Corteza, Luat Support Guinness Asian Tour

EVERYBODY knows what pool maestro Efren “Bata” Reyes and Francisco “Django” Bustamante can do on top of the Billiard table, everybody knows also how good Lee Van Corteza and Rodolfo “Boy Samson” Luat as a cue artists.

It was a bad news for the Filipino fans when they heard that two of our top cue artists in the Philippines are not joining any of the legs in the Guinness 9-ball Asian Tournament which will set on April 20 to 22 in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Reyes and his kumpadre Bustamante who are both San Miguel Beer endorsers are not participating in the said tournament but according to Harvey Davis ESPN Star Sports Event Management Senior Director, that the absence of Reyes and Bustamante will be good news for other players.

“Nothing will change, this is now their opportunity.” said Davis in a teleconference interview last Wednesday held in ProSolutions office in Makati, City.

Another good news is that two of our flair players in pool assures to support the Asian 9-ball tour, they are Corteza, Champion in the 2006 all Japan tournament and his stable mate Luat, 2006 Asian 9-ball tour Taiwan leg winner and 2006 US Open runner-up.

Billiard and Snooker Congress of the Philippines (BSCP) is in charge to choose who among our cue masters will play in the four slots per legs given to our country. Reigning World Pool Champion Ronato “Ronnie Calamba” Alcano, 2006 World Pool leaque ruler Dennis “Robocop” Orcollo, Doha Asian Games gold medalist Antonio “Ga-Ga” Gabica and silver medalist Jeffrey “The Bull” De Luna are in the lists of possible play in the tournament.

Corteza and Luat has a big chance to participate in the pool because of their outstanding performance that BSCP will be their basis in tapping them to play, according to a source.

Corteza a contender in last year WPC held in Manila was unlucky when he lose to David Alcaide of Spain 8-10 in their knock-out stage match, but promise to do his best in the Asian tour if ever he will have the opportunity to play.

“Pag na kasama ako kahit isa sa mga leg ay malaking karangalan sa akin yun kasi napakaraming magagaling na manunumbok dito sa atin at pangako gagawin ko lahat at mas gagalingan ko pa para makasali muli sa WPC at s'yempre para sa bayan (If I'll be given a break to play in the Asian tour, I will do my best for my flag and country).” said the 27-year-old Corteza who hails from Davao City.

Contrary to the speculations that other players are not supporting the event because of the change of the title sponsor, but beside Corteza and Luat, other Filipino cue artists like Warren “Warrior” Kiamco, also a top contender in Asian tour express his support and he would like to join the pool if ever he will be given the signal to play.

Formerly the Asian 9-Ball Tour, the Guinness 9-Ball Tour has been made bigger and better for players and fans alike with the new partnership between ESPN STAR Sports and Guinness.

Total prize money has doubled to US$320,000 (from US$160,000 for last year's Tour) and the Tour will feature a Grand Final in Bali for the Top 10 players. Winners of each leg will win US$15,000 while the Grand Final Champion will walk away with US$36,000.

With six stops, this is the biggest Tour since its inception in 2003. The Guinness 9-Ball Tour remains the only ranking tour in Asia for players to qualify for the WPA World Pool Championship. The top ten finishers in the Guinness 9-Ball Tour Order of Merit will automatically qualify for pool's most prestigious event, this year's edition slated for Manila in November.

Meanwhile, Corteza said yesterday that he got an official invitation to play in the 2007 WPA World 8-ball Championship on March 1-8 in Fujairah, United Arab Emirates.

Corteza is a consistent Southeast Asian Games 8-ball individual gold winner--- (1999 Brunei), (2001 Malaysia), and (2003 Vietnam).

He finished silver in the 2005 Manila edition but bagged the gold in the 8-ball doubles event teaming up with Gabica.