THE PHILIPPINES’ Anthony Raga came a combination away from the biggest pool victory of his life.

Until nerves got in the way late as the 26-year-old Cebu called “The Dragon” by his peers miscalculated a 6-7 combo in the 25th and final rack that allowed Spain’s David Alcaide to escape with an epic 13-12 hill-hill victory and the European Pool Championship crown Sunday night in Fuda, Germany.

It was a heartbreaking defeat for the former University of Cebu-METC nautical student as he failed to put a little power to that critical shot that would have resulted to an easy clean up of the last two balls and him claiming his biggest triumph to date had he made it.

Instead it was the Spanish conquistador and former two-time World Pool Masters king who went away with the triumph and the top purse worth $30,000 or P1.68 million.

The Filipino money-game monster, for his part, settled for the runner-up prize amounting to $15,000 or P854,000.

It wasn’t a bad performance though for Mr. Raga as he had shown he could hang with the big guns of the sport.

In fact, he caught some big fishes along the way including former world champions Ko Pin-yi of Chinese Taipei, 10-0, in the round-of-32 Friday and Joshua Filler of Germany, 11-9, in the semis two days after.

In the finals, Mr. Raga engaged Mr. Alcaide in a staring match in a duel that saw nine deadlocks and none of the two leading by more than three racks.

In the end though, it was Ms. Raga who blinked in the most crucial moment that cost him the crown. — Joey Villar