Alex Pagulayan

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Alex Pagulayan

Alejandro (Alex) Salvador Pagulayan, (born June 25, 1976) is a Filipino Canadian professional pool (pocket billiards) and snooker player.

His nicknames are "the Lion" and "the Killer Pixie". He was born in Cabagan, Isabela, Philippines and was raised in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. In 2004, Pagulayan returned to the Philippines, and is a dual citizen of Canada and the Philippines.

He is known for his relaxed demeanor during competition, and is a crowd favorite, well liked because of his humorous interaction with the audience.

Pagulayan's parents emigrated to Canada when he was 13 years old. His father managed a pool hall, so Pagulayan was introduced to the game at an early age. Though he was also attracted to other sports, he thought his physique may have been unsuitable for them. He has said, "I like a lot of sports, but with pool, you don't have to be physically tough." His main training venue was Loma's pool hall.


Pagulayan also has expertise in the pocket billiards game of snooker, and his capabilities helped his Philippines team to win the Snooker Gold Medal at the 2005 SEA Games (held in Manila, Philippines) with team-mates Joven Alba and Leonardo Andam. After the team's 3–2 win against Thailand at the Makati Coliseum, Pagulayan emerged as a triple Gold Medalist.[4]

Very skilled players in nine-ball have the tendency to sometimes pocket four or even five balls on the break. Pagulayan in the first rack of the semi-finals in the 2004 BCA Open, sank six balls on the break — two-thirds of the entire rack. (But note that Rodolfo Luat also performed a similar feat in a Japanese tournament.) Pagulayan's break did not include the 9 ball, and despite the six ball advantage, he lost that game (to fellow countryman Santos Sambajon).[5]

In 2002, Pagulayan won through to the finals of the US Open Nine-ball Championship, but was defeated by Ralf Souquet, 11–13. Three years later, he had another good run the US Open Nine-ball Championship title and won it, defeating Jose Parica in the finals, 11–6.[6]

In 2003, Pagulayan went on the road in the United States with Canadian pool player Ronnie Wiseman to compete in pocket billiard tournaments. They scored a double victory at the Carolinas Open at Fast Eddie's in Goldsboro, North Carolina, with Wiseman winning the one-pocket tournament and Pagulayan winning the nine-ball event.[7] Later in 2003, Pagulayan reached the finals of the World Nine-ball Championship but was beaten by Thorsten Hohmann 10-17.[8]

In 2004 in Taipei, Taiwan, Pagulayan captured the prestigious World Pool Championship title while representing Canada. The score was a 17–13 victory over Pei-wei Chang in the final.[9] This made him Canada's only world champion in the sport.

In 2006, Pagulayan won the first national championship of the Billiards and Snooker Congress of Philippines (BSCP), besting Gandy Valle in the final and earning P1,000,000 (US$20,639).[10]

Not many pool players in the Philippines excel at or even play straight pool. For a number of years, Efren Reyes was the only Filipino player known to have made runs of 100 or more. However, at an demonstration match at the 2006 Derby City Classic in Kentucky, Pagulayan made a high run of 130, the second-highest of the event. This makes him the second Filipino player known to have run 100 balls in straight pool in controlled competition.

In 2007, Pagulayan won the World Summit of Pool nine-ball championship held at the Riviera Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. American Shane Van Boening defeated Pagulayan earlier in the event, 11–4, but the veteran Pagulayan came back from the losing bracket of the double-elimination tournament chart by beating fellow countrymen Francisco Bustamante and Warren Kiamco, only to face Van Boening in the final round. The semi-finals as well as the final matches were recorded by ESPN for future broadcast, and the final match between Pagulayan and Van Boening was a race to 7. Pagulayan shot out with a strong lead, 4–1, but Van Boening managed to tie the score at 5–5. However, after Pagulayan three-fouled him, resulting in a loss of game for Van Boening, Pagulayan advanced and captured the title in the final game, ending the match at 7–5.

On May 11, 2008, Pagulayan defeated Mika Immonen in the Matchroom Sports production of the World Pool Masters in a thrilling final match held at the Rivera Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. In the race to 8, Immonen maintained a strong lead against Pagulayan with a score of 6 to 3, but due to an illegal break when he failed to send the required number of balls past the headstring, Pagulayan took advantage of this error by winning the next three games in a row, with the eventual title going to Pagulayan. "I feel like I did when I won the World Championship," said Pagulayan flexing his biceps and performing a running man dance for the cameras directly after sinking the 9 ball for the match win. "I think I’ve finished in every place here except first," he said. Pagulayan was a finalist in the 2006 World Pool Masters, but lost to German Ralf Souquet.

"The Lion" Pagulayan beat Joven Bustamante on June 15, 2008 to win the P 300,000-Magnificent 7 Winner-Take-All 9-Ball Invitational second qualifier in Mandaue City, Cebu for the December grand final. He was set for the June, 2nd leg of the Sen. Manuel Villar Cup in Cebu City.

Alex Pagulayan, 30, received the $ 15,000 check, as he defeated Dennis Orcollo, 11-6, to win the 4th leg of the Guinness 9-Ball Tour at the Velocity at Novena Square, Singapore. Pagulayan beat the 2005 world title winner, Wu Chia Ching, 9-6, while Orcollo defeated Yang Ching-Shun, 9-8. Orcollo settled for the runner-up purse of $ 6,000.

In 2011, Alex Pagulayan defeated Floyd Ziegler 6-0 to win the final of the 2011 Canadian Snooker Championships, in his return to competitive snooker.

Libel Suit[edit]

Pagulayan filed a libel and P 6 million damages action with Pasig Regional Trial Court's Second Assistant City Prosecutor Maria Anunciacion Hipol, on July 14, 2008. He sued Yen Makabenta and Ernesto Fajardo, the officials of the Billiards and Snookers Congress of the Philippines (BSCP) who had accused him of "sharking" (distracting his opponent to win, at the Singapore leg Guinness 9-Ball Tour), in addition to being a "disgraceful loser" and a "liar".

Relocation to Philippines[edit]

Despite his 2004 relocation to the Philippines, Pagulayan still officially has a mailing address in Canada. In March 2007, when asked where he resides in a Pool Billiards News interview, Pagulayan jokingly replied, "My suitcase. Yes. That's where I live right now – out of my suitcase."

Aside from pool, Alex also plays poker, chess and basketball, and is friends with poker star Daniel Negreanu. He is a big fan of the band Texas.

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