by Jonas Terrado
Carlo Biado ended his search for one of the biggest titles in pool yesterday after beating Roland Garcia, 13-5, in an all-Filipino final to capture the World 9-Ball Championship at the Al-Arabi Sports Club in Doha, Qatar.
Biado completed his long-overdue ascension to world title status after winning the first seven racks on his way to end the country’s seven-year drought in the prestigious event.
The 34-year-old native of La Union, who used to carry golf clubs as a caddie before setting his sights on the cue stick, became the fifth Filipino to win the World 9-ball crown.
Efren “Bata” Reyes became the first amid huge fanfare in Cardiff, Wales in 1999, Ronnie Alcano won in front of his home fans in 2006 while Francisco “Django” Bustamante ruled the 2010 edition when the tournament moved to the Middle East.
Alex Pagulayan was also crowned champion in 2004 also in Cardiff while representing Canada.
Biado had stared the world titles of different forms of the sport numerous times in the past only to lose the matches that mattered. He was not to be denied this time.
In winning all nine matches in Doha, Biado completed the biggest year of his career following victories in the men’s 9-ball of the World Games in Poland and the Kuala Lumpur Southeast Asian Games.
Garcia, 36, settled for a runner-up finish after coming out of obscurity to reach the final.
Once considered a protege of Reyes, a fellow Kapampangan, Garcia competed in various money game events before moving to Thailand to play in the pro circuit.
Garcia also reached the final by going unbeaten, but his dream run was finally derailed when Biado completed the last stop of his world title search.