PAGULAYAN POCKETS POOL US OPEN TITLE / PBA LEGENDS WOW AUSSIES

MANILA, September 27, 2005 
(STAR) Alex Pagulayan twice trounced Jose Parica via the same score, 11-6, the last netting him the 30th US Open 9-ball crown at the Chesapeake Conference Center in Virginia, USA Sunday.

Pagulayan took advantage of Parica’s uncharacteristic mistakes to post an 11-6 win in the semis and later repeated over the US-based Filipino cue master to add the prestigious crown to the world 9-ball title he won in Taiwan two years ago.

He won $40,000 (roughly P2.2 million).

Three Filipinos actually made it to the semifinal round of the annual event which drew the top 256 players in the world, but Francisco "Django" Bustamante bowed to Parica, 10-11. Bustamante, the former world No. 1, earned the right to face Parica by beating the lone American in the semis, Earl Strickland, 11-4.

Parica, who bundled out former world 9-ball champion and Filipino pool hero Efren "Bata" Reyes Friday, actually held Pagulayan to a 5-5 count in the final. But each time he had a chance to take control, Parica would miss a ball and give the momentum to the Canada-based Pagulayan.

From 5-5, Pagulayan won four straight games to take a 9-5 lead and although he yielded the next rack to allow Parica to close in at 9-6, the diminutive Pagulayan won the next two to wrap up the match.

As expected, Pagulayan was ecstatic after the victory, saying he had now accomplished two of his goals in life. One was to win the World Championship and the next to win the US Open, according to AzBilliards.com.

Parica settled for $20,000 while Bustamante and Strickland took home $10,000 and $5,000, respectively.

Pagulayan’s victory and Parica’s runner-up finish also assured themselves of automatic berths in next year’s World 9-ball Championship.

PBA legends wow them Down Under The Philippine Star 09/27/2005

It was a long time coming, but the former Filipino basketball superstars made a triumphant tour of Australia.

The PBA Legends made up for their heart-breaking loss in Melbourne by hammering the RAL Kabayan Titans, 114-88, in their final game at the Penrith Sports Stadium on Saturday night.

Filipino migrants from as far as Canberra, the Central Coast, Newcastle and Wollongong trooped to Penrith to watch their basketball heroes in action. By the time the Legends arrived, the venue was packed to the rafters with the players receiving a standing ovation as they entered the court.

The basketball exhibition was the first of its kind in Australia, and according to Jojo Lastimosa, it was the first time that this bunch of former cage greats played as teammates since they donned the national colors in 1986.

It was a nostalgic moment, seeing household names such as Alvin Patrimonio, Allan Caidic, Samboy Lim, the Loyzaga brothers — Chito and Joey, Paul Alvarez, Jerry Codiñera, Ato Agustin, Manny Victorino and Lastimosa all playing for the same team.

It was also a special night for the Loyzaga clan, with the legendary Caloy Loyzaga and his wife also making a special appearance to watch their two sons, Chito and Joey, team up for the first time since their Ginebra days. The Great Difference joined the Legends team on the bench.

Caidic delivered an MVP performance in the series, finishing with 33 points, five rebounds and six assists, wowing the crowd with his amazing shooting prowess. Lim, another favorite, played his usual high-flying game, and brought the house down with an amazing four-point play, and finished with 22 points. Agustin, the former PBA 1992 MVP, found his shooting form and added 17 points, while big man Codinera stood his ground against the local centers and came up with 14 points, 14 rebounds and two shot blocks.

For the Titans, Croatians Goran Veg led the team with 26 points and 14 rebounds while Tony Lalic hit 24 points and grabbed eight boards.

The game was close in the opening quarter as both teams fought to a 19-19, tie In the second quarter, Veg and Lalic kept the Titans in step with the Legends as they aggressively dunked over their rivals to post a one-point lead at the half.

But the Legends went in full throttle at resumption of the contest with Lim, Caidic, Codinera, Agustin and Patrimonio combining in a torrid third quarter attack to break the game wide open.

Legends coach Turo Valenzona told the team to "use our system, we need to break down the zone, and play as a team." He added," Make quick passes, kung wala yung shot, ipasa sa kabila, and we found Allan (Caidic) and Ato (Agustin) wide open."

Agustin and Caidic sparked a decisive 15-4 run capped by their backbreaking three-pointers to give the Legends a big 81-67 lead heading into the final quarter.

It was indeed a quick turnaround for the heavily-favored PBA selection. Twenty-four hours before, the team played their first match on Australian soil. The star-studded Legends came back from 29 points down only to lose in the final seconds of their first game in Melbourne against the AND1 Crewsaders, 101-106.

HOOPdreamz owner and event manager Marco Selorio, who also saw action for the Titans, said that the PBA Legends Tour is here to stay.

"It’s a privilege to be with these superstars, and from the reaction of the Filipino community, I believe this event gives plenty of joy and satisfaction to Filipinos all over Australia," said Selorio. "Not everyone gets a chance to watch and meet their heroes, and I would like to personally thank Alvarez for assisting us and setting the wheels in motion. My HOOPdreamz team from Melbourne and Sydney as well as our respective sponsors and partners worked hard to make this happen, and God has blessed my organization for giving us this rare opportunity."

Philippine Airlines, ABS CBN, I-Remit Global Remittance, AND1, RAL Services, Kabayan Concreting, Fastbreak Cargo, Wilson Sports, Bayanihan News, Philippine Community Herald, SBS Radio and Bounce Dance Studios backed the PBA Legends Tour.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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