In what will go down as one of the bravest performances in the history of Hong Kong sport, snooker player Chan Wai-tat kept his nerve quite magnificently to lift Hong Kong to their third gold medal of the Asian Games in the snooker team event. Chan, 26, fought back from 5-4 down in his decisive rubber against Thailand's Noppachorn Noppadon to clinch a sensational 6-5 victory that left the home team devastated. Ignoring the boisterous, partisan home crowd, an ice-cool Chan took advantage of a rare slip-up by Noppachorn, boldly potting a difficult long red after his Thai opponent had played for a safety. With what seemed like every one of the Thai supporters in the Muong Thong Thani willing him to err, Chan then cleaned up and, after potting a brilliant blue ball, put the match beyond Noppachorn's reach. Timothy Fok Tsun-ting, the watching president of the Hong Kong Amateur Sports Federation and Olympic Committee, summed up the atmosphere perfectly. 'I haven't felt like that since my first child was born,' said Fok, when asked about the nerve-jangling finale to an epic match. For Marco Fu Ka-chun, who had also seen off a similarly stiff challenge in his rubber when he beat Phonbun Phaitoon, it was a winning end to a difficult campaign. 'It was really brave of Chan. He showed a lot of courage but for us it wasn't about winning or losing. We would have been happy with a silver . . . it was just a great match,' Fu said. Defeat for Thailand was the bitterest pill. The Thais had lobbied for the inclusion of snooker in the Asian Games hoping it would bring them a gold medal bonanza. Chan's game took on special significance after teammate Chan Kwok-ming crashed 6-0 earlier in the evening against Chachart Trirattanapradit. It was left to Fu to get Hong Kong back in the match, but he went about it the hard way, squandering a 5-1 lead before finally winning 6-5 in the 11th frame against Phonbun Phaithoon. Fu appeared to be on the brink of a sensational defeat but steeled himself for the decisive 11th frame and a break of 48 put him 69-4 ahead. Phonpun made a tentative attempt at saving the game but was unable to find the snookers necessary to outpoint Fu. Fu's near collapse against Phonbun was a carbon copy of his earlier semi-final rubber against Pakistan's Shokat Ali, seen by many people as the singles final that should have been. Hong Kong won the match 2-1 with Fu and a much-improved Chan bagging the honours. Just as he did against Phonbun in the final, Fu stormed into a 4-1 lead but then let Ali back into the match and the talented English-based professional levelled the scores at 4-4 in the best-of-nine semi. Fu's nerve held, however, and he dug in superbly in the ninth and decisive frame to win 73-43. Chan Kwok-ming conceded his game after Fu's win had been secured, losing 4-3 to Farhan Mirza. Elsewhere yesterday, Hong Kong athletes continued to find it heavy weather in a wide range of sports. In badminton, men's and women's singles representatives went out in the first phase although pride was salvaged late in the day when mixed doubles duo Liu Kwok-wa and Koon Wai-chee beat Fumihiko Machida and Yasuko Mizui of Japan 17-14, 9-15, 15-4. In tennis, Hong Kong's last remaining representaive, Melvin Tong Man-chung went out in the last 16, losing 0-6 4-6 to Uzbekistan's Vadim Kutsenko. And there was a pie fight and extra showers as the Philippines scored an easy 93-57 win against the United Arab Emirates in the men's basketball quarter-finals. Birthday boy Zandro Limpot scored 18 points while the predominantly Filipino crowd sang 'Happy Birthday', and then got to blow out his 27th birthday candle, after which his face was dunked in the pie. American coach Tim Cone, who turned 41, was doused with cold water and had to use his tie to wipe off the icing smeared on his face by his players. 'This is just a step along the way,' Cone said after the Group Two game. 'It gets really tough from now on. We have five games over the next six days.' The Philippines built a 20-point half-time lead after feeling their way through a tentative start. Leading the way was forward Kenneth Duremdes, who had 15 of his 19 points in the half. Forward Allan Caidic, who also had 19, found his range in the second period, drilling in four three-pointers. The Philippines play hosts Thailand today and main rivals South Korea tomorrow.