Johann Chua ends a streak of bronze medals with a charmed run to the gold in men’s 9-ball. —PSC PHOTO.

Johann Chua ends a streak of bronze medals with a charmed run to the gold in men’s 9-ball. —PSC PHOTO.

 

HANOI—The night before their all-Filipino 9-ball final, Johann Chua joked with his roommate, the former World Games and US Open champion Carlo Biado, with whom he would dispute the gold with in the 31st Southeast Asian (SEA) Games.

The overwhelming underdog, the 29-year-old Chua was telling Biado that for him to have a chance, he’d have to break Biado’s arm or something.

That didn’t happen, it was said in jest, after all. But Chua still emerged triumphant because of a huge break in the last frame where he said: “the ball found a way for me to win.”

Biado was on the way to applying tremendous pressure on Chua—who held an 8-6 lead—with a clear shot at the black No. 8 ball for another cleanup that would have pruned the deficit to a frame.

But luck smiled on Chua.

“I was also stunned,” Chua said in Filipino, referring to a flubbed Biado shot which the highly-esteemed pool shark could have made 99-percent of the time. “I asked myself: Is God giving me the gold medal?”

Chua was so sure that Biado would make that one, considering that Biado just drained the No. 7 with a jump shot to wriggle out of a tight spot.

“I mean, there was just that one percent chance a player like Carlo would miss that shot, and it happened today in our match.”

Needless to say, Chua downed the next two balls to prevail in the race-to-9 match.

And while this win means a lot to Chua after bronze medal efforts in the previous three SEA Games, he still believes that it was breaks that gave him this gold.

“In billiards even if you’re the best in the world, even after you make the best shot, you can still fumble the next one,” he said.

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