PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — The Philippines surrendered the men’s nine-ball singles title after Johann Chua and Carlo Biado dropped their opening matches in the 32nd Southeast Asian Games at the Aeon 2 Sen Sok here.
Chua lost his 9-ball crown after losing to Maung Maung Phone Myint Kyaw of Myanmar, 9-8, while Biado, the runner-up in the previous SEA Games in Hanoi, bowed to Feri Satrivadi of Indonesia, 9-7, in the Round of 16.
The twin losses also came after two-time world 10-ball champion Rubilen Amit surrendered to Santhinee Jaisuekul of Thailand in the first match of the women’s three-cushion carom, an event that is quite unfamiliar to her.
Amit will not be defending her 9-ball and 10-ball titles due to the absence of women’s pool events.
“We’re facing very tough battles here,” Billiards and Snooker Congress of the Philippines secretary general Robert Mananquil said.
“You really need to have very good breaks because once you fail to sink a ball, your opponent will surely finish the match within five minutes. Also, luck is not going our way.”
Billiards had been a goldmine for the Filipinos in the SEA Games since the Jakarta edition in 1997.
Among those who brought glory to the country were the likes of Lee Van Corteza, Alex Pagulayan, Ronnie Alcano, Dennis Orcollo, Marlon Manalo, Antonio Gabica, Irish Rañola and Warren Kiamco.
The country’s fortune, however, could still change as Efren “Bata” Reyes is still competing in the men’s three-cushion carom singles against Woo Donghoon of Cambodia at press time.
The tandem of Chua and Biado will also vie in the men’s 9-ball doubles on Thursday.
“I hope we can salvage at least a bronze,” Mananquil added
“Our head coach, Django Bustamante, talked to the players and he got an assurance that we will not go home emptyhanded. We are consistent medal producers. We will do everything to win at least a bronze.”