Teen billiards ace to gain WPA Top 10
Olmin Leyba (The Philippine Star) - June 25, 2016 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Four years after first bursting into the international scene by qualifying for the main draw of the 2012 World Women’s 10-Ball Championship as a 13-year-old, Filipina teen sensation Chezka Centeno has arrived as a major player on the women’s tour.

Centeno’s moment of glory came over the weekend in New Taipei City, where she outclassed more experienced rivals, including British World No. 4 Kelly Fisher in the finale, to reign supreme in the eSpring International Women 9-Ball Championship – a ranking event in the World Pool-Billiard Association calendar.

The 16-year-old Centeno, who previously won the gold medals in the World Junior 9-Ball Championship and the Southeast Asian Games, notched her biggest triumph in the ladies’ division yet, earning the biggest paycheck of her young career at $34,000 (over P1.5 million).

“Mas mataas na ang confidence ko (I got a big confidence boost after this win),” Centeno told The STAR when she paid a courtesy call on the Philippine Sports Commission the other day.

Centeno, according to her coach Rodolfo Luat, is expected to move up to the Top 10 of the WPA rankings with her victory in Taiwan. Currently, she stands at 27th in the list.

The pride of Zamboanga will seek to continue her fine showing in the China Open next month, an equally tough WPA ranking tourney featuring some of the best lady cuemasters in the world.

The teener knows all too well she will now be among the marked women in the next competitions.

“More training, kahit umuwi kami sa Zamboanga, training pa rin (I’ll continue training harder whether I’m here in Manila or in our home town in Zamboanga),” she said.

Centeno first caught the eye of Pinoy pool officials when as an 11-year-old, she finished third at the Philippine National Games, pulling off some upsets along the way. She later went on to win the PNG gold at the expense of former world champ Rubilen Amit, and duplicated the feat in the SEAG in Singapore.

She completed an undefeated title run in Taipei, capping it with an 11-8 disposal of Fisher.

“Sobrang saya, hindi ko inexpect manalo kasi nga si Kelly Fisher iyon (The victory is all the more sweeter because I didn’t expect to beat Kelly Fisher, one of the top guns of women’s billiards),” Centeno said.

 

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