Pagulayan and Garon crowned Canadian 9-Ball Champions

Alex Pagulayan

Alex Pagulayan is the 2003 Canadian 9-Ball Champion, defeating Chris Orme in the final in Halifax. The final day began with 4 players left on the A-side. Al Logan continued to play giant killer, adding Cliff Thorburn to his list of defeated opponents at this event, a list that already included last year's champion John Horsfall. But in the A-Side final, Logan met someone much taller than his physical stature in Alex Pagulayan. Alex, who earlier beat Ron Wiseman 11-7, dominated the match with Logan 11-3 to take the hot seat. On the B-side, Danny Hewitt's impressive run came to a hault at the hands of Gary Hauck. Hauck was then eliminated by Thorburn 9-2, while Chris Orme was just getting warmed up with a win over Wiseman 9-4. In his next match, with Thorburn leading 7-4, Orme strung together 5 straight games for the win and a shot at Logan in the B-Side finals. That match was to be all Orme, as he seemed to be winning racks at will. Orme won another 11 straight racks to advance to the finals 11-0.

The finals were a superb matchup. Orme started out 2-0 up, running out in rack two. After a missed 2-9 combo by Orme, Alex replies by running the next 3 racks himself. Alex then gives Orme a break by hooking himself on the 4 ball. Chris wins rack 6 and the two trade racks to 4-4. Orme takes rack 9, then takes advantage of a missed 1-9 combo attempt by Alex in rack 10 by making the combo himself. A break and run by Orme in the following rack puts him 3 ahead at 7-4 in the race to 15. After Orme hooks himself on the 2-ball, the Lion roars back, running out that rack and the next two. In rack 15, Alex runs to a 5-9 combo to sit ahead by one in the match. Orme levels the score at 8-8 before Alex wins 4 of the next 5 racks to lie comfortably ahead 12-9. In Rack 22, when Alex makes nothing on the break, Orme runs the table and makes a 4-9 combo in the next game to get within one, but that is as close as Chris will get. Orme comes up empty on his next break, leaving the 1-9 combo. Alex then breaks and runs to go to the hill.

In rack 26, Alex breaks and makes 3 balls. With a routine spread, Alex miscues on the 5-ball to let off Orme. Orme wins that rack but then skips the cue ball off the table on his next break. Even with ball in hand, there is no easy run out opportunity. Alex makes the 1-ball and feathers the cue from one end of the table to the other, through trafic, for a tough 2. Alex elects to just make the 2 and take difficult shape on the 3 ball. A table length cut of the 3 ball to the opposite lower pocket offers not much position value on the 4. If Alex can cut the 4 ball down the rail and draw the cue ball back for a small window to be able to make the 5-ball he is home free. To the amazment of the crowd, Alex makes the 4 and gets perfect shape for the 5 ball. The rest is elementary for Alex and he wins his second championship in three years 15-12.

In the Women's event, Catherine Garon beats Nathalie Jacob and Anita Kuczma to be the last woman standing on the A-side. On the B-side, New Brunswick's Angela Belding plays like she is on a mission. Belding beats Maryann McConnell 7-6, Jacob 7-2, Rachel Abbink 7-1, and Anita Kuczma 9-7, after trailing 7-4. The finals starts off close at two games apiece, but then Garon wins the next 9 racks, including a few run outs, to take the title 11-2. This was Garon's third Canadian title in three years.

Garon for the women, plus the top three men's finishers, Pagulayan, Orme and Logan, have all qualified to represent Canada at next year's World Championships. The final standings plus payouts can be found below:

Men's Top Finishers
1st - Alex Pagulayan $5000 + ring + spot at world's
2nd - Chris Orme $2500
3rd - Al Logan $1800
4th - Cliff Thorburn $1400
5th-6th - Gary Hauck, Ron Wiseman $1000
7-8th - Jeff Kennedy, Danny Hewitt $750
9-12th - Mike Abou Dahar, Chris Jenkins, Carlos Santos, Alain Martel $550
12-16th - Josh Silva, Dave Boone, Pat Briand, Paul Potier $400

Women's Top Finishers
1st - Catherine Garon $2000 + ring + spot at world's
2nd - Angela Belding $1500
3rd - Anita Kuczma $1000
4th - Rachel Abbink $700
5th-6th - Nathalie Jacob, Chantal Vezina $400

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Photo courtesy of Diana Hoppe - Pool Pics by Hoppe