HANOI, Vietnam — In a battle of roommates, Johann Chua scored a 9-6 upset win over world champion Carlo Biado Wednesday to bag the 9-ball singles gold in the 31st Southeast Asian (SEA) Games at the Ha Dong Gymnasium here.
Chua got the job done after Biado flubbed what clearly looked like a gimme after the two traded fantastic shots going into the 15th rack.
“I think this was really meant for me,” Chua, 29, said moments after winning his first SEA Games gold medal.
Competing in his third SEA Games, the Bacolod City-bred Chua, nicknamed “Bubwit” (little mouse), admitted being nervous the entire match.
“I was nervous all throughout but I really wanted to win this one because this one is for flag and country,” Chua, a two-time All-Japan titleholder, said.
In his previous SEA Games stints, Chua could only win the bronze in the singles in Kuala Lumpur (2017) and bronze again in the doubles with Biado in Manila (2019).
The 38-year-old Biado mesmerized the highly-appreciative crowd with several breathtaking shots but likewise faltered, allowing Chua to pounce on those mistakes.
“That rack was crucial because I knew that if I didn’t take it, it would have been hard for me to win because it’s going to be anybody’s game,” said Biado, a two-time SEA Games gold medalist who displayed impressive sportsmanship as he even raised Chua’s arm after the match.
Biado, who was cool, calm and collected the whole stretch, remained that way even after Chua won their race to nine clash.
“Actually, even before coming here, I knew that he would win this even. I even dreamt about it,” Biado, the US Open 9-Ball king, said afterwards.
Chua, who began playing the game at age nine, defeated Top Lian Han of Singapore, 9-3, in the semifinal round. In the other semis matchup, Biado downed Aloysius App, also from Singapore, 9-7.
Chua’s gold medal was the second for the vaunted national squad after Rubilen Amit ruled the women’s 9-ball event late Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Francisco dela Cruz and Efren “Bata” Reyes settled for a bronze in the men’s 1-cushion carom after losing to hometown bets in the semifinals.
De la Cruz bowed to Tuan Pham Quoc while the 67-year-old Reyes surrendered to Tran Thanh Tu Nguyen to miss on their golden targets.
Reyes, however, will still see action in the three-cushion carom event on Friday.