Rubilen Amit (Photo courtesy of Team Philippines)

HANOI – Rubilen Amit delivered the first billiards gold for Team Philippines on Tuesday in the 31st Southeast Asian Games here, beating Singaporean Jessica Chan 7-2 in the finals of 9-ball singles at the Hadong District Sporting Hall.

The Philippines is also assured of the gold medal in men’s 9-ball singles with Carlo Biado, the 2021 US Open champion, facing Johann Chua in an all-Filipino finals Wednesday.

Jeffrey Roda was set to play in the men’s snooker 6-red singles finals late Tuesday night.

Amit, 40, the winner of the 9-ball gold in 2005 and 2009 before shifting to 10-ball, jumped to an early 3-0 lead against the Singaporean but needed to survive some scare along the way.

Chan made it 2-3 before the skillful Amit regained her bearing and won the next four racks to pocket her ninth gold medal in the SEA Games, most of them in 10-ball singles.

“Bahagyang nag-shift ‘yung momentum so focus lang ako. Mahirap ‘yung lamang ka tapos mahahabol ka. Mawawala ka (My momentum slightly shifted so I just played focus. It’s hard when you are losing your lead. Your focus will be affected),” said Amit, who wrapped up the title in one hour and 18 minutes.

Amit pounced on her opponent’s dry break in the ninth and last frame, clearing the table with ease. She smiled as she faced her final shot, then sank the 9-ball into the corner pocket.

The pride of Cebu raised her cue stick with both hands, heaved a sigh of relief, made the sign of the cross and shook the hand of her game opponent.

Amit advanced to the finals after beating Hu Ming Tan of Singapore in the semis 7-2.

Legend Efren “Bata” Reyes is still in the running in the 1-cushion carom singles as well as Chezka Centeno, who lost early in 9-ball singles but is still in the hunt in 10-ball-singles where she is the reigning champion.

Coach Francisco Bustamante is counting on Centeno to deliver the gold. (PR)