MANILA---Huidji See of The Netherlands joined the WPA World 10-Ball Championship Tuesday with little expectations.
By the end of the tournament five days later, he walked away with the championship trophy and the biggest purse of his career.
Flashing nerves of steel, the 29-year-old naturalized Dutchman of Chinese origins overcame Fu Jianbo of China, 11-8, yesterday in a finals match devoid of the usual hometown cheering at the World Trade Center in Pasay City.
Fu earlier halted Filipino Carlo Biado’s remarkable run with a 9-5 victory to set up the finals duel with See, who eliminated Yukio Akakariyama of Japan, 9-6, in the other semifinal duel.
See, who won $60,000 (about P2.7 million) duplicated the feat of fellow Europeans Darren Appleton of England, who ruled the inaugural edition in 2008, and Mika Immonen of Finland, who topped the event two years ago.
“This is like a dream (winning a world championship),” said the soft-spoken See, the winner of the US Open 10-Ball title four years ago.
“I knew that I could play well but to really execute it is just great. Hopefully this will turn my career around,” added See, who grew up in Arnhem.
See quietly climbed out of the losers’ bracket, eliminating German Ralf Soquet, 9-4, to reach the knockout phase.
“Beating Ralf gave me the confidence that I could beat everyone else,” said See.
After bundling out top Filipino bets like World No. 1 Antonio Lining, world champion Dennis Orcollo and Ronnie Alcano in the earlier rounds, Biado looked poised to go all the way.
But admittedly pressured by the enormity of the occasion, the La Union ace made two early errors in the semifinals, allowing Fu to zoom to an 8-1 lead.
“I felt the pressure since I was the only Filipino left,” said Biado, who eliminated Orcollo, 9-4, Saturday night. “I really wanted to win for the country.”
Fu advanced against Biado by ousting Lee Van Corteza, 9-8.
Biado hardly slept on the eve of the semifinal and needed time to settle. Photo by Raya Sports