KUALA LUMPUR—An impromptu team-building session and birthday celebration could set the tone for an impressive campaign of the national cue artists in the 29th Southeast Asian Games here.
Veterans Efren “Bata” Reyes and Francisco “Django” Bustamante celebrated the birthday of Cheska Centeno before presiding an open forum to plot how they could retain their dominance in the region’s most prestigious athletic conclave.
Centeno, the 18-year old prodigy from Zamboanga City, is nursing a broken heart after a sorry campaign in the World Games in Poland, and Reyes and Bustamante wasted no time in boosting her morale by celebrating her birthday upon her return to Manila last June 30.
Billiard Sports Confederation of the Philippines secretary general Robert Mananquil said Centeno was on her way to claim the gold medal in the women’s 9-ball competition, but a late-match mishap pushed her to a 6-9 setback to Chen Siming of China in the semifinals.
Centeno went on to absorb another loss to Han Yu, 3-9, in the battle for bronze medal to finish fourth in the quadrennial meet.
“Nanghihinayang sila kay Cheska. Nakalamang pa sya ng 7-5 sa Chinese na kalaban niya sa semis, pero kinapos sa bandang huli,” said Mananquil, adding that they are looking to dominate the men’s and women’s 9-ball events as well as the 9-ball doubles of the SEA Games.
“The veterans, Bata and Django, do not want it to happen again in the SEA Games. Kaya habang maaga pa, nag-open forum na sila at tinuruan nila ng maturity si Cheska kasi alam nila na malaki ang potential ng bata na manalo ng ginto.”
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