Dennis Orcollo reinforced his position as the Philippines top pool player and among the very best in the world when he won the US Open 10-Ball Championships at the Riviera Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Sunday morning Manila Time.
Pool patron Perry Mariano who heads Bugsy Promotions where Orcollo is the star said his pool superstar defeated veteran Francisco “Django” Bustamante 11-5 in the finals after earlier ousting 2004 World 9-Ball champion Alex “The Lion” Pagulayan 9-8 in the semi finals after which Bustamante also beat Pagulayan to force a finals showdown with Orcollo.
The former fisherman earned the top prize of $15,000 while Bustamante settled for $8,500.
Orcollo, whose game was in full flow in the finals was coming off another big win in the star-studded 3rd Annual Hard Times 10-Ball Open title routing American Shane Van Boening, considered the USA’s top pool player 11-3 in the finals last May 6.
AZBilliards reported that Orcullo won seven matches on the loss-side and dominatedShane Van Boening in the finals to become the third Filipino champion of this annual tournament. Lee Van Corteza (2010) and Alex Pagalayun (2011) were the previous champions
The Philippine Sportswriters Association’s Co-Athlete of the Year with four-division world boxing champion Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire is expected to lead the Philippine charge in the forthcoming World Cup of Pool in Manila.
Mariano said he doesn’t know who Orcollo’s partner will be but expressed a preference for Lee Van Corteza who is a top-notch pool player with lots of international experience.
However, franchise holders Matchroom Sport and local TV hosts Solar Sports are likely to decide on who should partner Orcollo.
The other tandem will be the veteran two-time winners Efren “Bata” Reyes and “Django” Bustamante.
Orcollo, gold medalist at the last Southeast Asian Games in Indonesia said “”I want to show through my actions that athletic excellence can be achieved with dedication, hard-work and support.”
He also said he would wish to “dedicate my victory to my countrymen and as well as my boss Perry and Verna (Mariano) who has been helping me compete abroad.”