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Pagulayan rules Guinness 9-ball tour

Former World Pool champion Alex Pagulayan ended the Chinese Taipei stranglehold of the Guin­ness 9-Ball Tour as he downed world No. 1 Dennis Orcollo, 10-6, in the all-Filipino finals of the Sin­gapore leg at Velocity@Novena Square on July 27. Pagulayan’s victory earned him the top prize of $15,000 (about P675,000) while Orcollo, who entered the tournament as a wild card, settled for $6,000, the Phil­ippine Daily Inquirer reported.
The last time a Filipino won a title on the Tour, organized by ESPN Star Sports, was in 2006, when Efren “Bata” Reyes beat In­donesian Ricky Yang in Jakarta. The Orcollo-Pagulayan finals
also marked the first time since 2004, when Lee Van Corteza de­ feated Francisco “Django” Busta­mante in Manila, that two Filipi­nos battled for the crown.

Chinese Taipei players previ­ously dominated the Tour, sweep­ing all six legs last year and the first three this year, courtesy of Chang Jung-ling. Chang was booted out by Orcollo in the group stage last Friday. Pagulayan’s victory gave the Philippines a 13-12 edge over Chinese Taipei in the number of titles won since the Tour started in 2003. No other country has won on the Tour, according to the In­quirer report. It was a tremendous come­back for Pagulayan, who lost his first match in the tournament to Thailand’s Nitiwat Kanjanasri (9- 8), then made it to the quarterfi­nals over Ibrahim Bin Amir on a tiebreak after he beat the Malay­sian, 9-8.

Known for his table antics, Pagulayan, the 2004 World Pool champion, actually trailed Orcol­lo, 2-0, but seized control of the match by winning the next fiveracks. Orcollo managed to make the match interesting by moving within 6-8, after capitalizing on a scratch by Pagulayan in the 14th rack. However, the player known internationally as the “Lion” had the final roar as he won the next three racks on another Orcollo dry break in the 15th rack and a scratch in the 17th to cap his first victory on Tour.

“Everything went wrong for Dennis and all the rolls went my way,” said Pagulayan. “It’s about time that we (the Philippines) won because the Taiwanese kept on winning all the legs since last year.
“It feels good and extraordi nary to beat the No. 1 player in the world.” Orcollo said the breaks of the game did him in the well-ap­plauded finals. “I felt that they changed the way they set up the racks on the table,” said Orcollo. “Alex was really lucky and it seemed that he was motivated ever since the quarterfinals. I played my game, but sometimes it’s all about the breaks of the game.”

The 30-year-old Pagulayan reached the Finals after a 9-6 triumph over 2005 World Pool champion Wu Chia-ching of Tai­wan. Orcollo advanced after a scintillating 9-8 semifinal victory over Taiwanese Yang Ching-shun, the Inquirer reported.