MANILA, Philippines -- Reigning U.S. Open champion Carlo Biado is gearing up for a busy 2022 that includes a possible campaign in the Southeast Asian Games in Vietnam.
Biado is set to return to the Philippines this week after winning the U.S. Open in New Jersey last September 18, when he clawed back from a five-rack deficit to defeat Singapore's Aloysius Yapp, 13-8, in the final.
He is the first Filipino to rule the prestigious nine-ball tournament since the iconic Efren "Bata" Reyes won in 1994. Biado is now expected to represent the Philippines in several more events next year, including the SEA Games and the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games (AIMAG).
"Itong pagkapanalo ko (sa U.S. Open), malaking tulong 'to," Biado said recently. "Nabigyan ako ng kumpyansa para sa darating na SEA Games at saka 'yung AIMAG."
The AIMAG is set for March 10 to 20 in Thailand, while the SEA Games is also pegged for early 2022 though organizers in Vietnam have yet to announce a final schedule for the biennial event.
Biado will also compete in the World Games in Birmingham, Alabama from July 7 to 22, as well as events in the professional pool circuit.
The SEA Games is the one event that Biado is particularly looking forward to, however, given the relatively disappointing result of their campaign in Manila in 2019. Biado didn't make the podium in the 10-ball singles, falling in the quarterfinals to Indonesia's Ismail Kadir. In the 9-ball doubles, he and partner Johann Chua settled for bronze.
"Iniisip ko na 'yun, na sana, kami 'yung maipadala ulit sa SEA Games, para makabawi kami, dahil nag-bronze medal lang kami ni Johann Chua noong nakaraang SEA Games," said Biado. "Sana, kami ulit 'yung maipadala sa SEA Games para makabawi ako, at makabawi rin kami."
Biado anticipates that he may face off against Yapp once again in the SEA Games. The Singaporean won a bronze in the 10-ball singles and a silver in the 9-ball doubles with partner Toh Lian Han in Manila 2019.
"Pwede niya akong paghandaan kasi may darating na SEA Games. Alam niyang tinalo ko siya, so pwede niya akong balikan," Biado said of the 25-year-old Yapp. "So siyempre, hindi naman ako papayag na babalikan niya ako ng ganun-ganun na lang."
"Siyempre, paghahandaan ko rin sila," he vowed.
According to Robert Mananquil, secretary-general of the Billiards Sports Confederation of the Philippines (BSCP), four billiards events have been included in Vietnam's SEA Games program. However, it remains to be seen if organizers will change this, given the uncertainty surrounding Vietnam's hosting.
The SEA Games Federation has given Vietnam until October to decide whether to host the SEA Games in 2022 or cancel it outright.
Biado has previously won gold in men's nine-ball singles in the 2017 SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur, and gold in men's nine-ball doubles in the 2015 SEA Games in Singapore where he partnered with Warren Kiamco.