After winning a world title and being ranked No. 1 in the world, Dennis Orcullo has been regarded as the best professional pool player in the globe.
That honor became official when he was chosen as the hands-down 2011 Player of the Year by the World Pool-Billiard Association.
Nicknamed “The Robocop,” Orcullo won his first world title, the World 8-Ball Championship, last February. He also won the 9-Ball tournament in the prestigious National Open in October before bringing home a gold medal in the 2011 Southeast Asian Games in Indonesia.
“The honor is well-deserved and fully-earned by Dennis,” said Yen Makabenta, the chairman of the Billiards and Snooker Congress of the Philippines. “I congratulate him for this landmark achievement. I hope he gets all the honors and rewards for being a world champion, an Asian Games gold medalist and SEA Games gold medalist.”
“We are still lucky that the Philippines has a Dennis Orcullo in billiards,” said Orcullo’s manager Perry Mariano. “This is an eye opener to all concerned that we may lose our grip on billiards dominance a few years from now if we don’t give attention to this sport.”
Orcullo, for his part, isn’t about to rest on his laurels.
“Hanggat bata pa tayo, siguro maganda mangolekta tayo ng maraming championships as much as possible,” Orcullo told InterAKTV in an exclusive interview. “Gusto ko ring mapanalunan yugn World 9-Ball and World 10-Ball para makumpleto na yung mga world championships natin.”
Orcullo was selected as Player of the Year over a list of candidates that included Yukio Akagariyama of Japan, Darren Appleton of England and Ronnie Alcano of the Philippines.
The pride of Bislig, Surigao del Sur, Orcullo compiled 2570 points culled from all eight ranking tournaments of the WPA.
Finishing second was Akagariyama, the surprise World 9-Ball champion, who also had a strong showing in the World 10-Ball Championship in Manila. He got 2382 points.
Appleton, the inaugural champion of the World 10-Ball tilt, made another run for the year’s top award, but ended up third. A former world No. 1, he finished with 2256 points.
Alcano, one of only two Filipino double world billiards champions along with Efren “Bata” Reyes, placed fourth with 2063 points. He could have improved his ranking had he won the World 9-Ball Championship over Akagariyama.