CARDIFF: FIL-CANADIAN ALEX PAGULAYAN TAKES SPOTLIGHT ADVANCES TO FINALS

Cardiff, Wales, July 21, 2003 (Star) Canada-based Filipino Alex Pagulayan succeeded where Francisco "Django" Bustamante and the rest of the Filipinos had failed, beating two rivals Saturday and advancing to the finals of the World Pool Championship against unfancied German Thorsten Hohmann in Cardiff, Wales.

Hohmann shocked Bustamante in their quarterfinal duel, winning the last five racks in a stirring fashion and stealing an 11-10 victory in a match the Filipino seemed to have dominated. The German, a relative unknown in elevated pool circles, then capped his explosive day with an 11-4 victory over defending champion Earl Strickland.

In the upper bracket, Pagulayan took a close match, 11-9, from Sin-Young Park of Korea then followed it up with an 11-6 win over Tony Drago to assure his spot in the finals.

The winner of the finals on Sunday will pocket $65,000, while the runner-up will take home $30,000. Strickland and Drago both settled for $17,500 in prize money for third place.

Bustamante, who had looked forward to a successful stint this year after losing the crown to Strickland last year, raced to a 10-6 lead in their race-to-11 duel but failed to wrap up the match with missed shots, enabling Hohmann to score that come-from-behind victory.

Bustamante, who beat Efren "Bata" Reyes in the Last 16, settled for $8,500.

With Bustamante out, focus will be on Pagulayan, the 25-year-old Toronto-based cue artist who bagged the Joss Tour Grand Final this year and placed second in the recent US Open.

Pagulayan broke into the world pool stage by making it past the elims in the 1999 edition of this event won by Reyes. He actually tried out for the Philippine delegation that year but failed to make the grade. But the diminutive Filipino player, nicknamed The Lion, pursued his dream and clinched a spot in the Canadian squad.

He reached the Last 16 in 2000, got booted out in the Last 64 in 2001 then advanced again to the Last 16 in last year’s edition of the event.

This time, the Canadian champion is looking for a princely prize of $65,000.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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