FILIPINO pool stalwarts Dennis Orcollo and Lee Van Corteza notched impressive first round victories Sunday even as Efren “Bata” Reyes avoided early elimination on Day 2 of the 2013 World 9-Ball Championship at Al-Arabi Sports Club in Doha, Qatar.
Seeing action in Group 16 of the 128-player tournament, Orcollo debuted with a 9-1 drubbing of Majid Gharehgozlou of Iran, while an in-form Corteza, the reigning China Open champion, also blitzed Lebanon’s Mohd Ali Berjawi, 9-1, in Group 13.
Reyes, who lost his opening-round game to Hsu Kai-lun of Chinese-Taipei, rebounded with a 9-4 victory over Shawn Wilke of the United States to stay in contention for a spot in the knockout stage.
The Philippines has the most number of entries in the $250,000 tournament with 14 players, including Marlon Villamor who started strong in Group 16 with a 9-4 triumph over Kong Bu Hong of Hong Kong.
One of the four Filipinos who lost their Day 1 assignments, Carlo Biado came out strong by downing Saleh Ameen of Qatar, 9-4, to stay alive. Also bouncing back was Mark Antony, who overcame Hori Ryoji of Japan, 9-7.
Recky Boy Puro became the first Filipino casualty, bowing to Great Britain’s Phil Burford, 6-9, in the losers’ bracket.
Looking to continue his brilliant play this year, Corteza made quick work of his Lebanese foe to underscore his billing as one of the favorites in the tournament.
Corteza has spent most of the year overseas, winning the China Open in May, before topping the Southern Mississippi Classic in June.
The Davao-born pool star came into the World Championship on the back of second and third place finishes in the Japan Open and the US Open 10-ball tournament.
“I’ve been playing well for the last few months,” the travel-weary Corteza was quoted by www.wpa-pool.com as saying. “My game is in good shape.” Cedelf P. Tupas