By JONAS TERRADO
It seems that Vietnamese fans are fully aware of Efren “Bata” Reyes’ legendary status as evident at how they warmly received him during the men’s 1-carom event of the 31st Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi, Vietnam.
Videos that circulated online showed Reyes being mobbed by fans following his quarterfinal win over Thailand’s Suriya Suwanasingh last Monday at the Ha Dong Gymnasium.
Local police were even tapped to try and control the crowd but to no avail as fans posed for selfies while Reyes even signed a shirt amid the madness.
Reyes granted his opponent, officials and even volunteer staff with photos prior to navigating the crowd outside.
The 67-year-old is already assured of a bronze medal in the event but faces a daunting task at presstime against Vietnam’s Nguyen Tran Thanh in the semifinals.
Vietnam is known to perform well in carom events, thus putting Reyes in an uphill climb.
He is also slated to compete in the men’s 3-carom event.