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Jump of joy in PBA: Eddy Leppens final winner

Posted by on November 23, 2021

Jump of joy in PBA: Eddy Leppens final winner

Belgian Eddy Leppens, first PBA victory in a final with Jae Ho Cho

GOYANG - The jump of joy on the billiard table afterwards showed how happy Eddy Leppens was with his first major success in the PBA competition. The Belgian professional billiard player, who turns 52 next week, stood on the podium of a World Championship six times in his career, but never won. He has been Belgian champion ten times in various disciplines, but has never won a World Cup. The Korean adventure of Belgian Eddy, nicknamed Leppie, culminated now, on an ordinary day in a sparkling billiard arena: the victory, 4-1 in sets, in the final over Jae-Ho Cho, a relative newcomer in the PBA, yielded a top prize of one hundred million Korean Won (75,000 euros) and a top three ranking in this year's money ranking following the Spaniard David Martinez and ahead of Korean Dong Koong Kang.

The billiard player Eddy Leppens was in his country a whole career in the shadow of Frédéric Caudron and Eddy Merckx, the two stars. For once, the all-round player from Lommel stepped into the spotlights himself, which were focused on Lehim in the Grand Ballroom of Sono Calm in Goyang, amidst all the usual glitz and glamour that makes PBA championships so different, more colourful and more impressive than championships in the traditional world league.

Eddy Leppens was the radiant centre of attention today, during the ceremony even with his wife Andrea, who was so exuberantly witnessing this success. The apotheosis came with a sovereign 15-0 victory in the last set, which put the final 4-1 on the scoreboard. And after that last, winning carom, Leppens jumped on the match table, shed a tear of happiness, waved to the scarce spectators, including billiard players who rewarded him with a well-deserved applause, like Caudron, Kang and the finalists of the ladies event.

He knew all about the ceremony, even though Leppens had never been there himself. The silver glitters flew around the arena, the dance girls made airy fairy steps, he hugged Jae-ho Cho, his opponent in the final. The big cup for the victor was brought out, the stage was prepared. And Leppens himself, in his purple polo shirt, white trousers, blue sports shoes, he was beaming at everyone, writing his name on the billiard table with a felt-tip pen, the name of the PBA with a heart. Until, finally he was called for the honouring: again tears of happiness, exuberantly photographed with organisation and sponsors. Rarely has the PBA organisation put such a happy winner in the spotlight after a tournament.

Eddy Leppens was the very best in this event and he wanted to show it to everyone in the world of billiards.

He won consecutively against Hideaki Kobayashi (2-2 and 2-0 with penalties, 1,655 on average), Deuk-hee Hwang (3-0, 1,731), Sang Pil Eom (3-2, 11-9 in the deciding set, 1,711), Si-yoon Ju (3-1, 2,450), Kwang Yeol Park (3-0, 1,875), Jung ju Shin, the conqueror of Caudron (3-2, 1,391) and finally of Jae-ho Cho, former Korean star player in UMB tournaments, also for the first time in a final in the PBA, but in that last, gold-coloured match without any chance to win.

The supremacy of Leppens was obvious from the start: 15-10 in the first set, admittedly a small come-back by the Korean with 15-10, then twice 15-8 for Leppens and in the fifth set an unapproachable 15-0 to demonstrate how much better Leppens was in this final.

The averages: 2,188 for Leppens, 1,367 for Cho. The Belgian scored 70 points against the Korean 41. Leppens was double rewarded 10 times for a Bankshot, Cho only 2 times.

Because of his victory, Leppens made a giant leap in the money rankings of this season over three tournaments so far. David Martinez, the Spaniard, leads with 111 million, 500.000, followed by Leppens with 106,500 and Dong Koong Kang with 103,500.

Eddy Leppens, rewarded for his strong performance and great final win

The winner, hugged by his wife Andrea after the victory

The winners together on stage

Jae-ho Cho, great tournament, no chance in the final with Leppens

Eddy Leppens (r) and Jae ho Cho, the very best in the third PBA event in this season

The top of the rankings in euros (gross without deduction of tax):
1 David Martinez 82.500 euro
2 Eddy Leppens 79.850 euro
3 Dong Koong Kang 77,625
4 David Zapata 34,850
5 Jae-ho Cho 29,250
10 Hacker (masked player) 7,500
Other Europeans:
14 Frédéric Caudron 4,875
17 Adnan Yüksel 4,500
20 Glenn Hofman, Birol Uymaz and Javier Palazón 3,750 euro.

Sruong Pheavy remains the leader in the women's money ranking with 27 million won (20,250 euros). Se-yeon Kim is the number two with 22.3 million, Ji-eun Kang, the winner of the final against Pheavy, earned 21.4 million.



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