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.