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Is Chezka Centeno ready to take over legend Rubilen Amit’s spot as face of PH women’s billiards?

GMA News Online logo GMA News Online 05/05/2022 REY JOBLE
THUMB Photo: Screenshot from GMA News/Youtube THUMB Photo: Screenshot from GMA News/Youtube

Is Philippine women’s billiards ready for a passing of the torch?

This will one day be the case for the country’s cue artists competing in the distaff side of the billiards competition of the upcoming Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi, Vietnam a few weeks from now.

Rubilen Amit, a seven-time SEA Games gold medalist and two-time WPA Women’s World Ten Ball champion, will attempt to continue in her winning ways in the biennial meet as one of the favorites in the women’s singles event.

But joining her in a Philippine power duo for the women’s side is Chezka Centeno, Amit’s likely future successor as the face of women’s billiards here in the country.

When asked if she was up for the challenge as the legend’s heir apparent, Centeno was humble in her response.

“Opo. That is an overstatement, but I will gladly take that as a compliment po,” the 22-year old athlete said.

Despite her confidence, she still believes that Amit’s shoes will always remain too big to fill.

“Rubilen Amit will always be a legend. In fact, I am her fan ever since I started my career,” she added. “I actually think I still have a lot to learn in my journey as a pool player and I still got a long way ahead.”

Centeno has actually defeated Amit a number of times in their head-to-head duels for the gold medal in the SEA Games.

As a teenager competing in the 2015 SEA Games in Singapore, Centeno surprised Amit by winning the 9-ball finals, 7-5, and repeated the act in the 2017 edition by edging her idol, 7-6, after coming back from 2-5 deficit.  Two years ago in Manila, she also stamped her class in the 10-Ball competition, beating Amit, 7-3, to win the gold medal.

But Amit has also been able to get one over Centeno, like the 9-Ball gold medal, 7-3, also in Manila.

The Philippines’ dynamic duo in women’s billiards will once again take center stage as they spearhead the campaign in Hanoi, even as they remain wary of tough rivals such as Angel Ticoalu of Indonesia, Phaa Hmaunpao of Thailand, and Jessica Tan from Singapore.

Regardless of the category, the Philippines remains formidable in the sport. On the men’s side, former world champion Carlo Biado is another favorite to win the gold medal. Biado is a two-time SEA Games gold medalist.

The big guns in billiards will also make room for the living legend of pool, Efren “Bata” Reyes, who will be competing in the 1-cushion carom.

A two-time world champion and the first Asian to be inducted in the Billiard Congress of America’s Hall of Fame, the 67-year-old Reyes will be the oldest participant for the Philippine billiards delegation, which will also bring in Johann Chua for the men’s 10-ball and 9-ball singles, Alvin Barbero and Jefrey Roda, both in the men’s snooker singles and 6-red singles, and Francisco Dela Cruz in the 1-cushion and 3-cushion carom.

—JMB, GMA News

This article Is Chezka Centeno ready to take over legend Rubilen Amit’s spot as face of PH women’s billiards? was originally published in GMA News Online.

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