SEA Games: Centeno, 15, is new 9-ball pool queen
SINGAPORE — Fifteen-year-old Chezka Centeno upstaged her most illustrious teammate to capture the women’s 9-ball singles gold medal right on her very first stint in the Southeast Asian Games Tuesday.
Shy and reticent, Centeno bested two-time World champion and five-time SEAG champion Rubilen Amit, 7-5, in their all-Filipino final that was more of a crowning moment for Philippine pool which now has two golds in this edition.
The Zamboanga City lass developed her skill playing in their own pool hall near the vegetable market where they also live.
“Thank you to my teammates for their support and to Ate Bingkay (Amit) for helping me,” said Centeno who stormed into spotlight after winning the gold in the Philippine National Games two years ago.
“Sayang po isang event lang po kami, sobrang nerbyos ko po (It’s sad that we only have one event, I was so nervous,” said Centeno who turns 16 on June 30. She is accompanied here by her father.
The 33-year-old Amit was gracious in defeat saying Centeno, whom she describes to her “heir apparent,” deserves the gold medal.
Many-time champion Dennis Orcollo and Carlo Biado are working their way up from separate ends of the bracket in a hope to also make an all-Filipino final in men’s 9-ball.
Biado, who along with Warren Kiamco won the 9-ball doubles gold, made the semis with a 9-6 win over Vietnam’s Le Quang Trung, while Orcollo plays late into Tuesday night.
Centeno surged to 3-0 in their race-to-seven final but Amit quickly bounced back to even up at 4-4. The break, though, went the youngster’s way as she copped three of the next four racks to prevail.
Earlier, Caleb Stuart won the gold with a record-breaking performance in men’s hammer throw. Mark Giongco/CFC