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Kiamco Wins Derby 9-Ball; Pagulayan Master of the Table

Warren Kiamco (Photo courtesy of David Thomson –

LIVE from the Horseshoe Southern Indiana Resort and Casino, Elizabeth, IN
Diamond Derby City Classic XVII: 9-Ball Division: FINALS
Alex Pagulayan will go down in the annals of history as the first player to have won all 3 DCC disciplines and Master of the Table honors. A true career DCC Grand Slam.
Alex had won the One Pocket Championship, got close in Banks and even closer–to the finals no less–in 9-Ball. For his efforts he was awarded pool's biggest payday, $44,650, courtesy of Diamond Billiards Products, the promotor of this, the 17th annual Derby City Classic.
"If I won, I promised my kids I'd go see them in Hawaii." His eyes were off in the distance. You could see he was imagining being with them.
Then he switched gears; he was back in the moment. "Gad, I got so close." he sighed. The 120 pound, little ball of firepower had wanted it all.
After losing to Mika Immonen in the first round, Alex had battled back, with only one life–no more buy-back–to arrive at the Finals with the unbeaten Warren Kiamco, The way Alex performed, under pressure, he looked like he could have had it all. Warren felt it too.
When Alex was at the table, you could see the intensity in his eyes as, after every break, he searched the table for the one-ball.
Alex handily won the first set with Warren, 9-4, closing it out with a 3-pack.
Warren went buy-back. The mid 40's Filipino hadn't gotten to the finals since Galveston in 2009. He wanted this one badly. The crowd knew he was capable. He had just gone 13 rounds, unbeaten, with wins that included Efren and Carlo Biado…both champions.
Re-entering the Arena, Warren, usually stoic, had a fierce look of determination. He won the lag and reciprocated by opening the second set with a 3-pack of his own.
Alex got 2 more–it should have been 3 but he miscued. Warren punished him with another 2. 
Soon, Warren was on the hill and, with only 4 games, it looked like Alex, the little engine that could, finally, couldn't.
After 9-days of the most gruelling competition in cuesports, Alex, it seemed, had run out of steam. We could feel his dismay when he missed even a difficult shot that he felt he should have made. Despondent, he would walk wearily to his seat.
Running out the case game, and the title so close, Kiamco succumbed to an obvious scratch. 
Alex was out of his seat. The fire was back in his eyes. He ran the remainder of the rack: 8-5. Snap! 8-6. He ran another one: 8-7. Darn it! Dry break.
Warren, with even more pressure on him now, got out of line and left a ball hanging in the hole: Alex couldn't believe it, another chance. He couldn't believe it; he'd hooked himself.
Back and forth, they countered, until Kiamco, unwittingly, had left himself a 7-9 combo, The balls weren't so far apart but, he had to use the Filipino least favorite weapon of choice, the bridge. They'd rather stretch the length of the table than use it.
Warily, Warren took to the table. Cautiously, stroking back and forth, he let the arrow loose. Slowly, the 9 rolled into the pocket.
Kiamco collapsed on the table. It was over. Warren was sprawled there for what seemed an eternity. Alex ran over to genuinely congratulate his fellow Filipino friend, "Just checking that he hadn't fainted," he joked later.
Warren was ecstatic, even uncharacteristically effusive. "Have you any idea how difficult Derby City is to win? Over 300 players, and never knowing exactly when, or who, you are going to play until you see the draw," he related, his voice full of excitement. "I'm so happy to have survived."
After 9 days of brutal combat, there are others who deserve mention here, too.
Jeremy Sossei, a very capable Connecticut 9-Ball player, had sneaked quietly through the ranks all the way to meet Alex Lely in a bout to see who would face Kiamco, Both Sossei and the World Pool Master and EuroTour 8 & 9-Ball Champion had only one life. One of them had to go.
Alex, these days, is more of a coach than a competitor. As the current instructor to the Nederlands' team, some of  whom were in attendance, he outlasted all of them. And, to his credit, "walked the talk" as he dismissed Van Boening allowing him only to 5.
Jeremy wasn't intimidated at all. Still pumped up from his recent runner-up finish at Turning Stone and, incidentally, he also had had a 4th in DCC 2010, he attacked the table allowing Lely little opportunity. "After the break, everything just went my way," he reported, humbly."
Lely was happy with his fourth place finish. "When Jeremy had me in the seat for so long, that's when I realized how exhausted I really was." Welcome to Derby City.
Jeremy had earned that berth in the formidable Accu-Stats Arena. The bright lights posed additional intimidation for his encounter with the unbeaten legend, Kiamco.
Sossei got to 5. "My safety play let me down but, you can be assured that I'll be back next year. I really think I can pull a win out of here. Besides, I want my picture on the winner's wall along with my buddy Ginky," he laughed. The late George "Ginky" SanSouci won the DCC 9-Ball in its second outing in 1999.
By mid-afternoon, Efren, thanks to Kiamco, was done and Brumback was gone, too.
It was then apparent that Pagulayan's lead in All Around Champion points was insurmountable. 
You might think that Alex would relax, feeling secure with his additional $20,000 in cash. It was then that he drew Orcollo: Onward to the Accu-Stats Arena.
As this was not a full TV production match. It was available only to the arena and Internet Pay-per-View audience. Jim Fredricks, owner Pat Fleming's right-hand man, would handle the camera switching, remotely, back at Accu-Stats' world headquarters.
The reason being, how many hours do you think the Accu-crew can log? Or, should that be slog?
Down to three players; Alex, Jeremy, and Warren Kiamco–still with a buy-back, means that there are, potentially, four more matches. The crew had to conserve energy incase they had to pull an all-nighter.
'Tis a pity that there won't be a DVD on this one. Alex and Dennis really had the room on a hook. Back and forth the score mounted until Alex, again, coming from behind, clawed to hill-hill: Another dry break. 
Dennis faced an awkward one-ball and, compounded by difficult position for the 2, it jawed. Alex, never a doubt running out, had escaped another one. With his hill-hill loss, Dennis exited the building.
Pagulayan drew a bye and awaited the previously reported winner from the Sossei/Kiamco encounter.
What an event. There is nothing like it anywhere in the world. History was made, money was made, and it's memories are forever.
Founder Greg Sullivan's dream, of pool evolving from a game to a sport, has truly become a reality: The DCC is a staple embedded in Pro Pool consciousness, forever. He candidly deserves his coveted, Pool In Action Award, received earlier in the week from the One-Pocket Hall of Fame.
Diamond VP, Chad Scharlow, is also worthy of honorable mention. In their busiest weeks of the year, Chad still has to handle the day-to-day running of Diamond compounded with the logistics of coordinating 9 days of Murphy's Law. And, you can bet your bottom dollar that, on Sunday, he'll be out their with a drill, dismantling tables along with the crew.
The Master of the Table awarded 2nd highest point winner Efren Reyes, $3,000, and John Brumback, $2,000 for 3rd.
Shannon Daulton:  $10,000, Banks winner.
Warren Kiamco, $16,000, 9-Ball.
Shane Van Boening: $16,000, Diamond BIG Foot Challenge.
The Derby City Classic continues to gain prestigious, worldwide respect as pool's most arduous and punishing competitive arena. Where else can you guarantee an encounter with BIG Foot and Cyclop?
Kudo's to the Russia's for creating a DCC qualifier event. The winner is awarded a free trip plus, entry into the Bank, 1-Pocket, and 9-ball divisions. Diamond congratulates this year's entrant, 16 year old, Maxim Dudanets. What an education he got!
But wait, there's more: The Dutch have a copy-cat, tribute event in Deurne City, Nederlands; The DC Classic. It doesn't quite last 9-days, only a long weekend. It will.
AZ would, sincerely, like to extend it's thanks to those you don't see: BADBOYS (and girl) Bonnie and Ric, Tourney officials Bret Baker and Bill Stock, and last but not least, Diamond Mike Smith. Without y'alls help, this editorial series would be severely lacking "Juice."
The George Fels Memorial Straight Pool Challenge: Semi Finals
1st: Ruslan Chinakhov – 125, $4000,
2nd: Jayson Shaw – 50, $2,500 (plus $1000 for his 227 high run bonus.
Diamond Billiards Products thanks Dennis Walsh, Bill Maropulis, and the scorekeepers that contributed to the success of the event. (The entrants doubled this year!)
Greg Sullivan acknowledged, "These guys worked as hard as anyone this week, and without them, there would be no 14.1 event."
They're will be a more complete report by AZ's own Jerry Forsyth in the days to come.
Diamond thanks its sponsors: The Horseshoe Southern Indiana, Cyclop Balls, Simonis Cloth, BCA Pool League, and BadBoys Billiard Productions.
Accu-Stats thanks its Arena Sponsors: Simonis Cloth, Cyclop Balls, OB Cues, Cue and Case, MEZZ Cues, Samsara Cues, and National Billiard Academy.

USBTC wraps up with Jeff Beckley winning the 8-Ball Division

USBTC 8-Ball Champion, Jeff Beckley, at work in the TAR arena

CSI’s 19th Annual US Bar Table Championships concluded Sunday, with Jeff Beckley going undefeated in the 8-Ball Division.   The first year for the USTBC at the Grand Sierra Resort and Casino was a rousing success.  It’s been a fantastic week of championship caliber pool, with outstanding performances in all three divisions: 10-Ball, 9-Ball and 8-Ball.

The 8-Ball Division kicked off on Friday, with 189 entries in the Men’s Division and 46 entries in the Women’s Division.  All tables were in play, as there were three tournaments being contested simultaneously, the Men’s and Women’s USTBC 8-Ball, and a WorldPPA handicapped 9-Ball Tournament.

Jeff Beckley, who hails from Indiana, had an impressive tournament run.  Jeff  finished undefeated, and notched wins over notable players such as Jose Parica, Larry Nevel, Francisco Bustamante and Robb Saez.  His win/loss totals were an impressive 45-18.

Jeff started out the final day, with a hotseat match with Francisco Bustamante.  Jeff played solid and capitalized on a few uncharacteristic mistakes from Francisco.  Francisco was a favorite going in, as he had a very impressive run on Saturday.  Jeff sent Francisco to the losers bracket with a 5-3 win and then went back to his room to relax until his 7:00 match.
Meanwhile, Robb Saez was all business on Sunday.  His eyes were set on Jeff Beckley, but he would have to beat a host of champions to get there.   Robb started off by knocking out Rodney Morris 5-2, then sent Larry Nevel packing with a 5-0 win.  Next up for Robb was Oscar Dominguez, who was having a great tournament himself.

Oscar was sent to the losers side late Saturday night by Francisco Bustamante, in a match where Oscar would get only two shots.  Francisco broke and ran the first game.  When Oscar broke the next game, the cue ball got kicked in and Francisco ran out.  Then, Francisco broke and ran out.  When Oscar broke the next game, the cue ball was kicked in again, and Francisco ran out.  Francisco then broke and ran the final game, for a 5-0 win.  In all, Oscar had only two shots in the match, both break shots.
Oscar would give Robb all he could handle though on Sunday, and they went hill-hill with Robb needing to bank his last solid cross side and draw his cueball into the 8-ball, which was tied up on another ball.  It was a do or die shot, where any part of the shot going wrong would result in an easy out and a win for Oscar.  Undaunted, Robb drilled the bank and drew softly into the 8-ball, freeing it up for an easy shot to win the set.
Up next for Robb, was Francisco Bustamante.  Robb had everything rolling for him though at this point, and great play and a few rolls allowed him to move on to the finals with a 5-4 victory over “Django.”
The finals got underway at 7:00 pm with Robb Saez needing to beat Jeff Beckley twice.  Up until this point, it seemed destiny was on Robb’s side, but Jeff was not going to be denied.  First Jeff got an early lead at 3-0, then Robb crept back with a  couple of  games.   Jeff got to the hill first, and had a few opportunities to close out the match, but couldn’t cash in on them.  Jeff would need to keep his composure and put his missed opportunities behind him, if he wanted to end this in one set.  Jeff would keep it together, and with a straight in 8-ball down the rail, he won his first  USBTC 8-Ball Title.

Congratulations to Jeff Beckley with his 1st place finish and Robb Saez for finishing 2nd.  Francisco Bustamante finished 3rd and Oscar Dominguez came in 4th.  First paid $5700, 2nd paid $3300, 3rd paid $2000 and 4th paid 1200.
On the Women’s side, Stacy Allsup went undefeated and matched up with Melissa Little in the finals.  Melissa would need to beat Stacy two sets to come out on top, but fell short, losing the first set 4-2.  Congratulations to Stacy Allsup on her 1st place finish pocketing $875, and Melissa Little on her 2nd place finish and a $550 prize.
In the All Around Bonus, there was a three way tie for 1st place, between Shane Van Boening, Glenn Atwell and Jeff Beckley.  They split $3500 in added Bonus money provided by CSI.  On the Women’s side, Rebecca Wagner took home an additional $500 for 1st place and Stacy Allsup took home $250.
CSI would like to thank the Grand Sierra Resort and Casino for providing a perfect venue for the USBTC Championship.   Thanks to Ric, Bonnie and Ken Jones with Bad Boys Billiard Productions for all they do in setting up and running this great event.  Bad Boys would like to thank Bret Baker and Janet Okomoto for volunteering their time to assist them.   CSI would like to thank Bill Stock for assisting Bad Boys on the Tournament Directors staff and the long hours he’s had this year at DCC, Swanee and USBTC.

CSI would like to recognize Justin Collett and TAR for providing daily live streaming of the event with the high quality production we all have come to expect from them.

TAR would like to thank OB Cues for sponsoring the live streaming and Kamui Tips and AZBilliards for their additional support.  Also, Ken Shuman for his professional commentating all week on the live stream.  Special thanks to Andy Chen & Greg Koch (“CaliRed”) for their long hours running cameras for the live stream.
Most of all, CSI would like to thank the players, the fans, and the pool community for making this event a success.  CSI would especially like to thank their own CSI family at the home office, who put in all the hard work behind the scenes, that are required to put together these large tournaments.  On behalf of Mark Griffin and the entire CSI Staff, thanks to all of you for another successful and entertaining event.