Filipino Cue Master Lee Vann Corteza Wins Asian Invitational Championship; Pockets $7,000

Lee Van Corteza

FILIPINO cue master Lee Vann Corteza of the Philippines won the 3rd Golden Break 9 Ball Invitational Championship 2011 title Sunday at the Golden Break Snooker & Pool Club in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The top player of Negros Billiards Stable and JSY Sports Corteza, also know as "The Slayer",  pocketed the top prize of US $7,000 plus elegant trophy after defeating challenger Taiwanese cue wizard Ko Ping Chung with a score of 13-8 in the finals. Ping Chung settled for US$3,500 and the Runner Up trophy.

Corteza's entry into the Finals was highlighted by a victory over Indonesian Riyan Setiawan, 11-1, in the Semi-Finals, while Ping Chung advanced to the hot seat via a win over his older brother, Ko Pin Yi, 11-7.

The Davao City native Corteza, earlier beat Dominic Ting of Malaysia, 10-5, in the round-of-32, Nguyen Anh Thuanh of Vietnam, 10-9, in the round-of-16 and Toh Lian Han of Singapore, 11-5, in the round-of-8, respectively.

" I would like to thank Sir Jonathan Sy and coach Christopher Palses who always helping my local and international tournament alongside Kopiko and Energen," said Corteza, currently ranked as No.8 in the world, and his dream to win the WPA World 9-Ball Title.

Corteza, whose stint here is supported by Kopiko and Energen was in total control throughout the Finals took a 3-0 lead before Ping Chung tied the match at 7-all count in the 14th racks. However, Corteza took six of the seven racks to enroute 13-8 victory.

NBS president Jonathan Sy lauded Corteza's latest feat in a separate interview: "He deserves this... I'm really happy for him. This proves once again that the Filipino can be at par with the world's best cue artists." "World 9-ball title na lamang ang kulang," added Sy, also the chairman of National Collegiate Billiards League (NCBL) and co-founder of Billiards Managers and Players Association of the Philippines (BMPAP).

The tournament is participated by contestants from Brunei, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Philippines, Taiwan, China, Japan, Korea, India, Vietnam and Hong Kong.

Other  top Filipinos who competed in the tournament were Antonio "Nikoy" Lining and Rodolfo "Boy Samson" Luat.