There is no doubt, the 2021 United States Open Pool Championship has ushered in Carlo Biado as the heir of Efren “Bata” Reyes.
Biado, the 2017 World 9-Ball Pool Champion, blasted young gun Aloysius Yapp of Singapore in the final, 13-8, becoming the second Filipino champion in one of pool’s most coveted championships.
The legendary Reyes, widely regarded as the greatest cue artist all time, was the last Filipino U.S. Open champ way back in 1994.
It was not an easy final for Biado and neither was it an easy road to glory, as winning ten straight racks is never an easy task in pool.
Prior to facing Yapp, Biado had to eke out hill-hill wins against Spain’s top dog David Alcaide in the round-of-16 and usual doubles partner Johann Chua in the quarterfinals.
In the semifinals, Biado had to climb up from a 3-9 deficit against Japan’s top master Naoyuki Oi to an 11-9 victory.
The 25-year-old Yapp, on the other hand, continued on his momentum from his breakthrough World 10-ball Pool Championship last week, blasting America’s best Shane Van Boening in the round-of-16 (11-5), Filipino upstart Rodrigo Geronimo (11-6) in the quarterfinals, and Southeast Asian (SEA) Games tormentor Dennis Orcollo (11-6) in the semis.
Yapp, as usual, showed no fear against Biado as he raced to an 8-3 lead, sparking a string of seven won racks by sinking a short rail bank shot on the two ball in rack five.
Yapp ran out three straight racks and displayed veteran smarts in his safety game in racks nine and ten to keep his streak.
The streak ended in rack twelve as Yapp had a careless preparation to the nine ball, forcing him to shoot and miss an awkward reverse cut. Biado seized the moment and sank the last ball from the break line to start his string of ten racks.
It was Biado’s turn to display his superior breaking, never having a dry break since, and flawless shotmaking even on difficult layouts presented to him by his breaks.
In rack 15, Biado sank a long jump shot on the one-ball and made a difficult 6-7 combo to close the gap at 7-8.
Biado waved his magic wand to tie the game in the next rack, punching a cross-bank on the three ball to the left side pocket and making a 4-7 combo on the opposite end.
Biado finally took the lead after opening the game at 3-1 when Yapp scratched on a cross table draw shot on the two-ball for a Biado runout.
Two breaks-and-runouts from Biado followed, marked by a long 4-6 combo in rack 18 and a flawless jump shot conversion on the one-ball in rack 19.
Yapp was totally drained in his rare chances on the table since, losing a shot off a Biado push out in rack 20 and missing the one-ball on an easy pot to the left side pocket, which cost him the championship.
Biado’s victory marked a resurgence in Pinoy billiards as four Pinoys figured in the quarterfinals.
The final was also the first all-Asian affair in the U.S. Open since 2005, when Alex Pagulayan defeated Amang Parica.
This was also the first major senior finals experience for Yapp, an accomplished pool player in the junior ranks and in the pool and snooker circuit in Southeast Asia, having won the World Junior Pool Championships in 2014 and five SEA Games medals.
Photo: Carlo Biado World Champs TV Facebook page