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Reyes Escapes El Nino
by Mike Panozzo Jul 17, 2003, 1:25 PM EST

One of the advantages of being Efren Reyes is the knowledge that your opponent is likely to hand over at least one game on reputation alone. Never did Reyes need that one game more than Thursday afternoon against Dutchman Nick Van den Berg in the round of 32 at the 2003 empirepoker.com World Pool Championship in Cardiff, Wales.

After relinquishing leads of 4-1 and 7-4, Reyes faced the prospect of a premature exit from the world’s biggest event as Van den Berg faced an open rack at 8-8. But the 25-year-old, whose nickname is El Nino, played his way out of position in the case rack, eventually leaving Reyes a clear shot and an unexpected pass into the round of 16.

"Maybe I tried to be too perfect in the last rack," said the disheartened Van den Berg, who left himself snookered on the 3 after a longer-than-necessary shot on the 2 ball. "Instead of easy shots, I had one tough shot and then another."
Reyes’ escape moves him into a potential Friday match-up with countryman and 2002 runnerup Francisco Bustamante. Bustamante plays Lee Vann Corteza, also of the Philippines, Thursday night at the Cardiff International Arena.

In other Thursday afternoon matches, defending champion Earl Strickland of the U.S. hit high gear in a 9-3 thrashing of Japan’s Haruyoshi Hinokiyama. Two-time junior world champion Hui-Kai Hsia pocketed the 9 on the break in the case game to dash the hopes of American Max Eberle, while 2002 quarterfinalist Marcus Chamat of Sweden rolled over Korea’s Jang-Su Lee, 9-3. And in a match-up of pre-tournament favorites, Ching-Shun Yang of Chinese Taipei spotted Germany’s Ralf Souquet a 3-0 lead, then rattled off nine consecutive games (including a four-rack run) to advance, 9-3.

Thursday night’s showcase match will pit the flashy games of Canadian Alex Pagulayan and American Rodney Morris.

For complete Group standings, and Final 64 pairings, visit: http://www.worldpoolchampionship.com/results.asp

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