MANILA, Philippines - Jeff de Luna saved the best for last as he prevailed over Johann Chua by three racks in the three-day King of Sports Race-to-33 10-ball Challenge that ended Monday night at King of Sports Resto Bar.
Facing a 16-22 deficit after two days, De Luna unleashed a fierce rally, securing the 17 racks he needed to get to 33 ahead of Chua, who managed only eight sets in the final day.
The power-breaking De Luna thus won $1,000 for winning the one-on-one showdown played over three days, making a fitting follow-up to his victory in the inaugural KoS Battle of the Kings 10-ball Challenge Friday night.
Chua seized an 11-6 lead in the first match then won a hill-hill battle in Round 2, 11-10, to go into the last day with a six-rack cushion.
But De Luna had no intention of giving up.
The 30-year-old veteran won eight of the first 10 racks to catch up with Chua at 24-all, reducing the duel to a race-to-9.
De Luna overtook Chua at 28-27 as he pounced on the latter’s foul shot on the 3-ball for the go-ahead. A dry break, though, allowed Chua to tie it up at 28.
After a positional battle in the next rack, Chua scratched on the 2-ball and De Luna quickly took advantage to regain the lead. De Luna won the succeeding set then capitalized on Chua’s fouled banked shot on the 1-ball to make it 31-28.
Chua cut the deficit to one after De Luna’s dry break but surrendered the table again with a miss on a 1-5 combo, allowing the latter to get on the hill.
De Luna’s bungled shot on the 6-ball gave Chua the opening to threaten at 30-32 but he broke dry in the next rack, leaving De Luna with a virtually open table that he cleared for the clincher.