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Ruben Legazpi: title in Spain, now in the Dutch league?

4 days ago

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© Ton Smilde
Ruben Legazpi, a wonderful season so far, turned a pro player since one and a half year now, in the play-offs for the Dutch league this week

MÓSTOLES/ZUNDERT - The Spanish player Ruben Legazpi, 41 years of age, is on his way to one of the best years in his billiard career. With the Spanish team title already in thepocket, he will be taking a shot at the team title in the Netherlands with the Cues&Darts team in the coming weeks. Legazpi will arrive in the Netherlands tomorrow morning for the first match in the play-offs, Thursday evening against Topbiljart Zundert at Den Hoek in Zundert. That match is from 19.00 and can be seen live on Kozoom. The Kozoom league, the Dutch premier league, ended in the regular competition on Sunday with SIS Schoonmaak leading the rankings for the seventh time. Team Eekhoorn was ranked number two, STZ Zundert finished third, Cues&Darts fourth. The four teams on top are showing up in the play-offs: first Thursday 3 against 4, then the winner against Team Eekhoorn and the winner of that match against SIS Schoonmaak for the Dutch title.

Ruben Legazpi, living in Móstoles, a suburb of Madrid, father of two children, is living as a billiard pro for a year and a half and is getting closer to the top 14 of the world rankings. His latest successes were the bronze medal at the European Championship individual and the silver medal at the World championship for nation teams in Viersen.

The first play-off match for Thursday features the matches Sergio Jimenez-Glenn Hofman, Thorsten Frings-Ruben Legazpi, Sam van Etten, Pierre Soumagne,. Francis Forton, Huub Wilkowski, 

Kozoom and KNBB had an interview with the Spaniard Legazpi in a preview to the playoffs and about his expectations, ambitions and future plans.

Kozoom/Frits Bakker: How do you look back on your year in the Netherlands: third player in the rankings after Merckx (1,938), Poly (1,803) and you 1,801 in 14 games?

Ruben Legazpi: I am very happy with my year, because I played at a very good level in almost all matches, 1.801 in 14 matches. I am very satisfied with that. I also played very well in the final stage of the cup final where we won our first title with the team. It is really enjoying to play with this team, especially home matches, in a great club. We are very good friends, which makes us stronger.

Kozoom/FB: So tomorrow, Thursday, to Zundert with your strong team, how do you estimate the chances of winning?

Ruben Legazpi: We’re facing an equal match on beforehand. They are also very strong, especially at home, but I hope we play well enough to win. We have high hopes for the playoffs.

Kozoom/FB: How long are you playing in a Dutch team now? Before this also another team? How many flights did you make this year to the Netherlands to play league.

Ruben Legazpi: This is my third year with this club, before that I did not play in the Netherlands. I travel at least 12 games so now I get to come to the play-offs.

Kozoom/FB: How attractive is the Dutch premier league for a foreign player?

Ruben Legazpi: I really enjoy playing this league, there are a lot of strong players and strong teams. I think this is the strongest league.

Kozoom/FB: Next year again at Cues&Darts and again with a strong team?

Ruben Legazpi: Yes, again next year, I have extended my contract and I’m looking forward to it.

Kozoom/FB: How many team competitions do you play? Netherlands, Spain and beyond?

Ruben Legazpi: I play in Spain, where we just became champions, in the Netherlands, with hopefully another chance to win the title, and a few games in France.

The Cues&Darts team after winning the Dutch Cup. Left to right Pierre Soumagne, Glenn Hofman, Jack van Peer, Monique Wilkowski, the teamleader, Huub Wilkowski, Dennis Mast, the team boss and Ruben Legazpi

Ruben Legazpi, one of his best years so far with lots of successes

Kozoom/FB: How does this year look like for you, are you going to play all the World Cups?

Ruben Legazpi: I will play all the tournaments where I can go to, so also all the World Cups.

Kozoom/FB: You are not so far from the top 14 in the UMB. Is that a goal you have in mind?

Ruben Legazpi: My main objective is to fight and try to get into the top 14. And also try to win a World Cup. That’s really difficult, I know, there are many strong players, but my goal is to keep improving myself and become a better and better player.

Kozoom/FB: How does your private life look like? How old now? Where do you live? Close to the rest of the family with whom you play competition?

Ruben Legazpi: I am 41 years old, have 2 children and I live near Mostoles, close to Madrid. There I play with the team in which my father also plays.

Kozoom/FB: Was this one of your best years so far in your career? With silver at World championship nation teams, bronze at European individual championships?

Ruben Legazpi: I don't know if it's my best year, but it's definitely one of the best. It was a shame not to be world champions by 1 carom with the team against Vietnam. I am also very happy with the bronze at the European Championships, also beating the strongest player in the world, Dick Jaspers, there. I won bronze at the Spanish championship, and now we just won the Spanish team competition with Mostoles (with Joao Fereira, Rubén Fernandez, my father Alfonso and myself). We also won the Dutch cup, I played in the quarterfinals at the World Cup in Korea, and in almost 100 matches I have 1.630 overall average. So this is a great season. I hope to finish the 3 upcoming World Cups well and I have also been invited to the WCBS tournament in July in Poland.

Kozoom/FB: How do you see the Spanish successes in the PBA, the Korean pro league. Have you given any serious thought to go and try there?

Ruben Legazpi: So far, I haven't thought about a transfer to the PBA. I like to play in the World Cups and represent Spain in the European and World Championships. But of course I follow the results at the PBA and I am happy that my compatriots are doing well there. I talk to Javier Palazón every day, he is my best friend, and I also follow Dani (Sánchez)'s matches.

Kozoom/FB What are the highlights of your entire career so far?

Ruben Legazpi: My best tournaments so far were the second place in the world rankings in 2022, two times runner-up with Spain in Viersen, two times individual bronze at European championship, 2 times European team champion, winner of Kozoom challenge, second in the World Cup in Greece 2013. Also won the Spanish league 6 times and I was Spanish champion individually 2 times.

Thanks for the interview, Ruben, good luck Thursday and in the further play-offs.

Ruben Legazpi, taking the Spanish title with Móstoles: with Ruben Fernandez, Joao Fereira and his father Alfonso

Ruben Legazpi and Sergio Jimenez, winning silver at the Worlds for teams in Viersen: now they play with two Dutch teams against each other

Ruben Legazpi in Cues&Darts outfit