Carlo Biado ended a 27-year drought for the Philippines with a stunning 13-8 victory over Aloysius Yapp of Singapore in the final of the 2021 US Open Pool Championship in Atlantic City.
Biado came from behind and won the last 10 racks to become the first Filipino to win the US Open since his boyhood idol Efren Reyes won it in 1994.
"I'm very happy because this event is one of my dreams," the 37-year-old said as he fought back tears. "I dedicate this to my family, also to my baby. Thanks to all of you. Even in the time of pandemic, you're still here watching around the world."
Midway through the match, it looked like it wouldn't happen for the Filipino. After he took an early 3-1 lead, Yapp stormed back to win the next seven racks and take a commanding five-rack lead. But the match turned in the 12th rack when the Singaporean missed a delicate cut on the 9 ball, allowing Biado to steal the rack and kickstart his comeback.
A lifeline that Biado most desperately needed! A missed 9 from Yapp presented a golden opportunity for Biado to get his fourth rack on the board. He trails Yapp 8-4.#USOpenPool 🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/z0NJesc8oe— Matchroom Pool (@MatchroomPool) September 18, 2021
Yapp wouldn't win another rack as Biado swept the last 10 racks to bring home the trophy and the top prize of $50,000. After sinking the final 9 ball in the 21st rack, the Filipino let out a yell, pumped his fist three times, and got up on the table to celebrate.
It was a painful loss for the 25-year-old Yapp, who prevented an all-Filipino final by ousting Dennis Orcollo in the semifinal.
"I am lost for words," said Yapp, who took home $25,000. "I feel grateful to be in the final and all the fans have been awesome so thank you. I know I can do it. I am coming back stronger next year."
Biado reached the final by rallying past Japan's Naoyuki Oi, 11-9, in the other semifinal.
The 42-year-old Orcollo, who reached the last four undefeated, looked set to reach the final first after leading early on in his semifinal against Yapp.
After the Singaporean missed the 1 ball in the opening rack, the veteran quickly pounced on the opportunity as he built a 3-0 lead.
Orcollo looked like he was in control of the match, leading 5-2, but Yapp went on a ferocious comeback. The Singaporean started with a solid safety at the 1 ball, which forced a scratch for Orcollo and ball-in-hand. It was the only opening Yapp needed as he claimed eight straight racks to put himself on the hill, 10-5.
With victory close at hand, Yapp took a chance on the next rack as he tried a jump shot on the 2 ball while using the bridge as could not reach the center of the table with his arm. It resulted in a scratch, giving Orcollo the chance to see the table again.
It would prove to be a meek response from Orcollo as Yapp finished things off on the very next rack. The youngster hit an impressive 5-8 carom to open the table for the final time as he became the first ever Singaporean to make it to the final of the U.S. Open.
Orcollo did not go home empty-handed though as he pocketed a handsome prize of $12,000 for reaching the semifinals.
In the second semifinal, Biado built an early 4-0 lead and looked like he would cruise to an easy win. However, his Japanese foe battled back as he won the next eight racks. It wasn't all breaks and run outs as he even missed a 9 ball on Rack 10 but Biado simply could not take advantage.
With Oi leading 8-4, Biado mounted a counter-attack as he won the next four racks for an 8-8 deadlock.
Rack 20 would prove to be the most dramatic of the entire semifinals with Biado leading 10-9. Oi made a beautiful shot at the 1 but snookered himself behind the pink 4 ball as he prepared to pocket the 2 ball.
After an exchange of safeties, Oi hit a great cut at the 2 ball but the ball somehow refused to fall. Biado then pocketed the 2 but in a cruel twist of fate snookered himself behind the pink 4 ball, exactly what happened to Oi earlier in the rack.
The Filipino, however, pulled off a gorgeous kick safety, which led to a scratch from Oi, and that would be the opening Biado needed to book a ticket into the Finals.
The championship is Biado's second major world title after his 2017 World Pool Championship conquest. He also ended a string of painful defeats suffered by Filipinos in the final of the US Open. After Reyes broke through in 1994, he lost in the final for three years a row. Jose "Amang" Parica lost in 2003 and 2005, Rodolfo Luat in 2006, Ronnie Alcano in 2007 and 2008, Orcollo in 2012 and 2014, and Lee Van Corteza in 2013.