Derby City Classic XVIII, Day Seven
David Thomson, MediumPool.com
Jan. 29, 2016
Alex Wins Again! Photo courtesy of David Thomson, MediumPool.com
Alex Wins Again! Photo courtesy of David Thomson, MediumPool.com

LIVE from the Horseshoe Southern Indiana Resort and Casino, Elizabeth, IN

DCC One Pocket Championships: 397 on Sunday, On Friday morning, at 2:20am, there was 1: Alex “The Lion” Pagulayan. In a rousing repeat of last year’s performance, he celebrated back-to-back Derby City Classic One Pocket Championships.

Thursday’s schedule included Shannon Murphy eliminating Taylor Anderson, Efren Reyes sent Corey buy buy, Corey Deuel then sent Mike Davis bye, bye.

Alex directed Dennis O upstairs to the 14.1 room to compete in the quarters against Mika. Then, he terminated Corey.

Murphy had drawn the bye.

Earlier, it was Jayson over Taiwan’s Kevin Cheng then, Shannon Murphy out-moved Jayson who then exercised his buy-back option. Now, all remaining players were down to their last life.

Shaw faced Feijen for a berth in the semis.

How are Niels and Jayson, as world class 9-Ball players, going to fare against each other in One Pocket? It’s in their DNA to shoot…at everything. When you fire at balls like they’re the case 9, who needs defense?

The pressure was palpable; One of them had to go. Alex and Shannon Murphy awaited the result, and to sweat who would get the bye in the redraw.

Jayson broke and ran the first rack! “…like he was playing 8-Ball,” sighed Feijen, almost, in awe.

Having more one-hole experience, Feijen responded with combined defensive and 14.1 skills and soon took command of the set. Shaw, having had his most impressive professional One Pocket finish to date, had to settle for 4th.

Alex drew the bye and Murphy, the mover, succumbed to the pocketing power, and improving defensive skills, of Feijen.

Alex entered the Accu-Stats Arena a little more serene than his usual bubbly self. He had seen Feijen, fit as a fiddle, and in fine form with arguably the greatest fundamentals in the game. No one stays down longer on the ball than Niels.

Each taking a scratch, Feijen drew first blood and proceeded to run 7. He now needed 2. Playing safe, left Alex a length-of-the-table back cut on the 8. Over-cutting it slightly, as it drifted towards his hole, the cue ball got away from him to leave Dutchman a shot. Stroking it slowly, it lacked sinking power and hung in the shelf of the pocket.

With balls spread the length of the table, Alex ran 7 to miss a far away, straight-in 5 Ball. His orb that was owed was spotted.

Feijen attempted a combination but, his ball was so deep in the pocket, it failed to connect.

Alex made one. Now, they both needed 2. Playing end-game, Alex seemed more in his element now and the vibe in the room was that, in this game, he would prevail. Then, he erred and left a visibly relieved Niels that elusive combo into the ball hanging his pocket. And, the first game.

Now is when Alex excels: One down because of one he let slip away. Focused like a laser, the Lion ran 8-and-out. 1-1.

The 3rd game opened with a series of errors where, ultimately, Alex needed 11 and Niels needed 12. This where Alex tortures you: Applying patience, precision, and disciplined determination, he put mini-packages together  and then nipped and ducked until over an hour later he was ahead 2-1.

Niels was now undisputedly the odds-on underdog. In game 4, at first opportunity, Alex ran 7 until his cue-ball fell a millimeter short of comfortably securing match ball. Wisely, he ducked.

Niels, knowing not to panic and let the 9-Ball player loose, entered into a succession of safeties. Alex slowly turned the screw to apply the text-book, winning strategy: When needing one ball and your opponent needs them all; send everything upstream where a run-out is not just improbable, but impossible.

Within a few innings, Niels leaked a cross-bank combo which Alex deftly delivered into his pocket.

Shaw is a serious contender for the All Around title. With his 120 points for his win, tonight, Alex isn’t far behind. Now, it’s all about the 9-Ball.

DCC 9-Ball Championships: Race to 9.

A record 406 entered, and with 233 left at press time, it’s way too soon to predict who’ll be battling early Friday morning. Thursday had early draws that, unfortunately, paired combatants that were more appropriately suited for match-ups deeper into the event.

For example, Jeffery Ignacio defeated Rodney Morris, Shane got the better of Justin Hall, Johnny Archer took deadly aim at Jose Parica while Carlo Biado secured his buy back privilege with his win over Tony Chohan.

Early Friday, there will be upsets and upset players. Tonight, frayed nerves and tales of lucky rolls will make for expansive postmortems scrawled on bar napkins and sorrows drowned over Budweisers.

The annual, winner take all, BANKS RING GAME commences Friday evening.

The on-line, Internet coverage, of all of the above, continues at accu-stats.com.

The George Fels Memorial Straight Pool Challenge:  By late Wednesday evening there were 58 entrants entered for the title.

Thursday, the 8 man, single elimination progressed with:

John Schmidt 125 - Thorsten Hohmann 13
Dennis Orcollo 125 - Mika Immonen  109
Konstantin Stepanov 122 - Johnny Archer resigned at 106
Mike Davis 125 - Lee Vann Corteza 93.

Play continues Friday as 9-Ball schedules permit.

Diamond Billiard Products thanks its sponsors: The Horseshoe Southern Indiana, Simonis Cloth, Cyclop Balls, and BadBoys Billiard Productions.

Accu-Stats thanks its Arena Sponsors: Simonis Cloth, Cyclop Balls, Cue and Case, MEZZ Cues, McDermott Cues, National Billiard Academy, OB Cues, Outsville.com, and Samsara Cues.