By JONAS TERRADO
Johann Chua captured his first-ever Southeast Asian Games gold after defeating Carlo Biado, 9-6, in an all-Filipino final of the men’s 9-ball singles Wednesday in Hanoi, Vietnam.
Chua broke away from a 5-5 tie by winning three straight racks before taking advantage of the miscues committed by Biado to secure perhaps the biggest win of his pool career.
The Philippines officially won its second gold in billiard sports after Rubilen Amit retained the women’s 9-ball singles the other day.
A 29-year-old native of Bacolod City, Chua previously won two bronze medals, including the men’s 9-ball doubles with Biado back in the 2019 edition held in Manila.
He posted convincing wins on his way to the final, defeating Laos’ Anongsak Obmalay (9-3), Vietnam’s Thanh Kien Dang (9-4) and Singapore’s Lian Han Toh (9-3).
Biado fell short of regaining the men’s 9-ball gold he won in the 2017 Kuala Lumpur Games after a run that saw him beat Malaysia’s Darryl Chia (9-7), Myanmar’s Thaw Zin Htet (9-3) and Singapore’s Aloysius Yapp (9-7).
Both cue artists had a neck-and-neck at the start, with Biado tying things up for the final time in the 10th rack.
But Chua displayed better pocketing in winning three straight that put himself on the hill at 8-5.
Biado stayed alive in rack No. 14 and even delighted the audience with a pair of tough shots on the next frame.
It looked like Biado was poised to extend the match but missed the 8-ball, allowing Chua to clean out the rack before kneeling on the floor to celebrate the win.
Chua later got his arm raised by Biado, who was equally delighted to see the fellow national team member get his winning moment in the Games.