Pagulayan and Van Boening will battle for the Hot Seat at US Open

There'll be no third straight US Open 9-Ball Championship title for Darren Appleton, nor will Mika Immonen chalk up his third. As of late Friday night, however, Alex Pagulayan, who won in 2005, Shane Van Boening, who won in 2007, and Efren Reyes, who won in 1994, were all in contention to chalk up their second title. Pagulayan and Van Boening are scheduled to meet in the battle for the hot seat on Saturday at 1 o'clock, while Reyes squares off against Dennis Orcullo.

By early on Friday afternoon, the winners' bracket had worked its way down to eight players, including four former champions. Pagulayan squared off against Johnny Archer (1999), Van Boening faced Ronnie Alcano, and Efren Reyes met Dennis Orcullo. In the only pairing among the final eight winners not to feature a former champion, Jayson Shaw played Jose Parica.

Pagulayan, who opened his tournament bid with a shutout, and was later challenged double hill by Daryl Peach, defeated Archer 11-7 to move among the winners' side final four and a match against Reyes, who'd defeated Orcullo 11-7. Van Boening gave up almost as many racks in his match against Alcano as he had in the four matches he'd played before. He came to the winners' side final eight with the highest winning percentage, having given up only 11 racks in 55 games, but gave up 10 in a double hill battle he finally won against Alcano.  Van Boening was joined by 
Parica, who'd survived his own double hill struggle against Jayson Shaw.

As Parica and Van Boening were battling it out on the Accu-Stat TV table, Pagulayan and Reyes fought it out in the only other room left at the new Holiday Inn conference center location. Pagulayan and Van Boening advanced to the hot seat match with identical 11-5 scores over Reyes and Parica.

Parica moved to the loss side and picked up Orcullo, who'd gotten by He Wen Li 11-8, and ended Darren Appleton's bid for a third straight championship 11-7. Reyes drew Alcano, who'd defeated Niels Feijen 11-5 and Jung Lin Chang 11-7.

Orcullo downed Parica fairly rapidly 11-4, while the final match of the evening played out on the Accu-Stat TV table between Reyes and Alcano. Reyes got out to an early lead and reached the hill first. Alcano, though, pulled within one at 10-9, and almost knotted things at double hill. Reyes, though, used two bank shots, including the last shot at the 9-ball to seal the deal.

Orcullo and Reyes will square off in the quarterfinals on Saturday at 1 p.m., as Pagulayan and Van Boening play for the hot seat. The semifinals are scheduled for 3 p.m., with the finals set for 7 p.m.

With the exception of the quarterfinals, all matches will be streamed live by Accu-Stats via Pay-Per-View