By CARLO ANOLIN
The itch to play has put pool legend Efren “Bata” Reyes back in the limelight but in the wrong way.
Reyes became the talk of the town anew after being involved in a viral video circulating on social media, this time being caught by the police and barangay officials while playing billiards amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The video showed the police confiscating several pool equipment and calling out players, including Reyes, and spectators who were present at a certain billiards place in San Pedro, Laguna.
Call it a longing for the sport that had made him a global icon but the police claimed that the gathering was held “without permit,” as suggested by the video.
A certain policeman, who was rounding up the spectators, can also be seen armed with an assault rifle and clad in a black “SWAT” uniform.
Those gathered were also warned not to run away from them as officials stressed that the matter should be settled at the barangay hall after the breach of strict quarantine and health protocols.
At the end of video, which lasted for about two minutes and 40 seconds, the police shifted their tone in a more furious voice as other spectators seemed not to cooperate with them.
In a separate clip, the 66-year-old Reyes, wearing the same polo shirt, can be seen playing against a certain man who was wearing a face mask.
The billiards Hall of Famer, however, did not have his face mask on and the audience was not practicing social distancing.
Per protocols, billiards, a sport that also requires close contact, is prohibited. Huge social gatherings, especially without proper physical distancing, are also not allowed.
And since Bata is of old age, he is also discouraged to go outside his house and must have limited interaction unless of an urgent matter such as obtaining essential goods and services.
In January, the multi-titled world champion was involved in a hoax claiming his supposed death, which was later denied by other videos as well as daughter Chelo Reyes.