Pagulayan Wins Magnificent 7 Title

Alex Pagulayan

Former world champion Alex Pagulayan out-steadied Joven Bustamante in their race to 100 finals showdown to rule the Magnificent 7 Winner-Take-All 9-Ball Invitational second qualifier Saturday night at the Bravio Sports and Resto Lounge in Mandaue City.

Pagulayan came back from a six-rack deficit at the start of the match to fashion out a 100-91 decision en route to pocketing the P300,000 top purse and booking a slot to the grand finals of this series organized by Hilton Professional Cues and Bravio Sports and Resto Lounge and supported by the Billiards Managers and Players Association of the Philippines with Fundador, Cebu Rajah Hotel, Sunstar, and Monster Radio BT105 as sponsors.

“It feels good to win this tournament, especially when you're up against a field with world-class players and a couple of young stars,” said the 28-year-old World Pool Championship titlist in 2004, who also won the World Pool Masters last month.

“This victory also kind of boosted my confidence, which I need coming back here in the next couple of weeks for the Manny Villar Cup, which is my next target,” added Pagulayan.

Pagulayan and Bustamante made it to the finals after emerging as the top two players with the most number of racks won after the round-robin elimination. Bustamante, who won all his matches, came in with a 78-rack aggregate, while Pagulayan had 72, despite losing two matches.

But after Bustamante won the opening rack of the championship round, it was all Pagulayan show, as he took advantage of the former's inconsistent break, while holding for his own to take away the fight and become the second winner of this one-of-a-kind event after former Asian Games gold medalist Gandy Valle.

The tournament is the second of a series of winner-take-all competitions leading up to the grand finals slated in December.

It also serves as the preview to the First Senate President Manny Villar Cup Cebu Leg, the biggest pool tournament to be held in the Queen City of the South, on June 20 to 22.

Besides Pagulayan, Bustamante and Valle, the others who competed in this three-day tournament were 2007 World Pool runner-up Roberto Gomez, Cebuano rising stars Marvin Gentapa and JJ Kid, and Mike Hilton.