By CARLO ANOLIN
Billiards legend Efren “Bata” Reyes issued a public apology over the viral incident that circulated on social media recently, which showed him playing billiards in San Pedro, Laguna amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Reyes aired his sentiments through a letter addressed to the Games and Amusements Board chairman Baham Mitra and Jun Bautista, chief of basketball division and other sports. Mitra tweeted the copy of a letter Tuesday. March 16.
“I am deeply sorry for what happened, I don’t have control over the situation and the people around the vicinity,” read a portion of Reyes’ letter. “I, myself, was well aware of the safety protocols so that I will not acquire this virus and I am hoping and praying for everyone’s safety.”
The pool Hall of Famer explained that the event on March 11 was running smoothly at first until residents near the open billiards hall knew that he was invited to play in an exhibition game.
Reyes said spectators were not able to contain their excitement which resulted in failure to observe proper social distancing.
“Calling the police was the only way of the barangay captain to make the watchers obey him. The police officer informed me beforehand to just follow them to the barangay hall, so that everybody will comply,” said the 66-year-old Reyes. “That’s why we went to the barangay hall with them.”
Per protocols, Reyes, a senior citizen, is discouraged to go outside or must have limited public interaction unless for urgent matters such as essential needs and services. Huge social gatherings, especially without proper physical distancing, are prohibited as well.