Corteza rips Django, Tops Pool Derby

MANILA, Philippines -- Lee Van Corteza clustered nine racks, including a golden break in the fifth frame, to trounce Francisco “Django” Bustamante, 13-4, and rule the 10-ball Grand Derby held at the Efren Magic Billiard Center in Pasong Tamo Extension, Makati City, late Thursday.

Down, 0-2, the 27-year-old Corteza found the touch that has given him four Southeast Asian Games gold medals and surged ahead, 9-2, en route to the P140,000 champion's purse. Bustamante settled for P40,000.

“My golden break in the fifth frame was crucial as it gave me the momentum,” said Corteza, who is scheduled to represent the country in the 2007 WPA World 8-ball in Fujairah, United Arab Emirates, on March 1-8, in Filipino.

“I'm also lucky as I'm on the brink of losing to Roberto (Gomez) in the semifinals before he scratched,” added Corteza, who finished runner-up in last December's derby game behind 2006 World Pool League titlist Dennis Orcollo.

Corteza actually missed the No. 5 ball in the 6th rack, but two-time RP Open winner Bustamante opted for a safety shot. Corteza, however, managed to pocket No. 5 via a difficult shot and proceeded to clean up the table.

In the 12th rack, Corteza suffered his third empty break, allowing Bustamante to cut the lead at 3-9.

Bustamante missed an easy No. 2 ball shot in the 13th rack and Corteza cleaned up the table for a 10-3 count.

In the crossover semis, Corteza edged 2007 The Battle of Scandinavia 9-ball winner Roberto Gomez, 11-9, while Bustamante trounced bosom buddy Hall of Famer Efren “Bata” Reyes, 11-2.

Other renowned Filipino pool sharks who competed were 2006 Doha Asian Games silver medalist Jeffrey de Luna, 2006 Asian 9-ball Tour Taiwan leg winner Rodolfo Luat and 1991 Manila Southeast Asian Games gold medalist Leonardo Andam. The one-day event was organized by tournament director Rolly Vicente, event manager Ish Caparras and Shirley Mananap of Puyat Sports.