Veteran cue masters Lee Vann Corteza and Johann Chua kept the Philippine flag flying as they advanced to the semifinals of the 2017 World Pool Series First Leg – The Molinari Players Championship being held at the Steinway Billiards in Astoria Queens in New York City.
Corteza posted a thrilling 15-13 win over Mika Immonen of Finland in the Round-of-16 and another nerve-wracking 15-13 decision against Naoyuki Oi of Japan in the quarterfinals to earn his spot in the Final Four.
For his part, Chua ousted British players Jayson Shaw (15-11) in the Last 16 and Chris Melling (15-14) in the quarterfinals of the tournament sanctioned by the World Pool-Billiard Association.
Former world champion Dennis Orcollo and Carlo Biado, however, were booted out of contention after suffering defeats in their respective matches.
Orcollo stopped American giant-killer Billy Thorpe in the Last 16 via a 15-7 demolition but bowed to 2012 World 9-Ball titlist Darren Appleton of Great Britain in the quarterfinals, 12-15, while Biado succumbed to Oi, 10-15, in the Last 16.
Corteza will be battling Appleton in the semifinals while Chua takes on Ruslan Chinakov of Russia in the other pairing.
Chinakov made it to the Final Four after beating Karl Boyes of Great Britain (15-11) in the quarterfinals and Alex Kazakis of Greece in the fourth round (15-10).
The champion will receive a whopping $20,000 cash prize while the runner-up gets $8,500 consolation purse.
Legendary cue master Francisco Bustamante, Israel Rota, Ramil Gallego and Alex Pagulayan were the other Filipino participants in the 8-Ball tournament.
The winner of the World Pool Series First Leg will earn an automatic slot in the Grand Finale dubbed as the Predator World Series Championship scheduled on September 27 to October 1.