Alex “The Lion” Pagulayan
Alex Pagulayan picked up his first pool cue when he was 10, barely taller than the stick itself. After winning the World Championship in August, though, “The Lion” is larger than life.
The pint-sized Filipino Canadian, who turned 26 in 2004, captured the championship having finished runner-up last year, and now, he says, the weight is lifted off his shoulders. “It feels really good to be number one.” Although he’s on top of the world in the sport, his mind is with his family. His daughter, now five months old, is staying with her mother, Phoebe Choy, while Pagulayan competes on the road.
The road for Pagulayan began in the Philippines where he was born and raised until age 15, when his family moved to Canada. His father ran a pool hall, so his exposure to the game was early and often. He also liked other sports, but he says his stature just wasn’t right. “I like a lot of sports, but with pool, you don’t have to be physically tough.”
As he got older he worked with Paul Thornly, a man he says helped him with areas inside and outside the pool hall. To this day, he remains his favorite player. “He even taught me how to fence,” added Pagulayan.
Pagulayan still officially has a mailing address in Canada, but he says that isn’t entirely true right now. When asked where he lives, he paused, and then jokingly said, “My suitcase. Yes, that’s where I live right now-out of my suitcase!”
The traveling may be tough on him right now, but he isn’t showing any signs of letting up on the competition. Pagulayan is continuing his climb toward greatness, and it is doubtful much of anything can stop him.
Wrap: Irish linen
Hit: Medium hard
Tip: “I’m not sure. Whatever was on there when I bought it.”
Shaft Maintenance: “I don’t really maintain it. I clean it once in a while … I use a lot of baby powder.”
Loose in Case: “I can’t name all the stuff I have in there. I’ve got my towel and baby powder, but most of the stuff in there I’m just too lazy to put where it belongs.”
Advice to Other Buying a Cue: “Whatever feels comfortable. Don’t buy one just cause it looks good. Everyone plays different, so pick the one that suits you the best.”