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Sports

Pagulayan to defend 9-ball crown as Pinoy

- Jose Aravilla -
Here’s great news to local sports fans: Reigning World Pool champion Alex Pagulayan can now represent the Philippines in international competitions.

This was made possible after the Bureau of Immigration (BI) finally granted the cheerful world champion Filipino citizenship which he lost as a minor when his parents immigrated to and acquired Canadian citizenship.

Pagulayan, though, retains his Canadian citizenship under the country’s dual citizenship law, which was passed last year.

Immigration Commissioner Alipio Fernandez Jr., a big sports aficionado himself, said Pagulayan only needs to be fingerprinted before his certificate of dual citizenship is issued.

After winning the World Pool title and the $75,000 top prize in Taiwan last month, Pagulayan dedicated his victory to the Filipinos and openly said that he wants to join the Philippine billiards team for future international competitions like the 23rd SEA Games to be held in the country next year.

Pagulayan has also looked forward to the 2006 Asian Games in Doha, Qatar where he could be teamed up with Filipino greats Efren "Bata" Reyes and Francisco "Django" Bustamante. And in next year’s World Pool championship, expect Pagulayan to carry the Philippine flag.

The reigning world champion, who finished runner-up in the 2003 World Pool in Cardiff, Wales, arrived in Manila days after his victory in Taipei and even had an audience with President Arroyo. He left for abroad just recently to compete in other international billiard events.

Pagulayan’s parents, who hail from Cabagan, Isabela, are natural-born Filipinos. Pagulayan, well-loved in the international pool circuit for his jolly, comical behavior, himself was born in the Philippines.

ALEX PAGULAYAN

ASIAN GAMES

BATA

BUREAU OF IMMIGRATION

BUSTAMANTE

IMMIGRATION COMMISSIONER ALIPIO FERNANDEZ JR.

PAGULAYAN

PRESIDENT ARROYO

REIGNING WORLD POOL

REYES AND FRANCISCO

WORLD POOL

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