Backed by legendary coach, Rubilen Amit pockets 9-ball gold
HANOI—With a legendary world champion as her coach, how could Rubilen Amit go wrong?
A world champion herself in 10-ball, Amit almost had a perfect run on Tuesday on her way to her third Southeast Asian Games 9-ball title—her ninth overall in the biennial meet—at a packed Ha Dong Gymnasium.
“This is my coach and idol,” said Amit of 2010 9-ball world champion Francisco “Django” Bustamante, who was keeping an eye on a part of her game she’s still working on.
Leading, 3-0, in the final against Singapore’s Jessica Tan, Amit blew a break in the fourth rack. The miscue briefly threw off her momentum, causing her to scratch twice and allowing her opponent to close in at 3-2.
But Amit regained her bearings right after Tan missed a corner 1-ball in the sixth rack. The Singaporean stood up again in the same rack but fumbled a corner 7 ball. That’s all it took for Amit to finally clean it up for a 7-2 decision.
“Not for anything else, but I also felt scared,” said Bustamante in Filipino. “Of course our Filipino billiards fans expect the gold medals from us.”
“I know that she (Tan) wouldn’t easily give up. I expected the match to very close,” said Amit. “Good thing it didn’t come to that because my heartbeat was getting fast. I prefer a big lead.”
The win gave the Philippines its first gold in billiards and snookers but the country is already assured of one more after Carlo Biado and Johann Chua forged a duel for the men’s 9-ball crown on Wednesday.
Amit and Chezka Centeno are also the favorites in the women’s 10-ball that breaks on Wednesday.
“They better watch out for my partner (Centeno),” said Amit.
But Bustamante interrupted her, saying “No, they better watch out for the both of you.”
Inquirer’s special coverage of the Hanoi SEA Games 2021.
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