Wheel of Fortune Pinoy contestant says mostly smarts, not luck, made him win

By Henni Espinosa, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

Mar. 25, 2014

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – A 25-year old Filipino-American made headlines recently for reportedly making the most amazing solve in the history of one of America’s top game shows, “Wheel of Fortune”. Daly City, California resident Emil de Leon shocked long-time Wheel of Fortune host Pat Sajak when he correctly solved a 12-letter, three-word puzzle, with only two letters on the board.

De Leon came up with the correct answer, “New Baby Buggy” on his first attempt and won more than $63,000.

While guesting on Balitang America today, De Leon told anchor Gel Santos-Relos that there was a method to his amazing solve, during a bonus round of a pre-taped episode that aired on March 19. His solve, according to Sajak, was the most amazing he’s seen on the show.

He expressed, “If I panicked, I knew I would not have gotten the puzzle. So I stayed cool, calm and collected.”

As for solving “New Baby Buggy”, De Leon explained, “When the N and E popped up, I knew that the first word was ‘new’ and as for the harder two words at the end, I used the letter board that shows the letters that you haven’t used yet, and the first letter on that board was B and from there, I thought about words that began with the letter B and ‘baby’ came up. ‘New baby’ just sounded right. And as for the third word, I used the letter B again and came up with ‘new baby buggy’.”

De Leon, who was born in San Francisco, is the eldest son of Marilou, who hails from Angeles City and Emil, Sr., who comes from Tarlac. He said he has followed Wheel of Fortune since he was a kid. De Leon clearly has the brains to win the show. He was an honors student in elementary and high school and will even graduate at the top of his nursing class this week.

De Leon said he will use his prize money to finance his education and for a Mexican vacation. He exclaimed, “I won a Cabo trip from Wheel of Fortune!”

Since he won, De Leon has been featured on major U.S. networks, and even got to guest on the Ellen De Generes show.

On his newfound fame, De Leon admitted he’s overwhelmed. But he added, “I’m very ecstatic that I got to go on this journey with them.”

When asked if it was pure luck, or his smarts that made him win, De Leon concluded, “I’d say a little of both…but more of being smart.”

You may contact Henni Espinosa at henni_espinosa@abs-cbn.com for more information.

2 Comments on this post.

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  • ID
    27 March 2014 at 8:18 pm - Reply

    He was so lucky to get the right message on the board ? He step on dog shit to get it that fast ? Oh well good luck to him !

  • passyourluck
    26 April 2014 at 7:17 pm - Reply

    luck is all around us…Good Luck is an energy that is constantly seeking us all out, wanting to be expressed with greater fullness in each of our lives. What stops it from being able to do so is our own feeling of unworthiness and a belief that luck is something that only favours the few…. passyourluck.blogspot.com