Meet Fil-Am 'Wheel of Fortune' winner

By Henni Espinosa, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

Posted at Mar 26 2014 08:12 PM | Updated as of Mar 27 2014 07:55 AM

REDWOOD CITY, California – A 25-year-old Filipino-American made headlines recently for an amazing solve in America's top game show "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, 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, there's a 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.

"I won a Cabo trip from Wheel of Fortune!" he said.

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."