MANILA, Philippines – Thirteen-year-old Cheska Centeno of the Philippines kicked off her campaign with a 6-4 win over Japan's Noriko Onoda in the WPA 4th Yalin Women's World 10-Ball Championship yesterday at the Robinson's Galleria in Ortigas.
Before an appreciative crowd, Centeno broke a four-all deadlock and won two consecutive racks en route to victory.
"Mabuti na lamang naging matatag ako sa bandang huli, masyadong dikitan ang laban eh," she said.
But reigning Southeast Asian Games double gold medalist Iris Ranolo, also from the Philippines, was not as fortunate as she dropped her opening match against Kimuka Maki of Japan, 4-6.
"Di sumasablay 'yung kalaban natin eh," Ranola said. "Hanggang sa huli, matatag pa din s'ya, saka malas talaga."
Ranola had a chance to reach the hill but missed a tough 9-ball, allowing her Japanese rival to seize a 5-4 lead.
"Crucial 'yung 9-ball, pero mahirap talaga. Kung naipasok ko 'yun, lamang sana ako ng 5-4 para maging puro ako at ako pa ang sasargo," she said.
With the early setback, Ranola is thrust into a must-win situation against Charlene and Chai of Singapore.
Chai defeated Ranola in the semi-final round of the 2009 Laos SEA Games, but Ranola avenged her defeat after beating Chia in this year's WPA World 9-Ball in China.
At stake in the tournament is the top prize of $21,000.
In other matches, Kyoko Sone of Japan beat Amanda Rahayu of Indonesia, 6-2; Xiao Ting Pan of China beat Shen Men Liu of Chinese-Taipei, 6-2; Lin Hsiao Chi of China beat Nicola Rossouw of South Africa, 6-2; Chang Yang Ting of Chinese-Taipei beat Bokka Junko of Korea, 6-2; and Lai Hui Saan of Chinese-Taipei edged Kynthia Ofrandis of the Netherlands, 6-5. By Marlon Bernardino