Playing with an almost surreal poise and skill that belies his obvious youth, Albanian Klenti Kaci captured the World Pool Series – Aramith Masters Championship on Saturday (Sunday in Manila) in New York City with a two sets to nil win over the Philippines Carlo Biado, and at the same time laid claim to being the most promising young rising star in pool’s professional ranks.
The tall and good looking Albanian, who this week was on his third pool playing trip to the US in the last 8 months, and who regularly plays on the Euro Tour, captured the $12,000 first prize in this the second event of Darren Appleton’s new 8-ball tour, the World Pool Series.
There he met up with the Philippines Carlo Biado, who had played solid in his semi-final match against England’s Darren Appleton, the man who founded the World Pool Series. The 35-year-old Filipino was the steadier of the two, winning the first set 6-3, then the second set 7-5 to advance to the final with a two sets to nil victory.
Biado has been one of the world’s top players for the last four years and has come tantalizingly close to big victories including several world titles but never cashed in. During the interview prior to the start of the match Biado seemed intent on righting that wrong in his resume. In the first set, however, Kaci proved to be the more resilient as he raced out to a 4-1 lead in the first set and held off the Filipino at every turn. The Albanian stayed steady and focused, and never trailed capturing set one, 6-4.
Kaci kept up his solid and focused play in the second set. He hardly made mistakes, and kept amazing control of the cue ball in taking a 3-2 lead. Biado caught him and took his first lead of the match at 4-3, but Kaci never waivered and soon was back up at 5-4. Biado had more fire in this set and tied it again. But the Albanian pounced on several errors by the Filipino, kept his game simple and precise, shrugged off any pressure as if it was a mere nuisance, and took the last three racks for an emphatic 7-5 set win, and an unlikely title.
Cheered heartily by the packed crowd at Steinway Billiards in Queens, Kaci, who has been playing pool since he was 8 years old, clearly reveled in his amazing feat. But in similar fashion to the way he played throughout the week, he had a calmness and surety that seemed to say that he knew he was destined for this very success for many years.
For winning the Aramith Masters Kaci received $12,000.