Two Fingers Pelayo, 3 Others Battle in Negros 9-Ball Final Four

Jarry Pelayo

DUMAGUETE CITY---Jarry Pelayo and Elmer Haya, two unheralded players, have secured slots in the semifinals of the Negros Oriental International 9-Ball Championships as they dispatched their counterparts late Friday at the Dumaguete Convention Center in Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental here.

The 32-year-old Pelayo, who hails from Bacolod City fondly called "Putol" or "Two fingers" in the world of pool, who lost his three fingers in a fire cracker accident as a little boy, upset current National Open Champion Lee Vann Corteza, 9-4, while the 30-year-old Haya, a native of Molave, Zamboanga shocked 2004 World Pool Champion Alex Pagulayan, 9-5.

Pelayo and Haya, both playing under the banner of Negros Billiard Stable (NBS) are the only undefeated players in this $61,400 total pot tournament jointly organized by NBS and Puyat Sports and offering $20,000 to the champion in the event supported by Negros Oriental Governor Emilio Macias, Negros Oriental 1st district representative Josie Limkaichiong of La Libertad and businessman Julio "Jun-Jun" Sy Jr.

The runner-up here gets $10,000 while losing semi-finalist will walk away $5,000 each in this double-elimination format presented by NOKIA, KOPIKO 3-In-1 coffee, San Miguel Corporation (SMC) and ALTUS Communication will be aired on Solar Sports on Nov.22-29.

Pelayo's road to the final four came with wins over Ching-Shun Yang of Taiwan, 9-8, Rodolfo "Boy Samson" Luat, 9-3, and Elvis Calasang, 9-3, before beating Corteza, 9-4.While Haya's road to the semis came from wins over Ramil Gallego, 9-8, Satoshi Kawabata of Japan, 9-5, Leonardo Didal, 9-6, before downing Pagulayan, 9-5.

Pagulayan, the 2005 US Open 9-Ball Champion, acknowledge "The Lion" in pool world set up final four clash with Haya, who brought downed 2001 World Pool Champion Mika Immonen of Finland, 9-7, in the loser's brackets while the Japan based Galleo, will face Pelayo in another feature semi-final round. Gallego defeated 1996 World Pool Champion Ralf Souquet of Germany, 9-6, and Corteza, 9-6, respectively to advance in the final four.

According to Jarry, who called up his Bacolod City based father Francisco Pelayo to watch his semi-final encounter against Gallego here in Dumaguete City, the cue players he is most worried about facing is Pagulayan who enjoys a 2-0 advantage in their head-head encounters. Jarry thanked local billiards patron Jonathan Sy, president of the Negros Billiard Stable for supporting his campaign here.