The definition of a 5 tool player in baseball is that of a player that excels at all five of the major physical tools: speed, throwing, fielding, hitting for average, and hitting for power. Some of the names that come to mind that are the definition of 5 tool players would be Mickey Mantle, Ken Griffey Jr, and currently Mike Trout. The pool world has 5 tool players as well and none personifies that term better than the Lion himself, Alex Pagulayan. A part of the Filipino movement of players, Alex has been a high level pro player for a long time. Nicknamed “The Lion” for his shear will to never give up in a match and to give it all he has, and his name kind of sounds like Lion. Alex has accomplished something that no other pool player in history has done, win all three main event tournaments at the Derby City Classic. Alex is one of, if not the best all around player in the game today and is not afraid to gamble anyone in any game.
What got you into pool?
When I was 10 years old my Dad used to take me to the pool room and I would watch him play and I fell in love with the game.
What player from the past would you like to have played but didn't get the chance?
Efren Reyes in his prime playing one pocket.
What is your greatest accomplishment in pool?
Becoming Hall of fame.
Is there something left in pool that you haven't done or a tournament that you haven't won that you want to win?
Yes, become a motivator for the game itself.
The Action Report documented your epic rivalry with Shane Van Boening years back. For those unfamiliar with that, how did that come about?
Epic and exciting!
For those unfamiliar with the rivalry, it was one of the greatest things in pool. It started at the 2008 Derby City Classic where Shane was scheduled to play a race to 21 10 ball with Francisco Bustamante. Since Bustamante was in the running for the master of the table, he decided to not stay up all night and gamble and went to bed early. In true Lion fashion, Alex stepped up and played Shane. The set went hill-hill with Shane winning what was a heart pounding last game. Shane and Alex matched up three more times at Derby with Shane winning all three matches. The two players would match up all around the country at various events with the momentum changing to Alex. In May of 2008, Shane and Alex matched up to play a race to 100 10 ball. Shane was up over 20 racks in day two and was up 15 racks in day three. Once again, in Lion fashion, Alex proved that he never gives up and fought back to tie the score at 92-92. Alex went on to win that race to 100 match. Pool fans called it one of, if the not the best comeback wins in pool history. I would add that this was one of the best comebacks in all of sports.
What is your favorite game and conditions for action?
The one they bet the most.
What was the genesis for your "Lionize your game" system?
Be a student of the game.
Who are the players that you looked up to when you were younger?
Everyone because they were all taller than me haha. All joking aside everyone, I've learned from everyone.
What were some of the main things that contributed to you getting as good as you are?
Hit balls countless hours and learn as u go a long.
What is some of the best advice you have received that you can pass on to non pro players?
Be Humble and keep learning.