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Last Pinoy standing

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Only Pagulayan remains as Biado falls.

Alex Pagulayan, despite representing the red and white colors of Canada, became the last Filipino in contention after advancing to the semifinals of the World 9-Ball Championship last Wednesday at the Al Arabi Sports Club in Doha, Qatar.

Pagulayan moved closer towards capturing his second world championship after beating Indonesia’s Muhammad Bewi, 11-7, in the Round of 16 followed by a hard-fought 11-10 victory over Taiwan’s Ko Ping Chung.

Two more wins to go and Pagulayan would earn his first title since the 2004 edition, while completing his return as one of the sport’s best after once trying his luck playing poker.

In order to complete his magical run, the man they called “The Lion” would need to beat Austria’s Albin Ouschan in a race to 11 affair and the winner of the semifinal match pitting Taiwan’s Cheng Yu Hsuan and American Shane Van Boening in a race to 13 final.

Regardless of Pagulayan’s fate, the Philippines extended its title drought in the competition after its remaining bet Carlo Biado was knocked off in the round of 16.

Biado fell 11-9 to Ko, ending the country’s quest to witness its first champion since Francisco “Django” Bustamante’s triumph in 2010.

Other winners were Efren “Bata” Reyes in 1999 and Ronnie Alcano in 2006, at the time when pool was at its peak.

His exit symbolized another frustrating showing by the Philippines in major international tourneys despite a huge contingent competing every year.