Alex Pagulayan eyes Fil 9-Ball Open

Alex Pagulayan

New York, New York--- Alex "The Lion" Pagulayan opens his bid for a second national title against Fidel Punzalan at the start of the 2005 Philippine 9-Ball Open on Wednesday at the Robinson's Galleria Trade Hall in Mandaluyong City, Philippines.

The Toronto based Pinoy senasation topped the All-Filipino Open early this year after beating Francisco "Django" Bustamante in a cliffhanging 15-14, in the finals.

Pagulayan is making a living out of open tournaments this year. Before winning his first and so far only major title in the Philippines, Pagulayan bagged the Canadian Open to open his account this year.

Just last month, Pagulayan won the prestigious and money-rich U.S. Open to make up for his failure to defend the world championship last July.

But Pagulayan shouldn't be too confident. Punzalan is the first man in from the qualifying phase after going undefeated in its first leg.

The tournament will use the alternate break format. The other notable first round matches in the event co-organized by Solar Sports and Puyat Sports pit Efren "Bata" Reyes against Mario Tolentino, Bustamante against Victor Arpilleda, last year's champion Antonio Gabica against old warrior Godofredo Ducanes and Marlon Manalo against rising star Jeffrey De Luna.

It's also riveting to see how lady player Rubilen "Bingkay" Amit would fare on the big stage opposite Asian 9-Ball Tour Manila leg winner Ronnie Alcano. The former Asian 8-Ball queen is the first female cue artist to qualify in the finals of a national open.

The double elimination tournament offers P500,000 to the champion, P250,000 to the runner-up, P100,000 each to the losing semifinalists, P40,000 each to fifth and sixth, P30,000 each to seventh and eighth, P20,000 each to ninth to 12th placers, P15,000 each to 13th to 16th placers, P10,000 each to 17th to 24th placers and P5,000 each to 25th to 32nd placers.

File photo courtesy of Diana Hoppe - Pool Pics by Hoppe