Orcollo And Pagulayan Reach Guangzhou Semis

Dennis Orcollo made quick work of Toh Lian Han

21 September 2008, Guangzhou – 2004 World Pool champion Alex Pagulayan and current WPA World No. 1 Dennis Orcollo remain on track for another possible finals encounter as the two Filipinos breezed through to the semifinals after a scoring easy victories over their respective opponents in the quarterfinals of the penultimate leg of the Guinness 9 Ball Tour 2008 yesterday here at the Garden Hotel in Guangzhou, China.
Pagulayan overwhelmed Satoshi Kawabata of Japan, 9 – 3, while Orcollo manhandled Toh Lian Han of Singapore, 9 – 1.
The two met in the finals of the Singapore leg, where Pagulayan claimed the crown over Orcollo.  The two are already assured of at least $3,500 (P164,500) for reaching the semifinals and have a shot at winning the top prize of $15,000 (P705,000) in the event organized by ESPN STAR Sports.
Clinging on to a 4 – 3 advantage, Pagulayan turned his match into a rout as he won five consecutive racks after capitalizing on several easy misses by Kawabata.
The Japanese missed a shot on the one-ball in the eighth rack and an attempt at the eight-ball in the 10th rack and his Filipino foe easily cleaned up those racks.
With Pagulayan on the hill at 8 – 3, Kawabata failed to put pressure on his opponent as the Japanese's shot on the two-ball rimmed out of the right corner pocket. The player known as the “Lion” then went for the jugular as he formalized his entry to the semifinals for the second consecutive leg.
“I kind of feel sorry for him (Kawabata) since he's my friend and he made a lot of mistakes, but when you're playing against each other you forget about friendships and I just went for the kill,” said Pagulayan.
Pagulayan will meet Hung Hsiang Wang of Chinese Taipei in the semifinals today at 12 noon. The match will be aired live on STAR Sports
Wang became the first man to earn a ticket to the final four after he upset compatriot and defending Grand Final champion Jung Lin Chang, 9 – 4.
Meanwhile, there was little drama in Orcollo's match as he claimed the first eight racks and had a golden opportunity to score a whitewash in the ninth rack.
However, the Filipino native flubbed a shot on the four-ball in the ninth rack, allowing the Singaporean to win the rack and avoid being shut out in the match.
Breaking in the 10th rack, Toh had a chance to claim another rack, but the 35 – year old committed a foul on the one-ball and Orcollo closed out the match with a 5 – 9 combination.
“I was very confident and well-conditioned heading into this match. My break was very good this time around and my shots were very precise,” said Orcollo, who needed only 50 minutes to eliminate Toh in the fifth leg of this six-city tour organized by ESPN STAR Sports.     
Orcollo was simply unforgiving as he ran out the table in the first, third and seventh racks and capitalized on Toh's scratches in the second, fourth and eighth racks and misses in the fifth and sixth racks.
Orcollo will meet Ching Shun Yang of Chinese Taipei in the other semifinals today at 1:30 p.m.
Yang defeated Ryu Seung Woo of Korea, 9 – 5.
Pagulayan and Orcollo's quarterfinal victories guaranteed them spots in the Grand Final in Jakarta, Indonesia next month. Pagulayan was ranked 6th while Orcollo was 10th in the Tour's Order of Merit heading into the Guangzhou leg.
Only the top ten players in the Tour's Order of Merit list will qualify for the lucrative Grand Final and a qualifying spot in the WPA World Pool Championship.