Current billiards star Amit insists "Bata" still "face of billiards"

PSC (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MAKATI--She may be the current face of Philippine billiards.

But Rubilen Amit somehow downplayed the tag.

"For me, si Tatay Efren [Reyes] pa rin. For me, he will always be the face of Philippine billiards," said Amit, who won the silver medal in the recently concluded SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur, during a homecoming event sponsored by USANA, where she is a sports ambassador, at its main office on Wednesday.

This year, however, Reyes, more known to the world as "Bata", stepped out of the limelight and went behind the scenes, coaching Amit and the rest of the Philippine team alongside fellow pool legend Django Bustamante.

"Makulit sila," Amit shared to Dugout Philippines what the tutelage of Reyes and Bustamante was like.

Joking aside, she continued, "Marami kaming natututunan. With their experience, marami silang nai-impart sa amin na malaking tulong sa amin."

However, Amit admitted that she, Chezka Centeno, Carlo Biado, and Johann Chua still could not help but marvel at seeing "Bata" and Django coaching them.

"Personally, idol ko talaga yung dalawang yun. When I was starting out, napapanood ko lang sila sa TV. And now, here they are, in the national team [at] coaches pa namin. I'm very grateful to learn from them," Amit further said.

The coaching bore fruit as Centeno and Amit set up an all-Filipino women's final with the former winning the down-the-wire championship game.

[Related Story: Centeno prevails anew over Amit in SEA Games final rematch]

Biado, on the other hand, took the gold, while Chua went home with the bronze in the men's side.

Amit hopes that the Philippines' 1-2 finish in women's play and 1-3 finish in the men's will make the Philippine billiards scene shine again.

"Billiards will pick up again kasi marami tayong talents na world-class," Amit expressed her bullishness.

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