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Alex Pagulayan - 2008 PartyPoker.net World Pool Masters Champion
 Posted on Monday, May 12 2008 @ 09:08:40 UTCby admin
9 Ball PartyPoker.net World Pool Masters 2008
Riviera Hotel & Casino
2901 Las Vegas Blvd, South
Las Vegas,
Nevada 8910909

Friday-Sunday 9-11 May 2008

Photos © JP Parmentier / Matchroom Sports

ALEX PAGULAYAN IS the 2008 PartyPoker.net World Pool Masters Champion as he came from behind to beat Mika Immonen 8-6 in front of a packed crowd at the Riviera Hotel, Las Vegas.

The Filipino was 6-3 down at one stage and looking in severe trouble but the match turned on an illegal break by Immonen whereby he pocketed a ball but failed to carry two other balls past the headstring.

From there Pagulayan cleared to table to gain the necessary momentum and he became stronger over the closing stages to take victory.

“This was like winning the World Championship for me. I’ve always wanted it but I’ve finally broken the ice,“ said a jubilant Pagulayan.

“This is 9 ball and I couldn’t get too upset because I didn’t get a chance. I thought if he runs the set, then he runs the set but I knew that if I got a chance I would need to focus and concentrate and do the best I can."

"Read more" for the details.

“I really didn’t think I’d won it until the last 9 ball dropped but there were lots of people who like me watching and that was good for me to have that support,” he added.

Pagulayan made two balls from the opening break of the final and although Immonen got to the table, the diminutive Filipino took the rack for the early lead.

In contrast to the earlier semi-finals, there was another break that produced three balls but Pagulayan could not capitalise as he missed the 2 ball. Immonen took advantage to run out and level it.

A golden break from Immonen, as the cue ball kicked the 9 ball home, saw Immonen take the lead and he almost did the same again in the fourth, as the 9 ball hung in the pocket. The Finn pocketed the 1 ball and then made an easy 2/9 combination to go 3-1 ahead.

The 1 ball rolled into the corner pocket off the next break but Immonen made a bad miss on the 3 ball as he seemed to hit it too hard.

Pagulayan over hit his shot as he ran out of position on the 4 ball but he redeemed the situation with an excellent cut, gaining good shape on the 5 ball. From there he ran out to take the score to 3-2 to Immonen.

The Filipino made a schoolboy error in the next as he hit the 4 ball prior to hitting the 2 and with ball in hand, Immonen ran out to restore his two rack lead at 4-2.

The Finn took the next rack to move to 5-2 and all the pressure was now on Pagulayan. He responded well as he ran the next rack to reduce arrears.

There was disappointment for Pagulayan though as he scratched off the break in the next. The balls were laid out nicely and Immonen completed an easy run out to take his lead to 6-3.

Immonen made an illegal break in the next as he pocketed a ball but did not bring the requisite two others past the headstring. The punishment of loss of visit allowed Pagulayan back to the table and he made a tidy run out to get within two of Immonen.

Now playing with renewed vigour, he delivered a good break that gave him a chance to get right back into it and he duly responded as a break and run took him to within a rack of Immonen. Now on a roll, Pagulayan broke and ran the 12th rack to draw level at 6-6.

Breaking from the centre of the table, Pagulayan deposited the 1 ball into the centre pocket and played a fine long reverse cut to down the 2 ball. In the zone now, Pagulayan completed his fourth rack in a row to move to the hill at 7-6.

Just when he needed some luck, Immonen returned to the table as Pagulayan scratched on the break as he drew the cue ball into the pocket.

There was disaster for Immonen as he drew the cue ball all the way down table and into the corner pocket as he went from the 1 ball to the 2.

With ball in hand, Pagulayan worked his way through the table and as he planted the 9 ball, he let out a yell of joy as he became 2008 PartyPoker.net World Pool Masters Champion.

“It was brutal, why did it have to happen there?” said a disappointed Immonen.

“I was able to get a good lead but the illegal break was the real turning point as it gave him the opportunity to get back in it.

“He had some nice layouts but he played well and probably deserved to win. But that’s the way it is sometimes. I’m getting more consistent and the No.1 spot will come sooner or later,” he added.

ALEX PAGULAYAN has made it through the final of the PartyPoker.net World Pool Masters for the second time in three years as he overcame compatriot Francisco Bustamante by an 8-4 scoreline at the Riviera Hotel in Las Vegas .

Both players struggled with the break shot but the superior shot-making skills of Pagulayan in the home stretch saw him over the line where he will play either Ko Pin-yi or Mika Immonen.

In front of a standing room only crowd, Pagulayan downed a ball off the opening break leaving him good shape on the 1 ball. Looking very relaxed, he ran through the table to take the first rack.

A dry break from Pagulayan followed and the players exchanged safeties before a slip from the ‘Lion’ allowed Bustamante to play a magnificent shot on the 2 ball off the rail with his cue jacked up. From there he completed the run out to level things.

Bustamante was forced to push out with no shot on the 2 ball in the third, and Pagulayan weighed up his options before putting his opponent back in. Bustamante went full on for the cross table bank and disturbed several balls but the 2 failed to drop and stayed out in the open for Pagulayan. He carefully negotiated the table to move into a 2-1 lead.

A scratch on the break though, let Bustamante to the table and he downed a 3/9 combination to level it.

In a tournament full of dry breaks, Bustamante delivered another one. Pagulayan though, missed with an attacking bank on the 2 ball, before his opponent missed a chancy table length bank. Pagulayan though, fouled as he hit the 7 ball first when the 2 ball was nestled against it.

With ball in hand, Bustamante cleared to take a 3-2 lead.

Another dry break gave Pagulayan a chance and he got things rolling with a decent bank shot and he cleared to restore parity at 3-3.

Bustamante missed badly on the 2 ball and Pagulayan took the chance to pocket it and then tie his opponent up in a very tough snooker. Bustamante escaped but left the 5 ball on and Pagulayan potted it and cleared to take a 4-3 lead.

He came up dry on the next break though and Bustamante took full advantage to clear the table and tie things up at 4-4.

Pagulayan won the next aided by a fluke when he missed the 1 ball but double kissed it into the same pocket.

He increased his lead to 6-4 in the tenth game as he ran out following attempts by both players and he made a ball on the break in the next. A bizarre choice of push out saw him flash at the 6 ball and scratch into the centre pocket.

Bustamante missed the 2 ball using his trademark ‘behind the back’ shot and things started to look ominous. Pagulayan duly won the rack to move to the hill.

The 2004 World Champion took what was the final rack of the match when a Bustamante bank on the 4 ball failed to come off and the 8-4 scoreline duly saw him through to his second World Pool Masters final.

MIKA IMMONEN, a veteran of the PartyPoker.net World Pool Masters, has finally made it through to the final following a tactical match over Taiwanese teenager Ko Pin-yi which saw the Finn emerge a 8-4 winner.

The dry break was a constant factor through the match and safety play dominated throughout. They shared the first eight racks as neither player could assert themselves.

Increased confidence from Immonen, coupled with a wilting Ko, saw the Finn dominate the closing stages for the win.

A millimeter perfect lag gave Immonen the break but no balls fell and Ko fluked the 1 ball into the centre pocket, kicking off the top rail. It set up a run out as he took the opening rack.

A dry break from Ko allowed Immonen to run out to level the score before Ko cashed in on a fruitless break from his opponent to regain the lead.

A fourth dry break allowed Immonen back to the table but he missed a bank off the side rail on the 1 ball. Ko missed it down the rail to give Mika a chance and he duly took it to square the match up at 2-2.

Once again the break shot delivered no balls and the unsmiling Ko negotiated the table to once again regain the lead at 3-2.

At last a player made a ball in the break, as Ko dropped the 5 ball. The 2 ball obscured the 1 so Ko pushed out. Both players exchanged safeties before Immonen missed the 1 ball into the corner pocket and left it on for Ko.

The assured Taiwanese looked composed as he ran through the balls for a 4-2 lead. He made two balls off the break in the next but missed the 1 ball trying to squeeze it by the 8 ball, rail first.

Immonen grabbed the opportunity to clear, including a magnificent long pot on the 8 ball off the rail, drawing all the way back down table for perfect position on the 9 ball.

Another dry break handed the onus back to Ko and he tied Immonen up in a snooker. The Finn jumped out of trouble but left it on for Ko. He pocketed the 1, 2 and 3 before making his first unforced error as he missed an easy 5 ball. Immonen took full advantage to level the score at 4-4.

Another dry break gave the table to Ko and the young Taiwanese pushed out to a jump shot. Immonen put him back in but Ko’s effort left the 1 close to the 9 and Immonen made a 1/9/8 combo to stay at the table.

He played a tight snooker and Ko scratched as he escaped to give Immonen ball in hand. He duly cleared the table to take the lead for the first time at 5-4.

Three balls off the break gave Immonen a great chance to increase his lead and he completed the first break and run of the match to take a 6-4 lead.

He couldn’t capitalise on it though as he broke dry, but Ko was starting to show nerves for the first time in the tournament and a poor safety left the ball on for Immonen and he gained in confidence to clear and move to the hill at 7-4.

Two balls on the break for Immonen and the lowest numbered ball lying over the corner pocket gave Immonen a great chance for victory and he seized the moment to run out for the win.

The Stats



Rodney Morris (USA)

8 : 3

(GER) Thomas Engert

Alex Pagulayan (PHI)

8 : 7

(ENG) Mark Gray

Francisco Bustamante (PHI)

8 : 1

(ITA) Bruno Muratore

Imran Majid (ENG)

8 : 4

(USA) Shane Van Boening

Ko Pin-Yi (TPE)

8 : 3

(GER) Ralf Souquet

Tony Drago (MLT)

8 : 7

(NED) Niels Feijen

Corey Deuel (USA)

8 : 5

(GER) Christain Reimering

Mika Immonen (FIN)

8 : 2

(ENG) Daryl Peach



Alex Pagulayan (PHI)

8 : 6

(USA) Rodney Morris

Francisco Bustamante (PHI)

8 : 4

(GBR) Imran Majid

Ko Pin-Yi (TPE)

8 : 4

(MLT) Tony Drago

Mika Immonen (FIN)

8 : 5

(USA) Corey Deuel



Alex Pagulayan (PHI)

8 : 4

(PHI) Francisco Bustamante

Mika Immonen (FIN)

8 : 4

(TPE) Ko Pin-Yi



Alex Pagulayan (PHI)

8 : 6

(FIN) Mika Immonen

This is the first time in the competition's 16-year history that it was staged in the USA and the players were competing for a $62,000 prize fund, with the winner receiving $20,000.

The 2008 PartyPoker.net World Pool Masters - The Players

1. Francisco Bustamante ( Philippines )
2. Corey Deuel ( USA )
3. Tony Drago ( Malta )
4. Thomas Engert ( Germany )
5. Niels Feijen ( Holland )
6. Mark Gray ( England )
7. Mika Immonen ( Finland )
8. Ko Pin-yi (Chinese Taipei)
9. Imran Majid ( England )
10. Rodney Morris ( USA )
11. Bruno Muratore ( Italy )
12. Alex Pagulayan ( Philippines )
13. Daryl Peach ( England )
14. Christian Reimering ( Germany )
15. Ralf Souquet ( Germany )
16. Shane Van Boening ( USA )


ALEX PAGULAYAN is the 2008 PartyPoker.net World Pool Masters Champion
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  9 Ball


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