Jan. 27, 2017
The DCC One Pocket Championships Finals:
Billy Thorpe cried tonight. Tears of joy streamed down his cheeks as he had a little ”FaceTime” on the phone with his dad. “I did it, dad. I won it.” He’d dismissed Alex Pagulayan, the back to back DCC Bank Pool Champion. He’d beaten the odds and, as the underdog, spread smiles thru the jam-packed Accu-Stats Arena. At 20 years old, he was the youngest DCC champion ever. Bill Incardona, the knowledgable Voice of Accu-Stats, stated that Billy was the greatest banker in the world. Today, under the utmost pressure-filled moments, he administered some of the most steady, match-closing strokes ever captured on camera.
Billy was ready. He’d had an incredible run through to the 12th round in the Banks Division. Until the 10th, he’d only lost 3 games–unprecedented! Now, compounded with the 100 points for this win tonight, he was the undisputed leader for, arguably, pool’s highest accolade, The DCC All Around Champion. It’s certainly the toughest title to win. 9-days, 3 divisions, averaging around 400 players, back to back switching of disciplines, never knowing when, or whom, you are going to play. It takes stamina, skill, guts and, perhaps most of all, heart–qualities that Thorpe proved tonight that he has in spades. Maybe we know where Billy received some of those values. His dad, on hanging up the phone, instructed: ”Now go get that 9-Ball title.”
Billy’s day started by being tossed into the TV arena against the thriving Josh Roberts. With Thorpe ahead, Roberts fought back and then nabbed that first rack with some elegant endgame banking. Thorpe responded with a 7. The match was soon tied at 2. Josh had the first crack at a runnable rack. He managed 3. Billy whacked at one that was spat out by the tight, pro-cut pocket. “I’m going’ out swinging,” he laughed, nervously. Then, wisely, they sent the balls up-table so there was not much chance of either player making a run of it. Nip and tuck ensued until the banking prowess of Thorpe was manifest. He back-cut 2 balls close to the short rail that so impressed Accu-Stats commentator Mark Wilson that he stated.”I can’t believe he made that, or even went for it!” All was not lost, Josh had achieved his best result ever.
We were down to 3 contenders: Billy, still undefeated, was playing Pagulayan, who had previously ejected Jeremy Jones. If Billy won he would go directly into the Finals with Orcollo who’d just sent Skyler packing. Dennis would have to beat Billy twice to win the title. If Pagulayan won, Billy would be off to the buy-back booth and the 3 men would re-draw. One lucky player would get a bye and an automatic berth in the Finals. The remaining pair would battle to meet him there.
OK, back to the outer arena action. Billy and Alex were tied at 2. Game 5 had Billy, seriously in contention, with 7 balls to Alex’s minus 2. Then, there were some scratches. Alex, the master of nipping and ducking, scrambled his way back until, when down 4-5, he miraculously ran the last 4 balls to send Billy to the buy-back booth…and the re-draw.
Billy got the bye! It’s Alex, looking to 3-peat, and Dennis, no slouch, a 2 time US Open One Pocket Champion. Would the time between matches hurt Orcollo or, would Alex have the advantage by being all fired up from his most memorable comeback in years?
Orcollo at the first opportunity ran out the opening rack. After Dennis’ miscue opened the rack, Alex, with runs of 3 and 5, took the 2nd. Orcollo, breaking, made a ball, and nothing much else. A careless cue ball deflecting from a missed combo cost Orcollo the game–and with Alex breaking–lessened his odds of winning the match. A crossing ball kiss cost Alex 6 balls. It’s 2-2. In the decider, Alex is down 6-2. How can he claw his way out of this one? At 6-4, Orcollo banked a long, short railer. Needing 2, if he made it, he’d have natural shape and be out, and into the Finals with Thorpe. It hung in the jaws. Alex needed to make a thin cut and carom into two balls on the spot. They opened to leave a makable bank with tricky shape to the match closing ball. The miracles continued. He accomplished it all, especially, remarkeable with the added pressure of Dennis’ ball waiting in his pocket.
Now to the drama-filled finals. It’s about one o’clock in the morning now. Alex and Billy had been in combat since 10 am–playing 9-Ball, too. Alex broke first yet, within 3 shots, Billy had the situation reversed by moving 4 balls in front of his pocket. He had outmoved the miracle worker. Alex was forced to give him one as he cleared Billy’s pocket. He also left a bank and Thorpe ran 7. Alex, aggressive as always, jawed a short rail bank leaving Billy the one ball he needed and the first game. In game 2, Alex took an intentional, his 6th of the day. Billy made 2 consecutive (unintentional) scratches. Alex ran 8 then, 1, to tie the match. Game 3, Thorpe just plain stole from a very surprised Pagulayan. Game 4: Billy never faltered–never strayed from his belief. He needed 2. Pagulayan needed another miracle. Visibly stressed, Alex made some of the most deadly shots ever seen to stay alive. He played what he thought was a safety. That’s when Billy banked incredible shot #1. Alex left another “safe.” Thorpe pulled up on the throttle and let his last ball slowly rebound off the short rail to trickle steadily into the gaping jaws of his pocket. Then, uncontrollably, Billy erupted, as did the arena. The underdog had overcome the two-time past champion. Like dad said: onward to the 9-Ball.
Billy is the points leader in the race for The DCC All Around Champion and the $25,000 bonus cash.
The DCC 9-Ball Championships continues. As was last mentioned, the luck of the draw pitted Alex Pagulayan against Justin Bergman. They were tied at 4 on the TV table at press time, Alex Eventually lost 9-7 to the Mosconi Cup Team America MVP.
View at accu-stats.com all day tomorrow with The Banks Ring Game in the evening.
The George Fels Memorial Straight Pool Challenge is streaming at billiardnet.tv . The 14.1 event has finalized the 8 highest runs: Chris Melling, 225, Dennis Orcollo, 215. Alex Pagulayan, 197; Johnny Archer, 182. Jayson Shaw, 175; Darren Appleton, 154; Mika Immonen, 146: Li Wen Lo, 141, These players will now face off in single elimination for a prize fund of $22,000.
If scheduling permits, Accu-Stats will stream, at least, the finals.
BANKS RING GAME, on the Accu-Stats screen on Friday the 27th, will have the winner-take-all battle for the cash as, typically, the last 2 are usually banking for near a thousand a ball.
Don’t miss a stroke at accu-stats.com
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Photography Courtesy of David Thomson, MediumPool.com