Anybodies Ball Game-Alex Pagulayan

Alex Pagulayan

MANILA, PHILIPPINES - DESPITE BEING THE TOP SEEDED in the main draw, Alex "The Lion" Pagulayan believed that the 2006 BSCP National 9-Ball Championships is anybodies ball game.

"It's anybodies ball game." the 28-years-old Cabagan, Isabela native told to this writer in an exclusive interview who just arrived in Manila last Friday.

"I will do my best." added the 2005 All Filipino Billiards Open runner-up, playing under the stable of Puyat Sports which own by Aristeo "Putch" Puyat, acknowledge God Father of Philippine billiards.

The 5-foot-3 Toronto-based cue artists, won gold medals in 8-ball singles, 9-ball doubles and team snooker and received P175,000 (approximately $3,300) in cash incentive from the government for carrying the Philippine flag in the last's year Manila Southeast Asian Games.

No.13 in the "2005 Player money list" accumulating US$80,824 earnings, including winning the 2005 edition of the US Open held at the Chesapeake Conference Center in Chesapeake, Virginia last Septemberr 19-25, Pagulayan sparked the country's 1-2-3 finish by beating countryman Jose "Amang" Parica in the finals, 11-6, for which he pocketed the top prize of US$40,000 (about P2.240 million). Pagulayan also became the second Filipino to win the US Open. Efren "Bata" Reyes was the first to accomplish the feat in 1994.

He also pocketed US$18,000 for winning the Derby City Classic Ring 10-ball last January 14, 2005 at the Executive West Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky and the top purse US$10,000 for topping the SML Entertainment 9-ball championship last April 19-23, 2005 at the Olympic Oval in Calgary, Canada.

Pagulayan gave up his Philippine citizenship several years ago when his parents migrated to Canada. But he has reacquired his Filipino citizenship under the Dual Citizenship Law of 2003.

Pagulayan's achievements in the sport include the 2004 WPA World 9-Ball Championship, runner-up finish in the 2003 World Pool Championship, the 2002 US Open, Joss Tour Grand Final Winner, runner-up in the 2003 IBC Western Canadian Open, and runner-up in the 2003 Reno Open.

Meanwhile, aside from Pagulayan four other SEA Games gold medalists banner the 64-man field in the 2006 BSCP National Pool Championship gets underway at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium.

Joining him in the tournament are four other SEA gold medalists headed by Dennis "Surigao" Orcollo and Antonio "Ga-Ga" Gabica, playing Bugsy's promotion of businesswoman Verna Mariano, Lee Van Corteza from Jonathan "Bacolod" Sy stable and veteran campaigner Leonardo "Dodong Dadiangas" Andam, also the most bemedalled athlete in the 1991 Manila SEA games edition bagging five gold medal for the country.

The Billiards & Snooker Congress of the Philippines turned to the five to carry the country's colors after Efren "Bata" Reyes, Francisco "Django" Bustamante and Marlon "Marvelous" Manalo skipped the regional sports fest last year for different reason.

Also include in the P1-million top prize BSCP Open are Korean Open champion Ronato "Ronnie Calamba" Alcano, Filipino pool legend Jose "Amang" Parica, 2005 US Open runner-up, and Rodolfo "Boy Samson" Luat, recent winner of the Kaohshiung leg of the San Miguel Asian 9-Ball Tour.

Also seeded to compete for the title are Ramil "Bebeng" Gallego, SMB tour Bangkok leg winner, and Mario "Aklan" Tolentino, third-placer in the 2005 Philippines 9-ball Open.

However, Reyes, Bustamante, Manalo, Antonio "Nickoy" Lining and US based Santos Sambajon will skip the National Championships.

Reyes and Bustamante will carrying the Philippine Flag in the inaguarial of World Cup of Pool in South Wales, England on August 22-27 while Manalo, Lining and Sambajon competing in the US pool circuit.