Alejandro "Alex" Salvador Pagulayan (born June 25, 1978) is a Filipino Canadian professional pool (pocket billiards) and snooker player. His nicknames are "the Lion" and "the Killer Pixie". This latter nickname was given by the great Cliff Thorburn, former World and Canadian Snooker champion. Alex has a third, more recent nickname of "Mungo" (a favorite Filipino dish) given to him by Rick McCallum, former Wayne State University Pocket Billiard instructor and friend from the Hall of Fame Billiard room in Warren, Michigan. Alex was born in Cabagan, Isabela, Philippines and was raised in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. In 2004, Pagulayan returned to the Philippines, and is a dual citizen of Canada and the Philippines.[1]

Alejandro Salvador Pagulayan
Alex Pagulayan.JPG
Alex Pagulayan at IPT North American Open in Las Vegas, July 2006
Born (1978-06-25) 25 June 1978 (age 41)
Cabagan, Isabela, Philippines
Sport country Canada
Nickname"The Lion"
Pool games9-Ball
Tournament wins
World Champion9-Ball (2004)
Ranking info
Highest WPA ranking1

He is known for his relaxed demeanor during competition, and is a crowd favorite, well liked because of his humorous interaction with the audience.[2] His impressions of other pool players are especially entertaining.

Early yearsEdit

Alex Pagulayan was born in the town of Cabagan in Isabela, Philippines. He and his family emigrated to Canada when he was 13 years old.[3] His father managed a pool hall, so Pagulayan was introduced to the game at an early age. Though he was also attracted to other sports, he thought his physique may have been unsuitable for them. He has said, "I like a lot of sports, but with pool, you don't have to be physically tough." His main training venue was Loma's pool hall.[4]

Professional careerEdit

Pagulayan also has expertise in the pocket billiards game of snooker, and his capabilities helped his Philippines team to win the Snooker Gold Medal at the 2005 SEA Games (held in Manila, Philippines) with teammates Joven Alba and Leonardo Andam. After the team's 3–2 win against Thailand at the Makati Coliseum, Pagulayan emerged as a triple Gold Medalist.[5]

Pagulayan (center) and Francisco Bustamante (left) at the 2004 US Open Nine-ball Championship signing autographs

Very skilled players in nine-ball have the tendency to sometimes pocket four or even five balls on the break. Pagulayan in the first rack of the semi-finals in the 2004 BCA Open, sank six balls on the break — two-thirds of the entire rack. (But note that Rodolfo Luat also performed a similar feat in a Japanese tournament.) Pagulayan's break did not include the 9 ball, and despite the six ball advantage, he lost that game (to fellow countryman Santos Sambajon).[6]

In 2002, Pagulayan won through to the finals of the US Open Nine-ball Championship, but was defeated by Ralf Souquet, 11–13. Three years later, he had another good run the US Open Nine-ball Championship title and won it, defeating Jose Parica in the finals, 11–6.[7]

In 2003, Pagulayan went on the road in the United States with Canadian pool player Ronnie Wiseman to compete in pocket billiard tournaments. They scored a double victory at the Carolinas Open at Fast Eddie's in Goldsboro, North Carolina, with Wiseman winning the one-pocket tournament and Pagulayan winning the nine-ball event.[8] Later in 2003, Pagulayan reached the finals of the World Nine-ball Championship but was beaten by Thorsten Hohmann 10-17.[9]

In 2004 in Taipei, Taiwan, Pagulayan captured the prestigious World Pool Championship title while representing Canada. The score was a 17–13 victory over Pei-wei Chang in the final.[10] This made him Canada's only world champion in the sport.

In 2006, Pagulayan won the first national championship of the Billiards and Snooker Congress of Philippines (BSCP), besting Gandy Valle in the final and earning P1,000,000 (US$20,639).[11]

Ronnie Wiseman, Keith McCready, and Pagulayan (left to right) at the 2003 Carolinas Open in Goldsboro, North Carolina

Not many pool players in the Philippines excel at or even play straight pool. For a number of years, Efren Reyes was the only Filipino player known to have made runs of 100 or more. However, at a demonstration match at the 2006 Derby City Classic in Kentucky, Pagulayan made a high run of 130, the second-highest of the event.[12] This makes him the second Filipino player known to have run 100 balls in straight pool in controlled competition.

In 2007, Pagulayan won the World Summit of Pool nine-ball championship held at the Riviera Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. American Shane Van Boening defeated Pagulayan earlier in the event, 11–4, but the veteran Pagulayan came back from the losing bracket of the double-elimination tournament chart by beating fellow countrymen Francisco Bustamante and Warren Kiamco, only to face Van Boening in the final round. The semi-finals as well as the final matches were recorded by ESPN for future broadcast, and the final match between Pagulayan and Van Boening was a race to 7. Pagulayan shot out with a strong lead, 4–1, but Van Boening managed to tie the score at 5–5. However, after Pagulayan three-fouled him, resulting in a loss of game for Van Boening, Pagulayan advanced and captured the title in the final game, ending the match at 7–5.[13][14]

On May 11, 2008, Pagulayan defeated Mika Immonen in the Matchroom Sports production of the World Pool Masters in a thrilling final match held at the Rivera Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. In the race to 8, Immonen maintained a strong lead against Pagulayan with a score of 6 to 3, but due to an illegal break when he failed to send the required number of balls past the headstring, Pagulayan took advantage of this error by winning the next three games in a row, with the eventual title going to Pagulayan. "I feel like I did when I won the World Championship," said Pagulayan flexing his biceps and performing a running man dance for the cameras directly after sinking the 9 ball for the match win. "I think I've finished in every place here except first," he said. Pagulayan was a finalist in the 2006 World Pool Masters, but lost to German Ralf Souquet.[15]

"The Lion" Pagulayan beat Joven Bustamante on June 15, 2008 to win the P 300,000-Magnificent 7 Winner-Take-All 9-Ball Invitational second qualifier in Mandaue City, Cebu for the December grand final. He was set for the June, 2nd leg of the Sen. Manuel Villar Cup in Cebu City.[16]

Alex Pagulayan, 30, received the $15,000 check, as he defeated Dennis Orcollo, 11-6, to win the 4th leg of the Guinness 9-Ball Tour at the Velocity at Novena Square, Singapore. Pagulayan beat the 2005 world title winner, Wu Chia Ching, 9-6, while Orcollo defeated Yang Ching-Shun, 9-8. Orcollo settled for the runner-up purse of $6,000.[17][18]

In 2011, Alex Pagulayan defeated Floyd Ziegler 6-0 to win the final of the 2011 Canadian Snooker Championships, in his return to competitive snooker, a title he successfully defended in 2012.[19]

In 2014, Pagulayan entered the Snooker Q School in order to qualify for main tour events. He participated in qualifying for the 2014 Wuxi Classic, but lost his match to world number 14 Stephen Maguire. Days later he took part in the qualifying for the next ranking event on the Snooker tour, the Australian Goldfields Open, but lost the first qualifying round 5-1 to Ian Burns. In qualifying for the next ranking event, the Shanghai Masters, he lost to John Astley.

In 2016, Pagulayan was crowned champion of the 2016 9-Ball Canadian Pool Championships held in Quebec, Canada after he tumbled John Morra in the championship match, 15-6. Pagulayan would remain undefeated in all of his matches, including a semifinals victory over Alain Martel in the tournament.[20]


Pagulayan filed a libel and P 6 million damages action with Pasig Regional Trial Court on July 14, 2008. He sued Yen Makabenta and Ernesto Fajardo, the officials of the Billiards and Snookers Congress of the Philippines (BSCP) who had accused him of "sharking" (distracting his opponent to win, at the Singapore leg Guinness 9-Ball Tour), in addition to being a "disgraceful loser" and a "liar".[21]

Switch to CanadaEdit

Pagulayan later represented Canada in international competitions. His agent reportedly said during the 2012 World Cup of Pool that Pagulayan encountered fewer "political obstacles" in representing Canada[22] while the pool player himself said that he switched to representing Canada due to competition with other Filipino players. He made the move in order to continue his professional career, which he stated was his livelihood. At the 2012 World Cup of Pool, he, along with partner John Morra, finished in the Round of 16, and was eliminated by Filipino pair Francisco Bustamante and Efren Reyes.[3]

Personal lifeEdit

Despite his 2004 relocation to the Philippines, Pagulayan still officially has a mailing address in Canada. In March 2007, when asked where he resides in a Pool Billiards News interview, Pagulayan jokingly replied, "My suitcase. Yes. That's where I live right now – out of my suitcase."[23]

Aside from pool, Alex also plays poker, chess and basketball, and is friends with poker star Daniel Negreanu. He is a big fan of the band Texas.


Open Snooker finals: : 2 (2 titles)Edit

Outcome No. Year Championship Opponent in the final Score
Winner 1. 2011 Canadian Open Snooker Championship   Floyd Ziegler 6–0
Winner 2. 2012 Canadian Open Snooker Championship   Tom Finstad 6–3
  • 2017 U.S Open 8-ball Champion
  • 2016 Canadian Pool 9-Ball Champion[20]
  • 2016 U.S. Open One Pocket Champion[24]
  • 2013 Derby City Classic 9-ball Champion
  • 2012 Canadian 9-Ball Champion
  • 2012 Canadian 8-Ball Champion
  • 2012 Jay Swanson Memorial champion
  • 2011 Jay Swanson Memorial champion
  • 2008 World Pool Masters, Las Vegas, Nevada
  • 2007 World Summit of Pool
  • 2006 Philippine National Championship
  • 2005 Philippines Snooker Team Gold Medal, SEA Games
  • 2005 US Open Nine-ball Championship
  • 2005 Derby City Classic Ten-ball Ring Game Champion
  • 2005 SML Entertainment Nine-ball Champion
  • 2004 WPA World Nine-ball Championship
  • 2003 Joss Tour Grand Final Winner
  • 2003 Carolinas Open Nine-ball Division, Goldsboro, North Carolina
  • 2003 IBC Western Canadian Open
  • 2002 World Pool Trickshot Champion


  1. ^ "The Professionals" Archived 2007-08-10 at the Wayback Machine, Accessed 2007-08-11
  2. ^ "Pagulayan Accuses BSCP of Getting Back at Him" Archived 2007-09-28 at the Wayback Machine 2007-07, Accessed 2007-08-11
  3. ^ a b Lozada, Mei-Lin (7 September 2012). "'The Lion' still a Pinoy at heart". Sports Interactive Network Philippines. Retrieved 1 July 2019.
  4. ^ "Alex 'The Lion' Pagulayan" Archived 2007-06-20 at the Wayback Machine, Accessed 2007-08-11.
  5. ^ 23rd SEA Games Winners and Losers[permanent dead link], Editorial, The Sunday Times, December 11, 2005. Retrieved June 18, 2007
  6. ^ "Footage of the six ball break shot and its aftermath". Archived from the original on 2016-04-28. Retrieved 2016-11-27.
  7. ^ Pagulayan wins U.S. Open Archived 2007-06-08 at the Wayback Machine, '" Retrieved June 18, 2007
  8. ^ Pagulayan Wins Carolinas Open Nine-ball Division Archived 2007-11-09 at the Wayback Machine, Retrieved June 18, 2007
  9. ^ Hohmann Wins World Title Archived 2007-06-07 at the Wayback Machine, by Mike Panozzo,, July 20, 2003. Retrieved June 18, 2007
  10. ^ Pagulayan Crowned World Champion Archived 2007-03-26 at the Wayback, Retrieved June 18, 2007
  11. ^ Alex Pagulayan Wins Opener in BSCP National Pool Championship Archived 2007-04-01 at the Wayback Machine, by Marlon Bernardino, Retrieved June 18, 2007
  12. ^ "Straight Pool Challenge at Derby City" Archived 2006-11-16 at the Wayback Machine, by Bob Jewett, Professor-Q-Ball's National Pool & 3-cushion News, 2006; accessed February 11, 2007
  13. ^ Pagulayan Sails Through at Billiard Factory World Summit of Pool Archived 2007-06-20 at the Wayback Machine,, June 2007. Retrieved June 18, 2007
  14. ^ Shane Van Boening vs. Alex Pagulayan Live Update Archived 2007-06-20 at the Wayback Machine, Retrieved June 18, 2007
  15. ^ Lion Wins World Pool Masters Archived 2007-06-24 at the Wayback Machine, Retrieved May 12, 2008
  16. ^, 'The Lion' conquers Mandaue 9-Ball tilt[permanent dead link]
  17. ^, Pagulayan ends Taipei’s reign in Guinness Tour
  18. ^ ", Gallego reigns in Villar Cup". Archived from the original on 2008-07-30. Retrieved 2008-07-28.
  19. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-03-08. Retrieved 2011-07-11.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  20. ^ a b "Pagulayan rules Quebec 9-ball". Manila Times. May 20, 2016. Archived from the original on 2016-05-22. Retrieved May 22, 2016.
  21. ^ ", Alex Pagulayan files P6-M libel case vs 2 pool officials". Archived from the original on 2009-05-04. Retrieved 2008-07-14.
  22. ^ Terrado, Reuben (4 September 2012). "Reason behind Pagulayan switch". Sports Interactive Network Philippines. Retrieved 1 July 2019.
  23. ^ "Alex 'The Lion' Pagulayan" Archived 2007-06-20 at the Wayback Machine,, March 12, 2007. Retrieved June 18, 2007
  24. ^ Christopher Clark (April 22, 2016). "Alex Pagulayan crowned 2016 U.S. Open One Pocket Champion". On Cue News. Archived from the original on 2016-11-07. Retrieved 2016-04-08.

External linksEdit