Alex Pagulayan Captures Canadian 9-Ball Kickoff
Former World Champion Alex Pagulayan has bested a field of 94 billiards players to claim the first stop of the 2007-2008 Canadian 9-Ball Tour season. He cruised through the event undefeated and was only threatened once the entire contest, this when Jeff White managed to take him to the hill before Pagulayan could close the deal and remain on the right-hand side of the brackets.
It was not as if he had an easy group to beat. Long-time sponsors Canada Bowling and Billiard, Simonis Cloth, Dufferin Cues, Stan James Bookmakers, Aramith Billiard Balls and Simonis Cloth have been joined this year by lead sponsors Chapters-Indigo Bookstores and Cineplex Entertainment to swell the prize funds to $10,000 in added money at each stop and this has lured large fields swollen with international talent. Superstar Pagulayan wasn’t even the only former World Champion in the field as Ralf Souquet made the trip to Newmarket along with his Mosconi Cup teammate Marcus Chamat of Sweden. Another World Champion, Thorsten Hohmann of Germany, had entered the event but was unable to attend at the last minute.
In addition to the international talent, Canada had sent their best into the fray. The list of players present included a plethora of Canadian National Champions and rising stars. Last years tour champion Edwin Montal led the Canadian effort along with Tyler Edey, Brady Gollan, Jeff White, Chris Orme, Jason Klatt, Erik Hjorliefson, Alain Martel, John Morra, Ron Wiseman and Mario Morra. But none could find enough power to overcome the precision of Pagulayan’s cue.
The biggest surprise for the fans that packed Bigwigs Billiards was the early exits made by both Ralf Souquet and Marcus Chamat. Neither man made it out of the first day of play as Chamat was sent to the one-loss side early by Pagulayan (9-2) and then was dismissed in his first contest there (9-8) by Elio D’Andrea. Ralf Souquet was also feeling the effects of jet lag and was beaten first by Jason Klatt (9-8) and then was surprised (9-7) by Vito Puopolo to end his attempt at the title.
Meanwhile, Pagulayan was putting on an incredible display that seemed to draw gasps from the audience at every turn. He won his first four matches by a combined score of 36-9 as no opponent could get more than four games on the wire before retiring in defeat. Jeff White ended that overwhelming dominant streak when he took advantage of any air Pagulayan would surrender to him and almost beat the diminutive cue master. White kept it close throughout their contest but Pagulayan turned up the heat another notch when White took the match to the hill. Pagulayan claimed the one-game decider to progress on and remain unbeaten.
In the final match Tyler Edey found himself falling behind early and was never able to make up the gap. Pagulayan escaped one tough situation after another. The scene began to become evident in the second rack when Pagulayan was forced to kick at the two ball. He kicked off of the side rail, rebounded into the two ball and then caromed into the nearby nine ball, sinking it in the corner pocket for the win! If that took the wind out of Edey he never let it show. Tyler Edey has managed to bring both his game and his expectations to the highest levels and he never surrendered the field, fighting well and hard every trip to the table. But Pagulayan kept Edey in his chair for most of the contest and was able to dominate the score line and claim the victory by a score of 11-5.