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Vann Corteza and Osipov win Open/Amateur stops on the Predator Pro Am Tour

Lee Vann Corteza & Jorge Rodriguez

As the Super Billiards Expo (SBE) draws closer (April 12-15), the ‘pool eagles’ have begun to gather, settling into the Northeast and deploying to a variety of locations for some pre-SBE competition. On the weekend of April 7-8, the Philippines’ Lee Vann Corteza, who finished 9th in the SBE’s Players Championship last year, showed up to compete in the Open division of a stop on the Predator Pro Am Tour. Vann Corteza went undefeated through the field of 16 that showed up for the $250-added event, hosted by Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY.
 
A concurrently-run, $750-added (eagles in training) Amateur event drew 83 entrants and was won by Alex Osipov, who came back from a loss in a winners’ side semifinal to win three on the loss side, and down hot seat occupant, Abel Barriento.
 
Belying the type of battles one might expect in an Open event preceding the SBE, the last four standing in this one combined for an aggregate game score of 28-3 in the event’s final four matches. The hot seat match was a shutout by Vann Corteza, while the final three matches – quarterfinal, semifinal and final – yielded 7-1 match scores.
 
Vann Corteza and Jorge Rodriguez fought twice in this event; hot seat and finals. Vann Corteza survived a double hill fight against Zion Zvi in one winners’ side semifinal, while Rodriguez downed Sean “Alaska” Morgan in the other one. Vann Corteza got into the hot seat with a rare shutout over Rodriguez.
 
On the loss side, Zvi picked up Luke Rollison, who’d gotten by Eddie Kunz and Justin Muller, both 7-4. Morgan drew Hunter Lombardo, who’d eliminated Mhet Vergara, double hill and Gary O’Callaghan 7-5. Zvi advanced to the quarterfinals by coming out on top of his second straight double hill match, and was joined by Lombardo, who downed Vergara 7-4.
 
Hunter gave up a single rack to Zvi in the quarterfinals, before Rodriguez gave up only a single rack to him in the semifinals. Vann Corteza completed his undefeated run with a combined (hot seat and finals) match score of 14-1.
 
[photo id=49122|align=right]Osipov wins three on the loss side to meet and defeat Barriento in Amateur finals
 
In the Amateur event, Alex Osipov came back from an 8-6 loss to Abel Barriento in a winners’ side semifinal, to defeat him in the extended-race finals by the same score. Paul Carpenter, after surviving a double hill match against Luis Carrasco, faced Barriento in the hot seat match. Carpenter came out on the losing end of his second straight double hill fight, leaving Barriento in the hot seat.
 
Osipov and Carrasco got right back to work on the loss side. Osipov won an 8-6 match over Gary Bozigian, who’d eliminated Paul Everton 7-4 and Eugene Ok, double hill, to reach him. Carrasco, in a 7-4 win, downed Greg Matos, who’d previously defeated Ramilo Tanglao 7-5 and Corey Avallone 6-4.
 
Osipov took the quarterfinal match Carrasco 9-5, and earned himself a second shot at Barriento with a 9-6 win over Carpenter in the semifinals. Osipov reached his 8 racks first, ahead of Barrieto, in the extended-race finals, and added two to win it 10-6.
 
A Second Chance event that drew 14 entrants saw Max Watanabe down Erick Carrasco, double hill, in the finals to win it. Ray Feliciano and Paul Everton finished in the tie for 3rd place.

Pride Of Scotland Victorious In Challenge Tier II

The first ever Tier II final in the Challenge Cup saw two players both relatively new to GB9, Chris Fraser and Dave Evans, do battle for the title. This tier was designed especially for players looking to develop their games whilst playing tournament standard pool, and these two players have shown their worth in taking their games to the next level.
 
Scotsman Fraser opened his account in the Challenge Cup with a 9-7 victory over London’s Paul Taylor, a result that saw him face Simon Gardner in the last 16. he stepped his game up a gear in dispatching of Gardner by 9 racks to 4. This put him into a quarter final match against Devon’s Jamie Graham. The two players couldn’t be much further apart in terms of residence, but the scoreline couldn’t have been much closer on the day, Fraser winning through once again by 9 racks to 7 and pitting him against Luke Rollison in the final four. It was another 9-4 scoreline that saw Fraser past the finishing post and into his first ever major final on the GB 9 Ball Tour.
 
Evans opened up his campaign against namesake Dave Simmonds in the first round, himself another long time servant of the tour. Evans came out on top by 9 racks to 5 to have him face Joni Holden in the round of 16. Both players served up an excellent match, but Evans came home winner 9-7 to book a place in the quarter final. Here he faced GB9 Chairperson Andy Warden, himself in his best ever finish at a GB9 event, but the Chair was dethroned in a match that Evans won by 9 racks to 6. In the semi-finals he faced Aslam Abubaker, who must be given credit for becoming the first wheelchair player ever to make the semi-finals in any GB9 competition.
His dream run was brought to an end by Evans, however, and Evans took the match 9-5 to secure his place in what was also his maiden final.
With both players fired up for the first ever GB9 final, a close scoreline was expected. However, Fraser stepped his game up another gear to win his first title on the GB 9 Ball Tour, winning the final by 9 racks to 2.