Centeno stuns Amit in 9-Ball

By Joey Villar, The Philippine Star
Posted at 05/27/2013 12:48 PM | Updated as of 05/27/2013 12:48 PM
MANILA, Philippines - Teen sensation Cheska Centeno stunned former Southeast Asian Games gold medalist Rubilen Amit and hacked out a 7-6 victory in the 9-Ball competition of the PSC-POC Philippine National Games at the Rizal Pool Hall yesterday.

Centeno, a 13-year-old lass from Zamboanga City who took the bronze in this same event two years ago in Bacolod City, prevailed in a hill-hill match to advance to the next round while sending the fancied Amit to the brink of elimination.

“She is talented and has a big fighting heart. She has bright future that’s for sure,” said Amit, a former World 10-Ball champion, of Centeno.

Dany Funelas shared the spotlight as he pocketed his third gold by ruling the canoe men’s 200m race in 51.57 seconds, beating Hermie Macaranas in 52.27 and Reymart Nevado in 5.76 at the Manila Bay fronting Roxas Boulevard.

Funelas earlier topped the men’s canoe 500m and dragon boat 10-crew 500m as part of the Taytay Boys squad.

Jonard Saim and Nikko Huelgas timed in 1:02.34 and 1:03.15 for the silver and bronze medals, respectively, while Mirasol Abad and Bic Ferreria took the silver and bronze by clocking 1:14.42 and 1:28.23 in the distaff side.

Over at the Rizal Tennis Center, heavy favorite Johnny Arcilla smashed Roderick Lazaro, 6-2, 6-0, to advance along with 14-year-old AJ Lim, Elbert Anasta, PJ Tierro and Marc Reyes.

Lim overpowered Leo Laping, 6-0, 6-0, Anasta dumped brother Rollie, 6-2, 6-2, Tierro blasted Radha Reyes, 6-1, 6-2, and Reyes downed Jessie Villarin, 6-0, 6-1.

Meanwhile, the country’s priority athletes were once again reminded to give it their best or they will pay the price.

Project director Jolly Gomez of the Philippine Sports Commission said the athletes from the 10 priority sports must prove their worth against the rest of the participants.

The priority athletes, gold medalists in the 2011 SEA Games in Indonesia as well as winners in recent world championships, receive monthly allowances of P40,000 each from the PSC.

Gomez said if they don’t fare well in the PNG, they will face the possibility of having their allowances cut. He said winning the gold in the PNG is not enough.

“If these athletes win but end up way off the national record, then it means there’s no improvement,” said Gomez, also a PSC commissioner.

He said it will then be up to their respective NSAs (national sports associations) to decide whether they should remain in the list of priority athletes or others will have to take their place.

“Especially in measurable sports, their times or their weights will be very important – if their time or the weights that they left is below the standard. Winning is not enough,” said Gomez.

On the other hand, athletes who are not in the priority list but would excel in the PNG will be highly considered for inclusion in the national pool regardless of experience or where they come from.

The PNG, which drew close to 10,000 athletes in 41 sports, kicked off last Friday in different venues in and around Metro Manila.

But the action in the high-profile sports like athletics, boxing, swimming and taekwondo is just about to start with boxing and taekwondo today at the Rizal Memorial Sports Center, athletics on Thursday also at RMSC and swimming also on Thursday at Philsports in Pasig.

Chairman Richie Garcia of the PSC called on all members of the national pool to compete because it’s a chance for them to prove that they are the best in the land in their respective events.

“All priority athletes must compete and win. Otherwise, they don’t have any business being there,” said Garcia. – With report from Abac Cordero