Backed by legendary coach, Rubilen Amit pockets 9-ball gold

Rubilen Amit and coach, the legendary Django Bustamante after the 9-ball gold. MARC REYES/INQUIRER

Rubilen Amit and coach, the legendary Django Bustamante after the 9-ball gold. MARC REYES/INQUIRER

HANOI—With a legendary world champion as her coach, how could Rubilen Amit go wrong?

A world champion herself in 10-ball, Amit almost had a perfect run on Tuesday on her way to her third Southeast Asian Games 9-ball title—her ninth overall in the biennial meet—at a packed Ha Dong Gymnasium.

“This is my coach and idol,” said Amit of 2010 9-ball world champion Francisco “Django” Bustamante, who was keeping an eye on a part of her game she’s still working on.

Leading, 3-0, in the final against Singapore’s Jessica Tan, Amit blew a break in the fourth rack. The miscue briefly threw off her momentum, causing her to scratch twice and allowing her opponent to close in at 3-2.

But Amit regained her bearings right after Tan missed a corner 1-ball in the sixth rack. The Singaporean stood up again in the same rack but fumbled a corner 7 ball. That’s all it took for Amit to finally clean it up for a 7-2 decision.

“Not for anything else, but I also felt scared,” said Bustamante in Filipino. “Of course our Filipino billiards fans expect the gold medals from us.”

“I know that she (Tan) wouldn’t easily give up. I expected the match to very close,” said Amit. “Good thing it didn’t come to that because my heartbeat was getting fast. I prefer a big lead.”

The win gave the Philippines its first gold in billiards and snookers but the country is already assured of one more after Carlo Biado and Johann Chua forged a duel for the men’s 9-ball crown on Wednesday.

Amit and Chezka Centeno are also the favorites in the women’s 10-ball that breaks on Wednesday.

“They better watch out for my partner (Centeno),” said Amit.

But Bustamante interrupted her, saying “No, they better watch out for the both of you.”

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