TALENT is indeed a great equalizer.

Female pool superstar Rubilen Amit admitted that being booted out from the national team was a bitter pill to swallow.

But instead of sulking, the Mandaue City native rolled with the punches and showed that she is not one to back down from challenges.

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Amit’s perseverance and hard work finally paid off in 2009 when she became the country’s first woman world pool champion by winning the JBETPoker.Net World 10-Ball Championships at the SM North in Quezon City.

That magnificent feat, just one of her remarkable achievements, didn’t escape the scrutinizing eyes of the members of the Sportwriters Association of Cebu, who named Amit the Athlete of the Year during the 28th SAC-San Miguel Beer All-Cebu Sports Awards last night at the Casino Español de Cebu.

Becoming what she is today in the pool circuit was less expected, as Amit did not start playing billiards until she turned 13.

Amit had dominated local and international tilts when she decided to hang her cue sticks shortly after graduating from the University of the East with a degree in Bachelor of Science in Accountancy.

Amit then worked in a call center for a year but the call of patriotism prompted the pool star to come out of her self-imposed retirement.

Upon her return, Amit immediately created an impact when she pocketed two gold medals in the 2005 Southeast Asian Games.

But despite her significant contribution in the country’s billiards campaign that included a decent second-place finish in the Women’s World 9-Ball Championship in 2007, Amit got the shock of her life when she, along with Mary Ann Basas and Iris Rañola, was kicked out from the national team in July 2008 by then Billiards and Snookers Congress of the Philippines president Ernesto Fajardo.

Then came the winning of the prestigious 2009 JBETPoker.Net World 10-Ball Championships, which gave Amit a vindication of sorts.

In collaring the title, Amit overcame a star-studded field of 48 cue players coming from around the world.

In the quarterfinal round, Amit stunned former world number one Jeanette “The Black Widow” Lee before disposing of Japan’s Akimi Kajitani in the semis.

Amit completed her historic feat by thrashing two-time women’s world nine-ball champ Shin-Mei Liu of Taiwan, 10-4, in the finals. The title actually didn’t come on a silver platter as Amit started the tournament with a 1-5 loss to world No. 1 Kelly Fisher.

Once again displaying her never-say die attitude, Amit bounced back strong by nailing eight straight wins en route to winning the historic title.

Talent coupled with perseverance definitely pays off for athletes like Amit. (Pooled Report)