Centeno, Amit forge all-Pinoy final

HANOI, Vietnam – Billiards players assured the Philippines of two more gold medals Friday in the 31st Southeast Asian Game, a welcome development in the face of the national contingent’s uphill climb to finish third overall here.,Chezka Centeno and Rubilen Amit downed their separate rivals in the semis to forge an all-Filipino finals showdown in the women’s 10-ball singles action at the Ha Dong District Sporting Hall and will clash at 10 a.m. Saturday for the gold.,Newly-crowned 9-ball champion Johann Chua and Carlo Biado arranged another all-Pinoy duel for the 10-ball men’s singles crown after humbling their Singaporean opponents in the semis and will play at 2 p.m. Saturday for the title.,Centeno, the reigning SEA Games women’s 10-ball women’s champion, beat Xuan Vang Bui of Vietnam 7-5, while Amit, who won the 9-ball singles three days ago, blanked Pennipa Nakjui of Thailand 7-0.,Chua trounced Aloyasius Yapp 9-2, while Carlo Biado, the 2021 US Open champion and two-time SEA Games gold medalist, whipped Sharik Sayed 9-3.,It will be a friendly but interesting battle for the 10-ball title between Centeno and Amit, who have won 13 SEA Games gold medals combined.,Regardless of the results, the Philippine billiards and snooker team will return home with four gold, three silver and two bronze medals courtesy of Efren “Bata” Reyes and Francisco dela Cruz in the 1-cushion carom.,Chua defeated Biado for the 9-ball gold in another all-Filipino affair. “We are happy to be assured of the gold and silver in men’s and women’s 9-ball singles. It’s all-Filipino,” said team manager Roy Malinao. “Happy na kami under the situation and the pandemic.”,Coach Django Bustamante said he is proud of his players, adding he expected them to figure prominently in the medal race.,“Sa pahulog naman (pocketing) wala talagang problema. Masayang-masaya kami sa team,” said Bustamante.,Many-time world champion Reyes was a big hit among Vietnamese fans here, some of them carrying portraits of the 67-year-old Filipino icon to venues where Reyes competes.