Dennis Orcollo and Lee Van Corteza ended a four-year odyssey for the Philippines as they survived Niels Feijen and Nick Van den Berg of The Netherlands, 10- 8, to win the World Cup of Pool yesterday at York Hall in London. The Filipino pair battled to an exchange of leads early, took a four-rack advantage before foiling the furious rally of Feijen and Van den Berg to capture the six-day 9-Ball event and the top purse of $60,000 (P2,580,000).
Cheered by Filipinos based in the English capital, it is the third World Cup of Pool crown for the country and the first since Efren “Bata” Reyes and Francisco “Django” Bustamante took the 2009 event in dramatic fashion on home soil. For Orcollo, it was sweet redemption after he and Roberto Gomez lost to Li Hen-Wen and Fu Jianbo in the 2010 finals. This time, he teamed up with Corteza to achieve perhaps his biggest achievement in a team-competition event.
“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,” Orcollo said in an interview with event organizer Matchroom Sport.
“I would love it for me and Lee Van to defend the World Cup in the Philippines next year as it would be a dream come true to win it again in our home country,” added Orcollo, whose feat came on the first year the tournament was held outside Manila after four straight editions.
Orcollo and Corteza, ranked third and fourth in the rankings of the World Pool-Billiards Association, made it to the Race-to-10 final by beating Chang Jun-Lin and Ko Pin-Yi of Taiwan, 9-7, in the semis. Netherlands, for its part, arranged a title showdown following a 9-4 semis win over Mika Immonen and Petri Makkonen.
In the final, the two protagonists were tied at 3-all when Orcollo and Corteza won the next four racks to grab a commanding 7-3 lead. But Feijen and Van den Berg staged a dramatic comeback by winning five consecutive racks to seize an 8-7 advantage. They had a chance to go on the hill when Feijen missed a shot with two balls remaining.
That set the stage for Orcollo and Corteza to tie the match and later gain a 9-8 lead. A poor shot by Van den Berg in the clinching 18th rack opened the door for the Filipinos to seize the crown, but not without some tense moments. A long shot on the eight-ball by Corteza erased any doubt that the title was theirs for the taking.(J. Terrado, mb)