(STAR) Lee Van Corteza failed to complete a grand finish in the Guinness 9-ball Tour as he bowed to Taiwanese Chang Jung-lin, 8-11, in the final at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Bali, Indonesia last night.

A dry break in the 18th rack stymied Corteza’s fightback in the race-to-11 finale as Chang, who missed on a push-out that enabled the Filipino to close in at 8-9, snatched the rack to sit on the hill, 10-8.

But Chang, who also beat Corteza in the final of the Jakarta kickoff leg of the five-stage circuit, also came up dry in the 19th rack but still clinched the win when the Filipino miserably missed on the red three following a flawed shot.

Chang, who actually lost to Corteza in the earlier round, 3-9, took home the top $36,000 (P1.7 million) purse staked in the championship, which gathered the top 10 players after the five-leg series.

Corteza, who bundled out former world pool champion Wu Chia-ching, also of Taiwan, 11-9, in an intense semifinal duel, settled for $10,000 (P456,000).

Barely minutes after he disposed of Wu, Corteza took on Chang for the crown but the Filipino, visibly tired from a grueling semis series, lost the first three racks and spent the night chasing Chang, who also wavered in the closing stages that saw him muff two shots that enabled the reigning Philippine Open champion to come back.

In the end, however, it was Corteza who wilted under pressure.

Earlier, the Filipino ace fought back from three racks down in the early going then outsteadied Wu in a nerve-wracking battle of safeties to pull off the victory and advance to the championship.

Corteza, who beat Chang and Malaysia’s Ibrahim Amir, 9-5, to reach the semis, pounced on Wu’s costly scratch in the 19th rack.

as the Taiwanese tried to come up with a safety shot on the blue 2.

That enabled the Filipino bet to grab the lead and sit on the hill at 10-9, before scoring a run-up capped by a carom on 5-6 for the victory.

Corteza, out to atone for the Philippines’ winless stint in the stage elims of the country-hopping circuit, was playing Chang for the top $36,000 purse at presstime.

Chang outlasted compatriot Yang Ching-shun in an extended semis duel, 13-12.

Corteza actually struggled with his soft breaks in the early going, enabling Wu to take six of the first nine racks for a 6-3 lead.

But the Filipino settled down and won two racks in row, yielded the next before the two players traded racks off their breaks.

Corteza tied the count at 8-all after prevailing in a tense duel of safeties but Wu scored on a break-and-run to regain the lead.

Undaunted, the reed-thin Corteza leaned on a lucky shot on the yellow one to draw level again before cashing in on Wu’s miscue in the 19th rack.

Pacman told to keep out of basketball By Abac Cordero Monday, September 3, 2007

Will Manny Pacquiao spar today after being knocked down by the flu virus the last couple of days?

The answer, according to his chief trainer, Freddie Roach, will be known only after the Pinoy boxing sensation completes his morning jog today at the Alta Vista golf course in Cebu.

“We will know after he runs whether or not he will do some sparring in the afternoon. I will have to see how he does in the morning before I make the decision,” said Roach.

Pacquiao, who’s been training in Cebu for the last three weeks, skipped sparring last Friday due to the flu, and stayed in his hotel suite with wife Jinkee and baby girl Princess last Saturday.

Yesterday morning, Pacquiao felt a lot better and spent some minutes on the basketball court, playing with Cebuano sportswriters, and some members of Team Pacquiao.

Playing basketball only means that Pacquiao is ready to go back to the gym barely a month left before his Oct. 6 rematch with Marco Antonio Barrera in Las Vegas.

But if you ask Roach, the noted American trainer would rather see Pacquiao resting on Sundays instead of playing basketball where he risks suffering an injury.

A minor sprain could mean a lot heading toward a big match.

Roach said he talked to Pacquiao yesterday, and told him to stay away from the basketball court, and instead focus entirely on his training that shifts to Los Angeles on Sept. 22.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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