AFTER a fruitful 2009 season, Lee Vann Corteza of Davao City is eyeing another great year in the Year of the Tiger and I am fact oozing with confidence days before his departure for the Predator World Tour from January 6 to 9 in Lloret de Mar in Girona, Spain.

"I'm hoping to compete well in Spian. I'm ready and confident," said Corteza, who is set to leave the country on Monday morning via KLM Airlines.

Corteza, the prized pool player of the Negros Billiard Stable (NBS) of Jonathan Sy, is now ranked No. 4 in the world based on the latest rankings released by the World Pool Billiard Association (WPBA) with a total of 1,175 points.

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"I'm very confident Van-Van will win in Spain," said NBS head coach Christoper Palses.

The Spain event will be Corteza's first tournament since winning the prestigious Billiards and Snooker Congress of the Philippines (BSCP) 4th National Pool Championship in December. He beat last year's Predator 10-Ball champion Dennis Orcollo in the semifinals then brought down Rodrigo Geronimo in the finals to pocket the P100,000 champion's purse.

Corteza had won the Derby City Classic 10-Ball Challenge early last year and was runner-up in the World Ten Ball Championship and the Derby City Classic 9-Ball Challenge. He also finished third in the World Mixed Doubles and emerged fourth placer in the US Open 9-Ball Championship.

Corteza, a many-time Southeast Asian Games gold medal winner, has a busy schedule ahead. He is scheduled to go fly back to the country on January 11 from Europe stint to spend time for his family, then leave again on January 21 for the Derby City Classic in the USA which is slated from January 22 to 30.

After that, Corteza will fly again to Europe from America for the 1st WPA World Team Championship slated on January 30 to February 7 in Germany.

The 1st WPA World Team Championship, dubbed as pool Olympics, will feature 8-ball, 9-ball and 10-ball with the champion team getting the lions share of $100,000.

Joining Corteza in the Nationals are WPA 8-ball and 9-ball champion Ronato Alcano, Antonio Lining, Warren Kiamco, Marlon Manalo and Orcollo.

From Germany, Corteza will go back the country to take a rest then fly back to the United States for the annual Reno Open on February 22 to 28 in Nevada. (With a report from Marlon Bernardino)