Alex Pagulayan Will Defend his Japan 9-Ball Open Title

Alex Pagulayan

MANILA, PHILIPPINES---DEFENDING Champion Alex "The Lion" Pagulayan, the Canadian-based Filipino, will be back to defend his title and he will be joined by fellow World 9-Ball Champion Efren "Bata" Reyes and Ronato "Volcano" Alcano when the tough 2008 Japan 9-Ball Open will kick off on March 22 in Tokyo, Japan.

This was bared yesterday by Manila based friend Rolly "Lando" Vicente, who is busy staging the finals of Winner Take All 9-Ball Tournament which is gets underway yesterday at the Ever Gotesco Mall in Commonwealth, Quezon City.

"Alex (Pagulayan) will play in Japan 9-Ball Open to defend his title together with Efren (Reyes) and Django (Bustamante)," said Vicente, childhood friend of Reyes and Bustamante, both the country's 1-2 punch.

The Cabagan, Isabela native Pagulayan but raise in Taguig City beat Taiwanese ace Ro-Li Wen, 9-6, in the finals of last year's 17th Japan 9-Ball Open in Tokyo, Japan.

It shall be recalled that Pagulayan, bested 2006 Japan 9-Ball Open champion Antonio "Nikoy" Lining, 9-5, in the semifinals, after ousting Japanese hopeful Naoyuki Ooi, 9-6, in the quarterfinals and veteran Rodolfo "Boy Samson" Luat, 9-4, in the earlier rounds.

Several of the Philippines' top players also signified their intention to play in this year's edition headed by former world no.1 Francisco "Django" Bustamante, 2006 Japan 9-Ball Champion Antonio "Nickoy" Lining, 2006 All Japan Champion and reigning National Open titlist Lee Vann "The Slayer" Corteza, 2007 BCA 9-Ball ruler Dennis "Robocop" Orcollo, Ramil "Bebeng" Gallego, Roel Esquillo and Dondon Razalan, who is fresh from winning the 200 player's field Kyoto 9-Ball Open.

File photo courtesy of Diana Hoppe