The Philippines will be parading a solid 14-player billiards and snooker team in the 5th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games (AIMAG) beginning on Sunday in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan.
Veteran international campaigners Carlo Biado and Chezka Centeno, both fresh from their successful stints in international competitions will spearhead the country’s campaign along with legendary cue masters Efren “Bata” Reyes and Francisco “Django” Bustamante.
Biado delivered the country’s first-ever gold medal in the prestigious 2017 World Games held in Wroclaw, Poland in July then copped another gold in the 2017 Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
The 18-year old Centeno, for her part, dominated the women’s 9-ball pool singles in the Malaysia SEA Games to complete a back-to-back title romp.
Biado hopes to continue his winning way in Turkmenistan when he guns for gold in the men’s 9-ball pool singles along with Malaysia SEA Games bronze medalist Johann Chua.
Centeno joins former world champion and SEA Games silver medalist Rubilen Amit in the women’s 9-ball pool singles event.
Besides the 9-ball singles, Centeno and Amit will also play in the women’s 10-ball pool singles.
Reyes and Bustamante will be shooting for medals in the men’s Russian pyramid combined style singles, men’s Russian pyramid dynamic style singles and men’s Russian pyramid free style singles.
Joining them in the delegation are Dennis Orcollo and Warren Kiamco, who will be seeing action in the men’s 9-ball pool scotch doubles as well as Iris Ranola and Floriza Andal, the team’s representatives in the women’s 6-red snooker singles.
The other members of the team are Jeffrey Roda and Basil Hasan Al-Shajjar who participate in the men’s snooker singles, men’s 6-red snooker singles and men’s snooker team event; and Francisco Dela Cruz and Reynaldo Grandea who will compete in the men’s 3-cushion carom singles.
The national billiards and snooker team won two gold, one silver and two bronze in the 2017 Malaysia SEA Games.
EMIL C. NOGUERA