In billiards, world champs called up to represent Philippines in SEA Games

Dennis Gasgonia, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 11 2019 12:46 PM | Updated as of Oct 11 2019 12:47 PM

Rubilen Amit (left) and Chezka Centeno are favorites to win gold in womens play. Handout file

Filipino billiards players are setting their sights on winning at least 4 gold medals in the Southeast Asian Games, starting next month.

This is double the gold output from the 2017 edition of the games in Kuala Lumpur, according to Robert Mananquil, secretary general of Billiards and Snookers Congress of the Philippines, the sport’s national governing body.

Leading the country’s charge are world No. 4 and former world 9-ball king Carlo Biado, former world 8-ball champion Dennis Orcollo, and former 2-time world women’s 10-ball champion Rubilen Amit.

“Sa ngayon baka makuha natin ang apat. ’Yung 9-ball men’s, 9-ball women's, 10-ball men's singles, 10-ball women's singles. Kaya ko sinasabi ’yan dahil si Dennis Orcollo at Carlo Biado dating world champion iyan, at si Rubilen Amit,” Mananquil said.

Other players joining the men’s pool events are world’s No. 19 Johann Chua, Warren Kiamco and Jeffrey Ignacio. The women’s side includes 2017 SEA Games 9-ball gold medalist Chezka Centeno, former SEA Games champion Iris Rañola, and Floriza Andal.

They will compete in the 9-ball singles (men’s and women’s), 9-ball doubles (men’s and women’s) 10-ball singles (men’s and womens) and 10-ball doubles (men’s and women’s).

With international winners such as Carlo Biado making up the team in pool, the hosts are confident winning a handful of gold medals in the SEA Games. Handout/file

Meanwhile, billiards legend Efren “Bata” Reyes and Francisco Dela Cruz will spearhead the team for Carom (men’s), snooker singles (men’s), snooker doubles (men’s) and English Billiards (men’s).

Alvin Barbero, Michael Angelo Mengorio, Jeffrey Roda and Basil Al-Shajjar will compete in snooker, while Benjie Guevarra and Luis Saberdo will play English billiards.

Mananquil said the BSCP selected the team members based on their standings in the qualifiers they held in May.

“Hindi namin kinonsider ’yung previous SEA Games or world championship records nila. In-open naman ang qualifying para sa lahat,” he said.

As of now, the cue artists continue to train here and abroad with full backing from the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC). This way, they will be fully prepared against teams from Indonesia, Thailand, Myanmar, Vietnam and Malaysia.

“Sina Rubilen pupunta ng Beijing para sa 9-ball, sina Carlo Biado, so halos lahat sila may mga overseas training and competition until second week of November,” he said.

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