MANILA, AUGUST 18, 2006 (STAR) By Joey Villar - Top seed Alex Pagulayan pulled off another escape act in the BSCP National Pool Championship, battling back from two-rack deficit in the early going and repulsing Antonio Gabica, 9-7, to barge into semifinal round from the winnersí bracket at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium yesterday.

Pagulayan, who edged unheralded Edgar Acaba, 9-7, in the second round and Leonardo Didal, 9-6, in the third, found the going tough against Gabica, a veteran campaigner, but fought back from 2-4 down by seizing five of the next six racks to wrest a 7-5 lead.

But Gabica, who bested Rolando Garcia, 9-3, Wednesday night to arrange a clash with the former world 9-ball champion, clawed his way back behind a series of spectacular shots, including one in the 14th rack that knotted the count at 7-all.

Gabica, however, came out empty on the break in the 15th rack, setting Pagulayan for a run out for the victory.

"I know I get stronger the longer the tournament gets," said Pagulayan. "You need luck to win, and I had it tonight."

Pagulayan next faces the winner between Ramil Gallego, who downed Jimmy Ching, 9-2, and Ronnie Alcano, a 9-2 winner over Bobby Petiza, which was being played at presstime.

The other two semifinalists in the winnersí group were tournament sensation Gandy Valle and Dennis Orcollo.

Valle, a gold medalist in both the 1998 Bangkok Asian Games and 2005 Manila SEAG, shocked local legend Jose Parica and Rodolfo Luat while Orcollo trounced Mario Tolentino, 9-6, Wednesday night.

Meanwhile, Leonardo Andam dropped a 7-9 decision to unheralded Victor Arpilleda to become the first big gun to fall in this six-day event staking P1 million to the champion.

Other survivors in the losersí bracket were Nestor Ocampo, who eliminated Paquito Suarez, 9-5, Elmer Haya, who walloped Romeo del Rosario, 9-3, Lee Van Corteza, who overcame Panfilo Damu-ag, Jr., 9-2, and Roland dela Cruz, a 9-5 winner over Benjamin Guevarra, Jr.

Eagles escape on Intalís heroics By Nelson Beltran The Philippine Star 08/18/2006

Ateneo star forward JC Intal came through with crucial plays in the last nine seconds and the Eagles preserved their clean slate in the 2006 UAAP basketball tournament with a 66-65 squeaker over the Adamson Falcons yesterday at the Philsports Arena.

Intal scored on a short jumper off Patrick Cabahug then teamed up with Macky Escalona for a crucial defensive stop on Marvin Polayapoy on Adamsonís return play as the Eagles avoided what could have been a first defeat in seven starts in the season.

"Adamson will always be a tough match-up for us because they have the size. We also had difficulty shaking off rustiness coming off an 11-day break," said Ateneo coach Norman Black.

"Coach Leo Austria did a good job and only in the second half we did recognize what heí s doing," Black added.

Adamson gave Ateneo a big scare but went short in its bid to snap a 17-game losing streak in its match-up with the Eagles dating back to 1997.

The Falcons fell to 3-5 this season despite another impressive performance from center Kenneth Bono who churned out 21 points and 11 rebounds.

Earlier, Far Eastern U seized control early with UP ace point guard Marvin Cruz riding the bench the entire first half, streaking to a fourth straight win by whipping the Maroons, 89-76.

"We challenged their shooters and stopped their transition game. We also had a big break with Cruz not playing in the first half," said FEU coach Bert Flores on their fourth consecutive victory following four successive losses.

"He played only 16 minutes in the second half and yet he still led UP with 15 points. Good for more than 20 points if he had played in the first half," Flores added.

Cruz sobbed as he hugged teammate Nestor David at midcourt after the final buzzer.

He committed eight turnovers, including two costly ones at endgame as the Maroons suffered a 104-107 defeat to the National U Bulldogs in their previous game Sunday.

Jonas Villanueva frolicked on the floor with Cruz still on the bench, rifling in 13 points, and the Tamaraws sat on a 51-40 cushion at halftime.

The Tamaraws went to work early, erecting a 24-15 lead in the first period and sustaining a solid job all the way to the finish.

"We have a good run which hopefully serves as in good stead as we play UE Sunday," said Flores.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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