Filipinos Corteza and Orcollo capture World Cup of Pool crown

It was messy. It was ugly. It was nerve-racking. And for Pinoy fans from all around the world, it was also beautiful.

The Philippine pair of Dennis Orcollo and Lee Vann Corteza etched their names in Pool history by emerging 10-8 winners over Holland in a sloppy but thrilling final on Sunday at the World Cup of Pool in London, England. It's the third title for the Philippines in the eight editions of the team 9 Ball event. Efren Reyes and Francisco Bustamante lifted the cup in 2006 and 2009.

The final rack was a tense affair for both the Pinoys and the Dutch team of Niels Feijen and Nick van den Berg.

Leading 9-8, Dennis Orcollo broke dry, and it seemed that the Dutch could force a final-rack decider. But van den Berg muffed a four ball down the rail, ceding the table to the Philippines.

Orcollo played poor position in sinking the seven ball, leaving a difficult thin cut on the eight for Corteza, whose form had been shaky all throughout the final.

ALSO READ: UST forces rubber match against NU.

But the Davaoeño displayed no nerves at all in draining the shot and leaving his partner with shape on the nine ball. Orcollo knocked it in, sending the dozens of Filipinos at York Hall into rapture.

The last eight ball was fitting redemption for Corteza, who made some uncharacteristic errors in the roller-coaster title match.

"The fans here are why we won" said Orcollo afterwards."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."

The Philippines sprinted to an early 2-0 lead before Holland steadied the ship to lead 3-2. Then the Philippines reeled off five consecutive racks to gain a stranglehold on the match at 7-3, with Holland always finding awkward situations on the table and making mistakes in crucial moments.

Then Lee Vann missed a two ball in rack eleven to permit the Europeans to peg one rack back. In the next rack Corteza again stumbled, completely whiffing a tough but doable jump shot on the eight ball. That allowed the Dutch to pull to within two, 5-7.

Feijen and van den Berg then broke-and-ran out the next two racks to level at 7-7. A weak safety by Orcollo in rack fifteen gave the Dutch yet another opening which they seized for 8-7.

In rack 16 Feijen rattled an awkward but makeable 8 ball to allow the Pinoys first access to the hill at 9-8. The former 14.1 world champ needed to put follow on the long shot to avoid scratching and to get position on the nine, which probably caused him to miss.

ALSO READ: Here's your chance to win tickets to the 2013 NBA Global Games.

That set up the memorable final rack that propelled Corteza and Orcollo into the pantheon of World Cup of Pool champions.

The Philippines reached the final thanks to a superb 9-7 semifinal win against Chinese Taipei stars Chang Jung Lin and Ko Pin Yi. Like the final, the Philippines put up a big lead, 7-2, before the Formosans found their groove and reeled off five racks in a row, the last four break-and-run-outs, to knot the match at 7-7.

Orcollo and Corteza then took the last two racks to secure a finals berth.

Holland booked their finals ticket with a 9-4 win over defending champs Finland. Mika Immonen and Petri Makkonen will be pleased that they won eight straight matches in this event dating from last year.

The Philippine duo will split the US$60,000 top prize while the Dutch settle for US$30,000. The victory should help erase the memory of Orcollo's last final appearance in the WCOP, in 2010, when he and Roberto Gomez were upset by China's Li He Wen and Fu Jian Bo 10-5 in Manila.

This year the Philippines bounced Croatia 7-4 in the first round, then defeated Singapore 7-3 before downing Hungary 9-1 in the quarterfinals.

The win extends a terrific year for both Pinoys. Orcollo recently won the US Open One Pocket championship while Corteza triumphed in the 2013 China Open.

Follow Bob on Twitter @bhobg333. Special thanks to Lorenz Laureola and Cakti Aswan for their invaluable help.