IRIS Ranola ended the amazing run of teenage sensation Chezka Centeno with a 9-7 victory in the women’s 9-ball final of the Philippine National Games billiards competition on Thursday at the Rizal Memorial Billiards Hall.
The 34-year-old Ranola took an 8-4 lead, which was enough cushion to stave off a late rally by Centeno that ended with a foul on the 16th rack.
Centeno looked headed for a break and run-out for a hill-hill match with the veteran Ranola. The 13-year-old, however, fouled when her cue stick grazed the cue ball while trying to shoot the 3-ball.
Ranola went on to clear the rack to take the gold in the the double-elimination, alternate-break tournament format.
“Maganda ’yung mga tinira namin pero alam ko na mahirap na laban ito. Ayaw talaga bumitaw nung bata,” said Ranola, who did not lose a match en route to the crown.
Ranola, who won two gold medals in the 2011 Southeast Asian Games, admitted to having sleepless nights before the gold medal match.
“Grabe ’yung pressure. Siyempre expectation ng mga tao. Nahirapan ako makatulog. Siyempre ’yung mga officials po natin… gusto namin na andoon pa rin ’yung kumpiyansa nila,” Ranola said.
Ranola’s title victory ended Centeno’s run that saw her defeat former world champion Rubilen Amit twice in the tournament.
“Sayang,” said the shy Centeno, a Zamboanga native.
Meanwhile, Rey Grandea copped the three-cushion carom gold by beating Efren “Bata” Reyes, 48-30.
Lesser-known bets ruled the other cue sports events.
Felipe Tauro beat Rodolfo Lordan, 5-3, to win the snooker 6 red-ball gold medal while Michael Mengorio won over Alvin Barbero, 4-2, to nail the snooker gold.
John Rebong defeated Edgie Geronimo, 11-6, to claim the men’s 9-ball event.
In tennis, Marian Jade Capadocia wound up with two gold medals when she claimed the singles and doubles titles at the Rizal Memorial Tennis Center.
The top-ranked Capadocia beat Edlyn Balanga, 6-3, 6-0, in the singles, and teamed up with Maika Tanpoco to defeat Clarice Patrimonio and Balanga, 6-1, 4-6, (3).
Capadocia is still in contention for a third gold medal in the mixed doubles event when she and Elbert Anasta defeated AJ Lim and Balanga, 6-4, 1-6, (3), in the semifinals.
Many-time Southeast Asian Games judo gold medalist Nancy Quillotes defeated Rocin Rodriguez to win the gold in the 45kg women’s division at the Amoranto Stadium.
Ronald Oranza took the gold in the individual time trial cycling event in Tarlac City with Rustom Lim and Baler Ravina finishing second and third, respectively.