Basketball runs in the family of world billiards champion Rubilen Amit
World 9-ball champion Rubilen Amit with cousin Chris Sumalinog of TNT. Jerome Ascano

IT seems billiards is not the only sport which runs in the blood of former world champion Rubilen Amit.

The petite cue master, a product of University of Santo Tomas, showed up at the Smart Araneta Coliseum Sunday night to cheer and show her support for cousin Chris Sumalinog of TNT Katropa.

The 35-year-old Amit said she and Sumalinog are related to each other on her mother’s side as both champion athletes trace their roots to Cebu.

“Every time may panahon lagi akong nanonood dito,” she related to SPIN.ph. “Siyempre suporta para kay Oping.”

The Texters emerged victorious on this night, rallying from a 78-64 deficit early in the fourth period to stun Barangay Ginebra in the main game of the PBA Philippine Cup.

Sumalinog, part of the Ateneo side that won a string of championships under coach Norman Black from 2008 to 2012, comes from a basketball-playing family.

His father Hermes was a former stalwart at University of the Visayas, while two of his brothers, Michael or ‘Micmic’ and Hermes Jr. suited up for UST and Mapua, respectively.

Amit admitted she also loves playing the game that has been close to her family.

“Basketball talaga ang number one sport ko,” she said. “Pero hindi tayo biniyayaan ng height, kaya napunta tayo sa bilyar.”

The two-time world 9-ball champion (2009 and 2013) said she made it a point to watch Oping in action since she’ll be leaving again this week to compete in a tournament in China.

“Andun kasi ang malalaking tournaments ngayon kaya madalas ako pumunta run. Sabi nga nila ‘Chinese citizen’ na ako,” she said in jest.

A five-time gold medalist in the Southeast Asian Games, Amit said she, Chezka Centeno, and Iris Ranola are likely to play against each other in an elimination match to determine who will represent the country in the billiard’s 9-ball event of next year’s SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

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Billiards will only have the 9-ball competition in both the men’s and distaff side during the 2017 biennial meet.

“Yung host (Malaysia) kasi mas malakas sila sa snooker kaya doon maraming events,” she said. “Sa bilyar, 9-ball lang talaga.”

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