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Centeno shoots for Asian glory

ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan – Chezka Centeno outsmarted Chinese Liu Shash, 7-3, and advanced to the women’s 9-ball singles final in the 5th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games (AIMAG) Thursday night at the Ashgabat Olympic Complex here.

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Centeno, the defending World Games 9-ball champion, took six of the first eight racks against Liu in the Final Four of the Race-to-7 match to prevail.

The 24-year-old Liu won the ninth rack to make it 6-3.

On the 10th rack, the 18-year-old Centeno took advantage of Liu’s miscue to seal the deal to the delight of a small Philippine contingent led by Chef de Mission Monsour del Rosario and Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) First vice president Joey Romasanta.

Centeno, a native of Zamboanga City, is hoping to win her second major title in two months having won the gold medal in last month’s SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Centeno was playing 25-year-old Han Yu of China at press time at the Billiards Sports Arena inside the 53-hectare state-of-the-art complex located outside of the Karakum Desert.

The semifinal win of Centeno ended the day of the Philippines on a positive note after bowler Kenneth Chua and Muay Thai fighter Philipp Delarmino lost in their respective finals events and settled for silver medals.

Chua, 25, lost to Thailand’s Annop Arromsaranon, 247-212, in the men’s singles finals at the Bowling Arena, while the 26-year-old Delarmino suffered 30-27 defeat to Thailand’s Chotichanin Kokkrachai in the -57kg men’s finals at the Muay Thai and Kickboxing Arena.

On the same day, the national team also earned two bronze medals courtesy of veteran Carlo Biado in the men’s 9-ball singles and Al Rolan Llamas in the men’s -60kg in Kurash.