated another billiards champion, Jerico Banares, from the competition in an earlier game before he played Reyes for the first time.
The inexperience of Manas added to the excitement.
After competing in three amateur tournaments in the past, the organizers of this competition claim that AJ Manas is taking part in his first open/professional tournament. This is only AJ’s fourth competition overall in his career.
AJ Manas claimed in an interview that he first picked up a cue and started shooting pool in his grandfather’s bar in Antipolo when he was seven years old.
The young athlete has big goals for himself, and one of them is to one day play for his country’s national team so that he “may see the world” and provide for his family.
Despite the fact that it was not the only shocking result of the day, a local reporter named Junel Ray M. Britanico described the 64-knockout game between Manas and Reyes as being “full of tension.”
Dennis Orcollo, a seeded player in billiards who ranks fifth in the country, was also eliminated by Boots Augusto, a Cebuano pride, in a close match that concluded with a score of 8-7.
Soon after the match began, AJ Manas found themselves in the lead for three consecutive games.
“When Reyes got his turn to cue the ball, there was silence across the atrium, and every missed stroke that the champion did was received with a surprised reaction from the spectators.” “Yet, Reyes, who is renowned as “The Magician,” gamely laughed off every mistake that he made,” Britanico remembered.
According to Britanico, Reyes was only four balls away from winning the game when he missed a corner shot on the 10th ball, which ended his tournament run and ended his chance to earn the big prize of P350,000.
In the end, “even Reyes was astonished by the decision as he walked away from the table, apparently sad.” However, after a while he went back to his chair to greet fans, sign autographs, and take photographs with them,” Britanico remarked.
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