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RISING PINOY STAR LEE VANN CORTEZA WINS PREDATOR SWEET 16 BY: MARLON BERNARDINO with additions by Dragon Promotions Photo Courtesy of Chito Ines


Champion: Lee Vann Corteza of the Philippines (10,000 Euros) 2nd Place: Rodney Morris of the United State (6,000 Euros) Semi-fimalists: Niels Feijen of the Netherlands and David Alcaide of Spain (4,000 Euros)

MANILA----LEE VANN “THE SLAYER” CORTEZA of the Philippines hacked out an 8-5 victory over Rodney “The Rocket” Morris of the United States in the finals to capture the Predator Sweet 16 Tournament at the Block, SM City North Edsa, Quezon City Tuesday night.

In the first semi-finals, Netherland's top champion Niels Feijen took on USA #2 Rodney Morris. Feijen had earlier defeated #1 USA Johnny Archer, but that wasn't enough to stop Morris. Morris took the 8-5 win to reach the finals. In the other semi-finals, Spain's David Alcaide faced home country favorite Van Corteza. Alcaide won the lag and first break, but it was all Lee Vann from there on out as he cruised to a 8-3 easy win.

In the finals, it is arguable that the best playing Filipino currently was matched against the best playing American. Lee Vann had won the last major in America while Morris has been in his fourth finals in five weeks .

📷 Morris is the hottest player in the USA

The pride of Davao City Corteza, whose stint here is supported by Kopiko and Energen, silently prayed for an opportunity to return the table when he was down 4-0 according to Negros Billiards Stable (NBS) coach Christopher Palses, came back from the grave via seven (7) consecutive racks to seized the 7-4 lead in the race-to-8 finals in the event organized by Dragon Promotions and supported by Predator CEO/ President Karim Belhaj. Morris won the 12th racks to cut the lead at 7-5 count before Corteza took the final rack to escaped an 8-5 victory. For his latest feat, Corteza claimed the top prize of 10,000 Euros while Morris went home the runner-up prize of 6,000 Euros.

"I pity the fool, I want a re-match!", exclaimed Morris jokingly afterwards. "All the Filipinos play great and you really have to play great to beat the. That's why it feels good when you do. He played great against me and deserves this."

“ I would like to thank Sir Jonathan Sy and coach Christopher Palses who always helping my local and international tournament alongside Kopiko and Energen,” said Corteza, currently ranked as No.2 in the world, and his dream to win the WPA World 9-Ball Title.

📷 A very pleased Lee Vann receives his Golden Cat trophy by Predator Group CEO Karim Belhaj alongside Dragon Promotions CEO Cindy Lee

NBS president Jonathan Sy lauded Corteza's latest feat in a separate interview: “He deserves this... I'm really happy for him. This proves once again that the Filipino can be at par with the world's best cue artists.” "World 9-ball title na lamang ang kulang," added Sy, also the chairman of National Collegiate Billiards League (NCBL). Semi-Finalists Niels Feijen of the Netherlands and David Alcaide of Spain didn't go home empty-handed won 4,000 Euros each for reaching the Final Four.

The Predator Sweet 16 is the completion of the Predator billiards competition that was postponed in Spain in 2009. The Last 16 hosted by long-time billiards patron Sebastian “Baste” Chua at the famous Star Billiards Center in Grace Village, Quezon City. The Semi-Finals and Finals was held at the Block, SM City North Edsa, Quezon City, the venue of Predator 10 Ball Championships which starts on Wednesday.

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