Bata Reyes: I’ll be extra careful next time

In baseball terminology, billiards legend Efren “Bata” Reyes has already been “struck twice,” so before a more powerful lighting strikes again, the amiable star has vowed to be extra careful the next time around.

Efren “Bata” Reyes (MB File Photo)

No more easy invites in the future.

In an interview on GMA News’ Unang Balita Thursday, Reyes said he would be more cautious in accepting invitations from friends after the one he attended in Barangay San Pablo, Sto. Tomas, Batangas on Tuesday night was raided by policemen for alleged illegal activities.

While police operatives were courteous – as usual – to the sports icon during the raid – his second since March 2021 – it will likely serve as his wake-up call.

“Bago pumunta, kapag nakipag-usap, kapag may nag-imbita, kailangan humingi muna sila ng permit sa barangay, o sa mayor, sa munisipyo, sa mga hepe, ganyan, para hindi nila mapuntahan,” Reyes said in the interview.

Like in every invitation he accepted, the Sto. Tomas event drew a large crowd with Reyes not aware that some were already engaged in betting.

In the recent opening of a billiards hall on Mabini St., Manila, his mere presence attracted the attention of many billiards enthusiasts.

“At least meron nang permit. Kapag walang permit, hindi na ako pupunta. Mahirap na. Kailangan may permit tsaka dapat nakapangalan sa kanila,” he added.

In that event, Reyes – in his usual T-shirt and old jeans – said he was just a guest and was surprised when the attendees started betting during the billiards game.

“Bigla lang kasing natakot ‘yung mga tao kasi may mga dumating. Bigla silang nagtakbuhan, napasama ako, nasasagi ako. Hinila lang ako ng isang pulis, parang nilagay lang ako sa isang tabi baka raw masaktan ako,” he said.

After the raid, the former world champion was politely invited to the police station and explained his reason why he was there.

Like the previous one, the many-time Philippine Sportswriters Association awardee was sent home as if nothing had happened while the 18 attendees were arrested for violation of PD 1602.

Reyes’ name was not even in the police records, apparently as a sign of respect to the “Magician” who has brought numerous honors to the country. (MB-Tempo staff)

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