Orcollo and Corr Cap Flawless Runs in Vegas
EnjoyPool.com 9-Ball champions crowned, both undefeated in a major
By Paul Berg, Inside POOL Magazine Staff
With an oppressive 7-0 finals victory over Shane Van Boening, perhaps the most feared Filipino in the islands’ new wave of dominant players has a major championship to his credit on American soil. Dennis Orcollo, long kept from appearing in the United States due to visa difficulties, emerged here during the short-lived International Pool Tour. In an undefeated run through the invited field of 64 elite players, Orcollo swept through the EnjoyPool.com 9-Ball Championships like a typhoon.
Not to be outdone, Karen Corr won the WPBA-sanctioned women’s event without taking a loss. In a reprisal of their great rivalry, Corr bested Allison Fisher 7-4, taking advantage of a pair of side pocket misses by “The Duchess of Doom” in the middle of the match to reclaim a lead “The Irish Invader” never lost again. Counting its hallowed previous BCA Open incarnation, the name of which the Congress changed both to indicate its invitational nature and promote their web site, Corr has now won this event four times.
The women’s final played first today in the Grand Ballroom at the Riviera, and as ESPN cameras rolled for the first time this year on the old snooker rivals, WPBA-ranked #1 Fisher and #2 Corr hit near perfect lags to an exhilarated reaction from the crowd. Corr’s was barely better, and she broke and ran the first rack with a break that would carry her through the match. With the alternate-break, one race-to-7 format in effect, Fisher broke the next rack and looked to keep Corr in her seat but missed a 5-9 combination to allow Corr a run-out and a 2-0 lead. When Corr scratched on her next break, Fisher quickly leveled the match, running out there and after her own break.
It was Fisher taking her only lead after some tentative play by both champions in the next game, but a miss on the 3 ball in the side that she had deliberated the position for extensively put Corr back in control. She cleared there and then broke and ran to go back up 4-3, and after Fisher missed the 1 ball in the side pocket, Corr worked defensive magic on the 5 ball to get one game closer. Fisher rallied to great excitement from the crowd in the next rack, splitting the pocket with a long jump at the 1 ball and running out. With a chance to tie the match at 5 in the next, Fisher followed Corr’s miss of the 3 ball with one of her own on the 4. Corr worked out the pattern from there, clearing for a 6-4 edge, and broke and ran out the next to bring the title home.
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While a major 9-ball title in Las Vegas this time of year is old hat for “The Irish Invader,” Orcollo has never had the chance to bring one home to his beloved Philippines. His run through this event was spectacular, with back-to-back victories over European standouts Marcus Chamat and Niels Feijen followed by ousting venerable greats from his homeland Francisco Bustamante and Jose Parica. For his part, Van Boening was eager for a rematch in front of a partisan crowd. The long support of the BCA by his pool-playing family, from his grandfather Gary Bloomberg to his champion mother Timi, was a big reason he was the BCA players’ selection for the field, and he did not disappoint, bringing a champion’s heart and his growing game to any doubter’s attention.
Unfortunately for Van Boening, Orcollo was not to be denied. Failing to pocket a ball on two of his three breaks cost the 23-year-old Sioux Falls, SD, sharpshooter dearly, as Orcollo allowed scant opportunities after his own smashes. As the lead mounted, Van Boening made a few unforced errors, seemingly caught up in the chances that had already passed. While the 7-0 result was indeed a case of a different level of play on this day by Orcollo, the past two finals at this event have been similarly lopsided, as momentum in a short race with alternate breaks is an avalanche of pressure to overcome.
The EnjoyPool.com 9-Ball Championships were made possible by the BCA and a host of sponsors. Diamond Tables, Simonis Cloth, Aramith Pro Billiard Balls, and Tweeten Fiber Co.’s Master chalk are mainstays of the professional game and were joined in their support by Ozonebilliards.com, PoolDawg.com, the American Poolplayers Association, and Cuetec Cues and their distributor Imperial International. Play in the BCA Open teams division will wrap up tonight, so for all the latest in billiards news from Las Vegas, stay tuned to www.insidepoolmag.com.