Veteran international campaigner Lee Vann Corteza earned a spot in the knockout phase after topping the group stage of the 77th World 14.1 Straight Pool Championship being held at the Steinway Billiards in New York City.
Corteza got the top seeding following his 6-1 win-loss card in Group 2.
On the final day of elimination, Corteza toppled Americans Tom Karabotsos via an impressive 100-18 decision and James Heller by virtue of another sterling 100-15 victory.
Corteza, the reigning US Open 14.1 Straight Pool champion, earlier blasted Americans Jorge Rodriguez (100-36), Bob Coates (100-45) and John Schott (100-0), and Rhys Chen of Jamaica (100-69).
The Filipino cue master suffered his lone defeat at the hands of four-time World 14.1 Straight Pool champion Thorsten Hohmann of Germany (45-100) in the second day of the tournament sanctioned by the World Pool-Billiard Association.
Hohmann and Hernandez both ended the elimination round with the same 6-1 cards.
But the two players wound up second and third, respectively, when the quotient system applied.
Heller was fourth with 4-3 while Schott, Karabotsos and Chen were in fifth with 2-5 each.
Without a win in seven games, Coates has been eliminated in the tournament.
Leading Group 1 were Del Sim of Scotland (7-0), defending champion Mike Immonen of Finland (6-1), and Americans Danny Hariman (5-2) and Robert Magdejilan (4-3) while Darren Appleton of Great Britain (7-0), and Americans Tony Robles (6-1) and Hunter Lumbardo (5-2), and Olli Turkulainen of Finland (3-4) bannered the qualifiers in Group 3.
American Max Eberle, undefeated in seven outings, led Group 4 along with Americans John Schmidt (6-1), Jonni Fulcher (4-3), Danny Barouty (4-3) and Sean Morgan (4-3).
In the knockout stage, Corteza as well as Appleton, Schmidt, Hohmann, Immonen, Robles, Sim and Eberle hold a first-round bye.