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43rd US Open 9-Ball Championship: De Luna beats Pagulayan, enters semis


PhilBoxing.com




Jeffrey "The Bull" De Luna outplayed Alex "The Lion" Pagulayan, 11-5, in a duel of the fancied Filipino bets to barge into the semifinal round of the partypoker money-rich 43rd US Open 9-Ball Championship being held at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino Convention Center, Las Vegas on Friday (Manila time).

With the win, the power-breaker De Luna sets up a clash against Joshua Filler of Germany in the semifinals.

De Luna took early leads and never looked back in his match against Pagaulayan, the latter did get an opportunity to fight back from 10-3 up when De Luna missed a straight 3 to the middle pocket but at 10-5 his fightback stumbled and ‘The Bull’ closed out the rack for a victory which ensures there will be a new name on the Barry Behrman trophy this year.

“I really felt the pressure in the first rack,” said De Luna. “Alex is a great player, a World champion, but I played my game and I am very comfortable now at the table. Last night I played terribly but I practiced today and felt comfortable on the table.

"Keep calm & focus on your goals. God is good all the time," said Dianne Gutierrez De Luna, wife of Jeffrey.

Filler, on the other hand toppled Francisco Sanchez Ruiz of Spain, 11-3, in another quarterfinals match-ups.

For reaching the semi-final round, De Luna and Filler already assured at least $25,000 in this 256 players field, $300,000 total pot prize World Pool-Billiards Association (WPA) sanctioned tournament which offers $50,000 to the champion and $25,000 goes with it for the runner-up prize.

The remaining match still playing at presstime of the tourney are Lui Haitao (China) versus Chang Yu-Lung (Chinese-Taipei) and Wang Can (China) opposite countryman Wu Jiaqing (China).

On the roads to the final eight, the undefeated De Luna needed to beat Torsten Schmitt of Germany (11-0), Chris Robinson of the United States (11-9), countryman Dennis Orcollo (11-10), Kenichi Uchigaki of Japan (11-3) Lui Hai Tao of China (11-5) and Imran Majid of Great Britain, 11-9, in the round-of-16.

In the history of US Open 9-ball, the longest-running 9-ball tournament in the United States, only two Filipino manage to take the crown/title in the likes of Efren "Bata" Reyes in 1994 and Alex "The Lion" Pagulayan in the 2005 edition. Pagulayan who hails from Cabagan, Isabela is representing Canada.-Marlon Bernardino-

Photo credits to Vincent Rochefort/Matchroom Sports.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Marlon Bernardino.


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