Billiards sensation Alex Pagulayan, aka The Lion, has opted out of the coming SEA Games in Thailand because of differences with the Billiards and Snooker Congress of the Philippines (BSCP), the sports organization in charge of choosing members of the RP Team to the biennial games. The country's billiards greats, i.e., Efren "Bata" Reyes, aka The Magician, and Francisco "Django" Bustamante, are also out of the Team.
Alex Pagulayan, who won the 8-ball singles, 9-ball doubles with Dennis Orcollo and team snooker with Joven Alba and Leonardo Andam, announced his decision in a bid to preempt the BSCP. The BSCP is reportedly not keen on having The Lion on the RP team anymore because of his post-game antics in the early legs of the Guinness 9-ball Asian Tour.
On a personal note, I honestly feel that Pagulayan, a former world pool champion, would have been a strong medal contender in 8-ball and 9-ball events. I've seen him in action countless times and the Lion reminds me of one of the best known pool players in the United States, Minnesota Fats. You see, Alex is a great billiards player AND a great entertainer. Everybody seems to have a good time with his superb shot-making skills, his jokes and antics, well, excluding his opponents, who, more often than not, are always on the losing end of matches whenever they play Alex. Yes, Alex Pagulayan's antics have gotten on the the nerves of some BSCP members, but it is no excuse to exclude him from the RP Team. The Lion is not just one of the most colorful and talented mainstays in the Philippines, HE IS definitely one of the strongest contenders in any tour! He is the most winningest pool player in the last SEA Games for crying out loud!
And I'll give you another thing to think about and ponder on: Why do you think Efren Reyes and Django Bustamante opted out as well? I'll give you one good guess: POLITICS! I had a talk with Django a couple of days ago at the AMF-Puyat SuperBowl, home of the Makati Square Billiards Association billiards club. Our talk revolved around their decision not to play for the RP Team this year. My good friend cited only one reason for the decision, i.e., PULITIKA. POLITICS. Pool players never liked politics. Nobody does! Politics is an excuse designed to cover up inefficiencies. In any sport. In any organization. And I kid you not!
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