Ko and Kim Earn Player of the Year Awards

It was another tough year for picking the male AZBilliards Player of the Year. There were very good arguments to be made for both Shane Van Boening and Pin-Yi Ko. SVB had finished in the top ten in 88% of his tournaments and enjoyed over a half­dozen victories but Ko had won two World Championship titles in a single year. He is the current World Champion at both 10­-Ball and 9­-Ball. And, crucially, he defeated Van Boening in their head-­to-­head final match at the World 9-­Ball Championships. Ko won narrowly, 13­-11, but he won.
His dual­-championships are the first for any male player since Chia­-Ching Wu owned both the 8-­Ball and 9-­Ball titles in 2005. His quest began when he won the World 10­-Ball in February and then was complete after he won the World 9-­Ball in September. When combined with the two World Junior Championships that he won Ko is now a four­-time World Champion and he is just 26 years old.
Ko also partnered Yu-Lung Chang and won the World Cup of Pool in 2015. If there is any complaint to be made it is that he did not put himself in the arena often enough to satisfy his fans. His calendar for 2016 however, appears to be more active with Ko planning to attend the Turning Stone Classic XXV and the Derby City Classic as a starter.
Our female Player of the Year is a familiar name. Familiar because Ga-Young Kim just continues to excel. Kim once again leads the WPA Rankings and the AZB money leaderboard for all female players. She finished in the top ten in every event in which she competed and took home Championships in four of the eight events in which she played,
She had victories in the China Open, the Women’s Tournament of Champions, the All Japan Women’s Championship and the First Annual Tornado Open. She also stood atop the podium in second place at the WPBA Masters and in third at the Tornado Open Scotch Doubles Division. Her most disappointing finishes of the year were her 9th places at both the Women’s World 9­Ball Championships and the Amway World Open (formerly the Amway Cup).
Our congratulations to both of our new Players of the Year. Both players bring a touch of class to the table and represent our sport in the true style of a champion.