Lion Eats Field in Derby Wrap

Alex the Master! Photo courtesy David Thomson,

LIVE from the Horseshoe Southern Indiana Resort and Casino, Elizabeth, IN

In the jungle, the mighty jungle, the LION sleeps tonight.

As the 2016 DCC One Pocket champion and runner-up in the 9-Ball Championship, Alex Pagulayan joined the prestigious company of Efren Reyes and Shane Van Boening as back-to-back Derby City Classic Master of the Table.

Shane Van Boening redeemed his reputation, and prowess, as the Derby City master of rotation games as he captured the DCC 9-Ball title after Jayson Shaw defeated him in the Diamond BIGFoot 10-Ball Challenge.

John Brumback resurrected himself as DCC Bank Pool Champion while Dennis Orcollo took his second 14-1 crown.

All in all, it was a week of former champions reestablishing themselves as undisputedly, deserving of their accolades. Luck doesn’t cut it at the Derby.

DCC 9-Ball Championships: Race to 9.

4 very long days ago, there was a record 406 entries in the DCC 9-Ball event. Today, down to the last 10, Shane Van Boening and Scott Frost were the only Americans.

In the last, 4 it was Shane versus the Filipinos who are, as is proven by their prevailing Derby City championship presence, pound for pound, the best pool players on the planet. And, Shane had to play them all, Jeffrey Ignacio, Dennis Orcullo, and Alex Pagulayan.

3 survivors were undefeated; Jeff, Alex, and Shane. With Dennis, it was triumph or die.

In the previous round, Shane had sent Ignacio to utilize his remaining buy-back privilege. In round 12, Orcollo then terminated him.

In, possibly, today’s most dramatic match, Alex then drew Dennis who opened with a 6-pack. It would have been 7 but, he jawed the 9. Now, you know Alex, he isn’t going to let a scrawny, little six rack lead mess with his determination. The next thing Dennis knew was he was down 6-7. Cool, calm, and cautious, he climbed to the hill, played 3 rail shape from the 8 to the case 9…and scratched. And, Alex is on the hill!

Jacked up on the 3, a phone’s flash, focusing to take his photograph, sharked him. Alex glared at the offender, then missed. Dennis pounced. Alex visited the buy-back booth.

Then, he entered the TV arena to meet Shane.

They battled back and forth until, at hill-hill, Alex, heart pounding, fists pumping, prevailed and sent Shane to use his buy-back.

With Ignacio gone, we are now down to 3: Shane, Alex, and Dennis, each with one life.

As was mentioned yesterday, there is more at stake here than the 9-Ball title. There’s that appetizing Master of the Table award…and the tasty $20,000 it earns! (Yesterday, $25k was reported: Apologies).

Alex, now in the semis, had 255.5 points and a lock. Dennis has 180, If Shane wins he and Dennis would have 180 points each and share, equally, in the $3,000 for 2nd and $2000 and 3rd. Jayson Shaw has 163 points. If Shane loses, he drops to 160, gets no bonus points, and Jayson takes 3rd.

Back to the Accu-Stats Arena: Alex drew the bye! Elated, he leapt up on the TV table.

Interestingly, no one looked in need of rest. At 9 days in duration, the Derby City Classic is the most physically, and emotionally, demanding competition in pool. The Derby’s reputation precedes it as requiring the stamina and endurance of an athlete. Shane was once asked what he would do differently? He replied that he would have employed a work-out regimen.

Back on the TV table, it was Shane versus Dennis. And, survival of the fittest. One of them had to go. Their, alleged, rivalry was in full bloom as back and forth they rallied without one getting much ahead of the other. There was also the compounded pressure of their big-money, 4 day, challenge match looming in mid-February. Neither, let that or those puny bonus points distract them, they were focused on winning…and the $16,000 for first.

Dennis had the lead until 7-7 then, Shane, unwavering, sped ahead and, decisively, closed out the match to await Alex. Dennis, dismayed, exited the building.

Shane’s effortless break was spreading the balls like marbles and as Alex wasn’t allowed to shoot, he was soon was soon down 7-0.

Undaunted, (he’s been here before, remember?) Alex ran every rack that was available to him, even making incredible kick shots that Shane thought safe. But, to no avail, Shane, unrelenting, closed out the set to take his second 9-Ball title, the $16k, and happily share those bonus points with Dennis.

Pagulayan, the lionhearted, is about $40,000 ahead. I’m sure he’ll sleep well tonight. Back-to-back titles is a tough act to follow. Something tells me he’ll be looking to 3-peat next year. Don’t bet against it!

Diamond’s Greg and Chad extend their thanks to all those who traveled, from near and far, to make 2016 the biggest Derby City Classic to date.

AZ sincerely thanks those under the radar: Tourney officials Bret Baker and Bill Stock, BADBOYS (and girl) Ric and Bonnie, and Diamond Mike Smith. Without their contributions, this editorial series would seriously lack "Juice."

Diamond Billiard Products thanks its sponsors: The Horseshoe Southern Indiana, Simonis Cloth, Cyclop Balls, and BadBoys Billiard Productions.

Accu-Stats thanks its Arena Sponsors: Simonis Cloth, Cyclop Balls, Cue and Case, MEZZ Cues, McDermott Cues, National Billiard Academy, OB Cues,, and Samsara Cues.