Rising star Chezka Centeno of the Philippines continued her strong charge in the World Women’s 9-Ball Championship by barging her way to the last 16 of the first biggest pool event of the year.
Unfortunately for the Zamboanguena, she had to get past her idol and compatriot, Rubilen Amit, whom she upstaged, 7-5, on her way to securing a berth in the next round at Harrah’s Resort in Atlantic City New Jersey Friday (Saturday morning in Manila).
The Philippines’ best bets in the world circuit set up a round-of-32 duel as they stayed in the winner’s bracket following their victories over their respective rivals on the previous day.
Both players had similar tightly-fought victories in Day 1.
Centeno started by surviving Margaret Fefilova of Belarus, 7-6, before flexing her muscle in dominating Dawn Hopkins of the United States, 7-4.
Amit, on the other hand, was firmly in control and was able to beat Wan Ka Kai of Hong Kong, 7-3, then narrowly escaped Chen Chia Hua, 7-6, in what can be considered as a lucky win for the two-time World Ten Ball champion.
But the Filipina cue artists found themselves on a collision course and just like what she had done in previous meetings, Centeno was able to get the better end of her match up with her more experienced counterpart, who was relegated to the loser’s bracket.
Amit fights for survival as she awaits her opponent in the loser’s bracket side of this tournament that offers a prize fund of $148,000 with the champion receiving $30,000 and the distinction of becoming the first world titlist in 2023.
Starting in the Last 16, every game will be a race-to-nine affair as Centeno tries to push her luck as far as she can in the pursuit of winning her first world title.
A four-time Southeast Asian Games gold medalist, Centeno ruled the Medalla Light Puerto Rico Women’s Open Championship late last year.