June 21, 2024
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News Pool

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Itโ€™s happening!

After several years of teasing pool fans around the globe with the tantalizing addition of a Team Asia to a Mosconi Cup-style challenge against Team Europe or Team USA, Matchroom Pool formally announced on April 26 that the inaugural Reyes Cup, named in honor of Filipino legend Efren Reyes, would take place in Manila, Oct. 17-20, 2024.

The first edition will see a five-player Asian squad face Team Europe, winner of the 2023 Mosconi Cup. Both teams will be made up of three spots automatically earned through one-year World Nineball Tour rankings and two wildcards. According to the Matchroom release, the top-ranked WNT player for each team following the World Pool Championship, the European Open and the U.S. Open will earn the automatic spots, after which two wildcards will be selected by team captains.

โ€œThe Reyes Cup sees a dream become a reality,โ€ said Matchroom Multi Sport CEO Emily Frazer. Frazer credited the Mosconi Cupโ€™s 30-year history with broadcast partner Sky Sportโ€™s willingness to add the Reyes Cup to its global broadcasting lineup.

โ€œEfrenโ€™s passion for the sport has been unwavering for over 50 years,โ€ Frazer said in the release, adding that the event will be produced in partnership with longtime Filipino pool benefactor Puyat Sports., Inc. โ€œHe is the perfect figurehead for this tournament and our sport.โ€

In a separate interview on Windowโ€™s Open, Matchroom Multi Sport CEO Emily Frazer shared additional details on the event, among them the admission that the ongoing formula for the Reyes Cup is still under discussion. Assumptions that the Mosconi Cup winner would automatically earn the right to play Team Asia and that the team would stay intact are incorrect, she said.

โ€œFor starters, I donโ€™t know why you would put the reigning Mosconi Cup team in it,โ€ Frazer said. โ€œAnd itโ€™s not even stipulated yet that the winner of the Mosconi Cup automatically plays or whether it should alternate between Team Europe and Team USA every year. I liked the idea of the Mosconi Cup winner because it gives Team USA more motivation to win the Mosconi Cup, but I think I prefer the fairness of having it alternate year after year. But we donโ€™t have to make that decision right now. Weโ€™re starting with Team Europe vs Team Asia.

โ€œI also like separating the two tournaments,โ€ she added. โ€œThe Reyes Cup is an event in itself and should be given that prestige. And I love the drama that itโ€™s created. Iโ€™d hate to lose that by gifting the Mosconi Cup winner the spot.โ€

Additionally, since there will be WNT ranking events after the U.S. Open, the top three automatic picks for Mosconi Cup teams will be affected even after the qualification cutoffs for the Reyes Cup. Between rankings adjustments and wildcard selections, the European or American team facing Team Asia in the Reyes Cup could change dramatically by the time the Mosconi Cup rolls around.

โ€œI love the potential for Team Europe to be different for the Mosconi and the Reyes,โ€ Frazer said, โ€œbecause it gives more players a chance to make one of the teams. It is order of merit, but also the two wildcards give the captains a chance to mix things up, as well.โ€

Frazer also admitted that the captaincy decisions for the Reyes Cup have yet to be decided, hinting that the decisions may well be based more on exposure than team impact.

โ€œIโ€™d love for [boxing legend] Manny Pacquiao to captain Team Asia,โ€ she said. โ€œAnd if we could get [podcast giant] Joe Rogan to captain Team USA one year, that would be great. Anything that creates more exposure for these players is the way to go.โ€

On the subject of prize money, Frazer cautioned players to not get overly excited.

โ€œIt wonโ€™t be the same as Mosconi Cup,โ€ she said. โ€œIn year one of Mosconi Cup they werenโ€™t on the same sort of guarantee that they are now. It takes time to build the event.โ€

Frazer also said that the venue was still up in the air, with as many as three venues being scouted by Matchroom and Reyes partner Puyat Sports, and that for the foreseeable future, she has no intention of making the Reyes Cup a home-and-home traveling event.

โ€œFor now, it makes sense to keep it in Manila for the first years. Weโ€™ve already seen the reaction in the Philippines from this news.โ€

What can be expected, according to Puyat Sports president Aresteo โ€œPutchโ€ Puyat (shown here with Frazer), is an atmosphere every bit as exciting and dramatic as the Mosconi Cup.

โ€œThere is no doubt that this event will be just as popular, if not more, thanks to the participation of so many skilled players from across Asia,โ€ gushed Puyat, commonly referred to as the โ€œgodfather of poolโ€ in the Philippines. โ€œThe region boasts a wealth of exciting new talent in the game, which will surely captivate audiences.

โ€œIn the Philippines,โ€ he continued, โ€œevery city and town have billiard halls. And with players from various countries competing, thereโ€™s an added layer of appeal that will draw in a diverse range of fans. These elements combined create a thrilling recipe for success and suggest that the event will be a major hit.โ€

โ€” with Emily Frazer, Matchroom Pool

culled from Billiards Digest Facebook post.

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