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Centeno on cue — Zamboanga’s pride captures Predator WPA 10-Ball crown

‘It’s a surreal moment that brings back memories of countless hours of hard work, tears, and disappointments. They are all worth it’

Chezka Centeno is the current toast of pool. | PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF Predator Pro Billiard Series

For Chezka Centeno, winning the Predator WPA 10-Ball Women’s title is surreal.

Moments after toppling Chinese Yu Han, 9-5, in Klagenfurt, Austria, late Sunday, Centeno expressed disbelief over her latest and biggest conquest.

“I can hardly believe it…I am your new Women’s World 10-Ball Champion!,” Centeno, 24, the pride and joy of Zamboanga City, said in her social media account.

“This journey started when I was a 5-year-old with a dream, and today, I’m living it.”

The victory was worth $50,000 (P2.8 million) and her latest win is expected to open up a world of possibilities.

Centeno could not help but marvel at her accomplishment.

“It’s a surreal moment that brings back memories of countless hours of hard work, tears, and disappointments. They are all worth it.”

The road to the championship was littered with landmines.

The four-time Southeast Games champion had to take down giants to win it all and fulfill her childhood dream.

Centeno had to beat 2010 Asian Games gold medalist Pan Xiaoting of China, 7-4, in the winner round 1 before dumping Billiard Congress of America Hall of Fame member Allison Fisher of Great Britain, 7-3, in the winner qualification to seal her place in the Last 16.

From there, she would beat Melanie Sussenguth of Germany 9-0 in the Last 16 and knocked out defending champion Chou Chieh-yu of Chinese Taipei, 9-2, in the quarterfinal.

On her second encounter with Fisher in the semifinal, Centeno came out victorious once again, 9-8, to earn the right to face Yu, who eliminated her teammate and two-time champion Rubilen Amit in the quarterfinal.

For Centeno, who is the tournament’s youngest champion at 24 years old alongside Austrian pool player Jasmin Ouschan, this win is for her to share with everybody back home in the Philippines.

“This victory is a shared triumph. Thank you from the bottom of my heart,” said Centeno, who is the second Filipina cue artist to win the tournament after Amit did it in 2009 and 2013.

“I’ll always be proud to represent my hometown, Zamboanga City, and, of course, my beloved country, the Philippines.”

Well done, Chezka.

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