Raising “The Lion”

Raising the Lion

Date of Birth:  June 25, 1978

Birthplace:  Cabagan, Philippines.  The most beautiful country in the world! And Canada is a close second to that! Age started playing:  I started playing when I was 10 years old.  My friends and family all had high expectations for me because they knew how much I loved to compete at anything.  Plus I had exceptional hand eye coordination.

Married or Single: I’m single but I have had some terrific women in my life and consider myself very lucky to still have a strong relationship with most of them.

Family:  Mother (Sonia), Sisters (3), Brothers (2).  They all live and work in the greater Toronto area.   I’m the only one in my family crazy enough to play pool for a living!

Favorite player growing up:  Efren “Bata” Reyes, Jose “Amang” Parica.  I used to sit and watch them play for hours and I admired their fierce never-say-die attitudes.  Efren could see shots that no other player could see and watching him when I was learning to play was a key factor to my success in pool.

Favorite type of food:  Italian foods, Korean barbecue and Japanese Yakeniko.  Just thinking about some of my favorite places to eat around the world makes my mouth water.

Favorite music:  Anything I can dance to and I don’t own an Ipod ha ha!

Favorite actor/actress:  Adam Sandler, Robert Deniro, Drew Barrymore. I admire their talents and they can all make me laugh.

Favorite movie(s):  The Gladiator, Lord of the Rings, 50 first dates.

Biggest influence on your career:  When I started out there were lots of people who said to me that I would not be able to make it playing pool.  I sometimes think about when I started and it brings a smile to my face now.  I really consider myself to be blessed with what I have accomplished and what my future holds for me.

Toughest opponent:  Thats easy!  But there are two players that are on this list. In tournament play Ralf Souquet has been the toughest player for me to beat.  He is like a pool playing robot and his ability to perform under pressure and consistent play is second to none.  When I have gambled I find Dennis Orcullo to be incredibly hard to beat.  For the money he seems to hit another gear and I remember him beating me right before I went to Taipei and won the 2004 World 9-Ball Championship.  I’ve been meaning to thank him for that.

Happiest moment in pool:  Winning the World 9-ball title in 2004.  I celebrated with my friends there and back in the Philippines and Canada.  I received so many texts and emails telling me how happy everybody was with me that winning the World title made me feel very proud of my accomplishment. I also really appreciate the support I receive from all my fans, thank you.

Sporting hero(s):  Michael Jordan, Muhammed Ali, Anderson Silva.  They are all extremely talented and were committed to being the best.  I like that.

Goals:  To win another World Championship – and then another and another.

Hobbies:  When I’m not playing pool I love to play poker.  I practice playing snooker all the time and have actually won two consecutive Canadian snooker championships.  I can even see myself trying to play snooker on the pro tour one day,  I’d love the challenge of competing with the likes of Ronnie OSullivan and Mark Selby.  I also love to cook and can easily see myself becoming a chef.  I like experimenting with new foods and I think being a good chef means never being satisfied with anything but perfection.  Staying fit is an important aspect of my life too.  I like to walk long distances and get as much exercise as my time and travel commitments will allow.

Life after pool:  After reading my hobbies above it should not surprise anybody if I became a professional poker player or a chef at a nice restaurant.