Vietnamese cueist defeats former world champion

By Xuan Binh   March 8, 2023 | 10:25 pm PT
Vietnamese cueist defeats former world champion
A screenshot of Luong Duc Thien during the game with Alex Pagulayan at the Premiere League Pool in Leicester on March 8, 2023.
Luong Duc Thien defeated 2004 world billiards champion Alex Pagulayan 5-3 at the Premiere League Pool in Leicester on Wednesday.

Pagulayan had a better start when he won the first two rounds, but Thien leveled the score quickly and took a 3-2 lead. He made a mistake after missing ball number nine in the next round and Pagulayan tied it up at 3-3. In the last two rounds, Thien showed consistent form to win 5-3 overall.

In the last match, Thien did not have a comfortable position to take ball number two down. Therefore, he chose a safe option, which also put Pagulayan in a tough position to get ball number two. After Pagulayan missed his shot, Thien had the chance to place the main ball and cleared the table.

Pagulayan, 45, is nicknamed "The Lion." He won three gold medals in the SEA Games in 2005. He is the second cueist in history to play two consecutive finals of the 9-ball World Cup in 2003 and 2004, winning the latter.

In the next game a few hours later, Thien lost 2-5 to the defending world champion Francisco Ruiz. After eight matches, he won three and lost five, placing 12th out of 16 players. To get to the second stage of the tournament, Thien needs to make the top 10.

Thien, 31, won the 9-ball tournament in Vietnam in 2020. Due to limited participation in international competitions, he is the only player in this tournament that is not on the ranking of World Pool Association.

The Premier League Pool is taking place in the Morningside Arena, Leicester from March 6 to 13.

The last round of Luong Duc Thien vs Alex Pagulayan match at the Premiere League Pool in Leicester on March 8, 2023.

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