Corteza makes history
Lee Van Corteza subdued German Thorsten Hohmann, 300-183, in the finals Wednesday to become the first Filipino and Asian champion of Bottledeck.net 77th World 14.1 held in New York City.
Before his collision with Hohmann, a four-time champion, Corteza downed Scotland’s Jonni Fulcher, 200-145, in the semifinals and American Max Eberle, 200-44, in the quarterfinals.
Hohmann actually led Corteza, 146-78, before the 38-year-old pride of Davao City found his rhythm in the second half of the match and worked his way up through 60-ball runs.
With Corteza up, 217-183, Hohmann yielded the table for the last time as Corteza ran 83 balls to seal the outcome and eclipse the accomplishments of Filipino legends Efren “Bata” Reyes and Francisco “Django” Bustamante in what’s considered to be one of the world’s toughest events.
Reyes placed second to American John Schmidt in the 2006 edition, while Bustamante fell short against Niels Feijen of the Netherlands in 2008.
For his part, Hohmann rallied to beat Mika Immonen of Finland in the quarterfinals and trounced Darren Appleton of the United Kingdom in the semifinals.
“I just tried to stay focused. Straight pool takes a lot of concentration. I’m happy to be the first Asian to win the World 14.1” said Corteza, a first-timer in World 14.1 competition.
Corteza also sounded ecstatic on his Facebook post.
“Wow!!! The first Asian to win since 1912 according to history! Can’t contain my happiness in winning this 14.1 title.”
Hohmann was magnanimous in defeat.
“Of course I would have loved to win another World 14.1, but Lee Van played great. He deserves the win,” said Hohmann.
Corteza hinted of things to come when he dumped American John Schott via the 100 ball and out rule in the opener.
In total, Corteza, a five-time Southeast Asian games gold medalist, won 13 matches and pocketed nearly 2,000 balls.
His World 14.1 victory further boosted Corteza’s stock in the international pool arena as it came after his triumph in the 2017 US Open Straight Pool Championship last April.
Corteza also teamed up with Dennis Orcollo to win the 2013 World Cup of Pool for the Philippines.
Corteza’s play earned the admiration of American Danny Harriman, who placed fifth in the World 14.1 this year.
“That Corteza plays so smooth he makes silk look rough,” said Harriman.—ROY LUARCA
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