Alex Pagulayan

MANILA, PHILIPPINES - DEFENDING CHAMPION Alex “The Lion” Pagulayan defeated unheralded Roland dela Cruz, 9-8, in a Battle Royale in the 2nd BSCP National Pool Championships Monday night being held at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium in Malate, Manila here.

It was a tied at 4-all when Cagayan de Oro's pride Dela Cruz who fights tooth and nail clustered two racks for a 6-4 lead but Pagulayan, the 2004 World Pool Champion and 2005 US Open winner who had an “lion heart” level the game at 6-all winning the next two racks in the TV table matches.

Pagulayan, the Cabagan, Isabela native continued his strive on his stick winning the 13th frame for 7-6 lead. From then, Dela Cruz manage to scored to two racks to surge an 8-7 lead in the race-to-9, alternate break format.

Despite trailing one rack, Pagulayan showed his winning form enroute the last two racks to curved a 9-8 victory over Dela Cruz who now fall in the loser's brackets.

“Grabe muntik na tayong madisgrasya. Bagama't hindi masyado kilala si Roland (Dela Cruz) eh ang bigat ng tira. (I almost lost in my game)” Pagulayan admitted.

“ Pero ako naman palaging laro lamang ang hanap ko, matalo o manalo ay ok lamang kaya hindi tayo masyado pressure kahit sabihin pa natin na pabotiro pa tayo dito ( I just want to play, win or lose it's ok).” Pagulayan said, fresh from topping the 2007 Japan 9-Ball Open recently in Tokyo.

Pagulayan will face the survivor of the matches between Elvis Calasang Jr. and Benjie Guevarra Jr., both former Snooker team mate today (Tuesday) in the winner's brackets.

In earlier results, Warren “Warrior” Kiamco, three-time Southeast Asian Games gold medalist surge a 4-1 lead in the opener to beat Renemar “Revo” David, 2006 Sydney World Junior quarter-finalist in a 9-5 victory to march the early winners.

David, a 17-years-old campaigner from Barangay Botocan, Quezon City sliced the match at 4-3 count after winning the seventh racks in the first TV table matches yesterday in the event presented by San Miguel Corporation which offers P500,000 to the champion.

However, the 36-years-old Pasil, Cebu native Kiamco got a 5-4 upper hand then moved to 7-4 winning the next two racks.

“Magaling ‘yung bata (David), bagama't nakauna ako ay nagawa pa din niyang makahabol (The kid is good).” Kiamco admitted in a post mortem interview yesterday.

“ Medyo kinapos sa bandang huli (I fell short in the endgame).” David added who beat last year's runner-up Gandy “Sapsal” Valle in a money game play last Saturday and receive a total pot prize worth P50,000 in one of billiard hall in Quezon City.

Kiamco, a newly-installed member of Bugsy promotion who is fresh from winning the 9-ball and 8-ball competition of the 2007 US Bar Table Championships in Reno, Nevada last month will face the survivor of Godofredo Ducanes-Troy Danao tussle in the next round of the double elimination format organized by Raya Sports and BSCP.

Another two Bugsy stalwart had mixed result yesterday. Jeffrey “The Bull” De Luna, 2006 Doha Asian Games 9-ball silver medalist had an easy time with a 9-2 victory over Rodrigo Geronimo while fellow Bugsy stablemate Elmer “Buddy” Kalaquian suffered a heart-breaking 9-8 loss to unheralded John Rebong.

But the day belonged to little known 19-years-old Alaminos, Pangasinan bet Jomar de Ocampo who upset last year's 5th placer Roland “Gabuto” Garcia, 9-5.

In other marquee matches, Japan based Antonio “Nickoy” Lining blanked youngest qualifier 14-years-old Johann “Bubwit” Chua, 9-0, Edgard “Malabon” Acaba beat Jomel Sultan, 9-2, Fidel Punzalan crushed Noel Caro, 9-5, and Jun Caro subdued Tommie Gador, 9-7. Gabica in tough fight

Antonio “Ga-Ga” Gabica, (2006 Doha Asian Games 9-ball gold winner and 8-ball silver medalist) another Bugsy stalwart beat fire cracker victim Jarry “Putol” Pelayo in a come from behind victory, 9-8. Pelayo, from NBS surge a 5-3 lead until he had chance to win in the 17th racks after tying the game at 8-all but missed No.8 ball allowing Gabica for a 9-8 victory.

“ Mahina kasi ang preparasyon ko sa 8-ball kaya nabitin ako. Na pressure din ako kasi si Ga-Ga (Gabica) ang kalaban ko (My preparation is dubious).” Said Pelayo.

NBS top skipper Lee Van Corteza, the 2006 All Japan Championships ruler, also trailing at 2-5 in the opener but beat Richard Pornelosa, 9-5. Dennis “Robocop” Orcollo, acknowledged Philippine Billiard Money game king outclassed Allan Soliman, 9-1.

Other results: E. Navarette d. J. Mazon, 9-4, C. Biado d. M. Tolentino, 9-4, R. Gomez d. D. Razalan, 9-4, R. Gallego d. M. Feliciano, 9-7, V. Arpilleda d. R. Morta, 9-4, E. Villanueva d. P. Damuag, 9-5, R. Dy d. M. Takayama, 9-1, J. Peña d. R. del Rosario, 9-6.

File photo courtesy of Diana Hoppe - Pool Pics by Hoppe