Alex Pagulayan Wins Two in a Row as he Takes Down Southern Classic 9 Ball Event

Alex Pagulayan (Photo courtesy of Dave Thomson

Not that we needed clarification of his all round talents as a world class pool player, but on Saturday evening - after four days of grueling competition in the Southern Classic 9 Ball competition - we saw Alex “The Lion” Pagulayan matched up again two nights running in a final against Johnny Archer in the Accu-Stats Simonis Arena at Harrah's Casino and Hotel in Tunica, MS.

On Friday evening Alex and Johnny were doing battle in the final of the Diamond 10 Ball Challenge event. Alex got the better of Johnny in this memorable match, and here we were one night later with the same two players and the last title up for grabs.

This race to 7 match saw Alex get straight out of the gate and soon had the score at 6-1 in his favor. We know that Johnny is the classic grinder, and again he dug deep and turned the match around, running 5 games in a row to level the match at 6-6.

Now all eyes were on Johnny to see how he would fair in what would be the last rack of the match. Johnny made a ball on the break, but only had a kick on the 1 ball down the side rail. A lot of joviality between both players and even the referee Ken Shuman ensued, over the degree of difficulty of the shot, with Alex even offering to make the shot for Johnny.

Considering the importance and difficulty of this shot, I think on reflection Johnny will look back and feel that a safety would have been the better option. As it happened, even though Johnny missed the shot he hit the 9 ball, which flew around the table and almost went in the bottom pocket.

Alex let out a yell of relief when the 9 ball finally stopped moving, and then made a sobbing noise as if he was sorry for Mr. Archer, but soon got back to the serious business of running out the balls and winning the match.

As the 9 ball dropped it meant that the young and effervescent Alex Pagulayan had played on the TV table two nights in a row and taken down two final matches, and picked up two out of four of the four titles that were up for grabs.

Alex beat Shane Van Boening to get into the final, and Johnny beat Warren Kiamco. In the previous round Warren beat Dennis Orcollo, putting paid to the chances of there being three Filipinos in the last four.

The format of this event being winner break and it being a short race to seven, meant that many of the top players fell by the wayside. But judging by the success of this event that is in its first year, they will all be back next year!!!

Diamond Promotions and Harrah's Casino and Hotel put on an excellent new event to the calendar, and I look forward to coming back next year to cover the events.