Once again Shane Van Boening proved why another nickname besides the "South Dakota Kid" has emerged these past few years. " Mr. 10 ball" as he has been known lately, has been given to him based on his domination of any kind of 10 ball tournament or challenge match for several years now. His win yesterday was his second in back to back years of the Derby City Bigfoot challenge. Combine that with his yearly robbery of the Super Billiard Expo Professional division which is a 10 ball format tournament along with many other 10 ball titles and money match wins, he has solidified himself as the best 10 ball player in the world.
Yesterdays matches began with two Filipino players squaring off in the first of two afternoon semi-final matches, it was Jefferey Ignacio against Lee Van Corteza. Ignacio who is perhaps a lesser known to North Americans made some noise in his previous match beating tournament favourite Dennis Orcollo 11-8. I was fortunate enough to watch him play a few weeks ago at the Turning Stone Classic, it was my first time seeing him play live and I have to admit I was taken aback by his offensive prowess. Ignacio reminds me and many others of his countrymen and hall of fame inductee Francisco Bustamante.
In his match against Corteza there were two contributing factors to his 11-7 loss. The first would have to be his scratching on the break, Ignacio even moved the cue ball to different areas a few times but consistently scratched in the side. Corteza was able to rack up as many as 4 free games off these errors. The other factor was some strong safety play by Corteza and some poor safety play from Ignacio. The Filipinos as a whole are known for their high offensive style of play however Corteza plays a rock solid positional game and very consistent, I would say his style falls more into the European style of play.
In the other semi-final of the day, Canadians had high hopes with Alex Pagulayan vs Shane Van Boening. Pagulayan has been playing mostly snooker as of late and early on in this Bigfoot Challenge against Jayson Shaw and John Morra it looked to be an advantage for him on the 10 foot table. Also SVB in his previous matches against Johnny Archer and Jason Klatt had looked human at times and not the unbeatable SVB we are used to seeing. Thus it looked like Pagulayan would have a good chance to move into the final. However as the commentators mentioned, SVB had been practicing until 3 am the night before and came into his semi-final well prepared. Even with the practice no one expected the scoreline to be 11-2 for SVB with 6 break and runs by the end which is what happened.
Obviously after dominating Pagulayan, SVB would be marked as a favourite in this finals match-up against Corteza. Despite being a favourite to win no one expected him to have a repeat performance which he did winning again 11-2. In SVB's last two matches he was up against two of the best players in the world and beat them 22-4, mind boggling if you really think about it. I have not heard if he has confirmed for the newly sanctioned World 10 Ball Championships in the Philippines next month but I would image Mr.10 Ball will be there. For American fans this is an exciting time, as their number one player has had some international success as of late and looks poised to add a World Championship to his 4 U.S Open Titles.
Accu-Stats will be airing the one pocket division throughout the afternoon today and will return tonight with the semi-finals and finals of the banks division. Check to www.cuesportnation.com for the results tomorrow.