|Lee Van Corteza|
The Philippines’ Lee Van Corteza subdued Chinese-Taipei’s Ko Pin-chung, 13-8, on Sunday to win the Malaysian Golden Break 9-Ball Asian Invitational tournament at the Golden Break Snooker and Pool Club in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Corteza showed his class in the semifinals with an effortless 45-minute 11-1 thrashing of Indonesia’s Riyan Setiawan, setting up a showdown with Ko, who beat his elder brother Ko Pin-yi in the other semifinal duel, 11-7.
It was Ko’s second consecutive finals appearance and also his second crushing defeat after losing to Malaysia’s Ibrahim Amir last year.
The semifinals clash between the brothers was neck-and-neck in the first few racks before Ping Chung raced to leads of 7-4 and 10-6.Requiring just one more rack to win and enter the finals, Ko felt the pressure as Pin Yi won the 17th rack to move to within 10-7.
But Ko settled down to reel off rack No. 18 and book a place in the finals against Corteza, the 2010 US Open 10-Ball champion.
Living up to his favorite’s tag, the 32-year-old Corteza showed superior form in the semifinals.
Corteza, a four-time Southeast Asian Games gold medalist, raced to a 9-0 lead against Setiawan, leaving the Indonesian helplessly seated in his chair.
Finally, Corteza committed an error in the 10th rack, giving Setiawan a chance to get to the table and clinch one rack.
That was all Corteza, spearhead of Negros Billiards Stable of Jonathan Sy, would concede as he took the next two racks to wrap up the match and bag the $7,000 top purse plus trophy. Ko Pin-chung received $3,500.
Three other Filipinos, Rodolfo Luat, Antonio Lining and Allan Cuartero, who represented Kuwait, were eliminated in the early rounds.