Returning to the finals of the prestigious World Cup of Pool, Filipino ace Dennis Orcollo made sure there was no heartbreak for him and compatriot Lee Vann Corteza this time.
The Filipino duo gave the country its third World Cup crown in eight editions of the tournament after nipping the Dutch pair of Neils Feijen and Nick Van den Berg, 10-8, in a pulsating championship match on Sunday at York Hall in Bethnal Green, East London.
With the victory, Corteza and Orcollo, who are ranked third and fourth in the world rankings, respectively, duplicated the feat of Filipino legends Efren “Bata” Reyes and Django Bustamante as World Cup champions. Reyes and Bustamante won the Cup twice in 2006 and 2009.
The Filipinos, who defeated, Croatia, Singapore, Hungary and Chinese Taipei on their way to the finals, pocketed $60,000 (about P2.6 million) for winning the title.
“There was a lot of pressure and things became very difficult but the Filipino community in London who supported us throughout really helped us through,” said Orcollo.
“I reached the final of the World Cup in Manila in 2010 but we came up short, so it is fantastic to win here in London,” said Orcollo, who, along with his partner then, Roberto Gomez, dropped a 5-10 decision to China in the finals of the tournament three years ago.
“Representing my country is such a big honor for me and I’m very thankful and proud to have won the World Cup of Pool for the Philippines,” Corteza told the tournament’s official website.
Under the winner-breaks format, the Filipinos started strong, opening up a 2-0 advantage, before the Dutch caught up at 3-3. A three-rack string boosted Orcollo and Corteza to a 6-3 lead, before Feijen and Van den Berg rallied to take an 8-7 advantage.
But Feijen missed the black-8 in the 16th rack, giving the Filipinos an open table which they finished off.
On the hill, Corteza buried a long shot on the 8-ball to the corner pocket, after a Van den Berg miss on the pink-4. Orcollo, who broke dry in the 18th rack, sealed the victory by calmly sinking the 9-ball. Cedelf P. Tupas