Corteza earns 2nd place in 8-ball Finals


The four times Gold Medallist Lee Van Corteza aka Van Van fell shot to sustain his momentum in the tournament and surrendered Russian Ruslan Chihanov to settle for the runner-up honors in the World Pool Series-Molinari Player’s 8-Ball Championship held at Steinway Billiards in Astoria, New York City on Wednesday.

After defeating Darren Appleton from Great Britain, 18-16 in the semifinals, the 37-year-old Corteza found difficult to win over 23-year-old Chinakhov, who continued with his gradient in the billiards track with the victory.

Chihanov bagged the top price of $20,000 with the triumph, which also remained as a scourge for Pinoy cuemasters as he earlier trashed Johann Chua back in the semifinals, 15-8. Chua earned $5,250 and 50 ranking points for finishing joint third.        

Corteza that netted $8,500 (over P400,000) in the $100,000 8-ball tournament and notched 40 ranking points going to the next legs of the four-event tour said

“I missed a couple of shots, the 8-ball in one rack, then the 10-ball in another,”

“I just had bad luck today. I couldn’t get good layouts on the break, or I have no shot on the break. It was very difficult to figure out what to do. He broke fantastic and was always getting shots and he had the momentum. I was also feeling a bit tired.

“But he deserved to win. He broke better than me, he really had power on the break. I’m still happy because I played good this week. This is one of my best finishes in a while so I just have to go to the next event and I feel really good about my game.

Corteza opened the league with dominating victory over American Carl Khan 13-3, then moved ahead to fend off America’s Frankie Hernandez in the second round 13-10. Nick Ekonomopoulos from Greece was his next victim, 13-8.  

In the last 16, Mr. Corteza improved to Mika Immonen from Finland, 15-13, to cement a spot in the quarterfinals where he edged Japanese Naoyuki Oi, 15-13.

For the second time Chihahov defeated a Filipino in this strong 128-man field en route to the championship. He earlier defeated Johann Chua, 15-8, in the semifinals during The 2010 8-Ball World Cup.