The Rocket takes down The Lion in Mosconi Cup-qualifying Don Coates Memorial
Skip Maloney - AzB Staff
Apr. 12, 2016
Rodney Morris
Rodney Morris
In one of the most star-studded events of the year, "Rocket" Rodney Morris came from the loss side to meet and defeat Alex "The Lion" Pagulayan in the finals of the 1st Don Coates Memorial, held on the weekend of April 8-10 in Raleigh, NC. Held in conjunction with a $2,000-added One Pocket event, which finished up on Friday, April 8 (see separate story), the Mosconi Cup-qualifying, $8,000-added 9-Ball event drew 128 of the country's top competitors to Brass Tap Billiards in Raleigh.
 
By the time Morris and Pagulayan met in the finals, somewhere in the vicinity of 4 a.m, on Monday, April 11, a lot of names that one might have considered to be favorites in the field had already been eliminated, including three former US Open 9-Ball Champions. Gone were Shane Van Boening, Johnny Archer, Stevie Moore, and Mike Delawder, all finishing in the tie for the 17th place. Joining them were Taylor Anderson, Brad Shearer, Keith Bennett, and cue-maker Daniel Heidrich. The tie for 13th place was shared by Tommy Kennedy, Josh Roberts, Jason Brown and Shannon Fitch. Another measure of the event's field strength could be found in the players who failed to 'cash' in the event, including, though not necessarily limited to, Jeremy Sossei, Brandon Shuff, Shaun Wilkie, Hunter Lombardo, Tony Chohan and Robb Saez.
 
Meanwhile, Pagulayan advanced to a winners' side semifinal against Mike Dechaine. In the other winners' side semifinal, Shane McMinn faced Justin Bergman, who had just sent Morris on his loss-side journey. Pagulayan sent Dechaine over 9-3, while McMinn was busy sending Bergman to the left bracket 9-4, no doubt prompting fans of players in the Midwest to cheer for one of their own. Pagulayan silenced that crowd with a 9-3 victory over McMinn that left Pagulayan in the hot seat.
 
On the loss side, Dechaine picked up Morris, two matches into his loss-side journey, that saw him defeat Jason Klatt 9-6 and Mike Davis 9-5. Bergman drew Corey Deuel, who'd sent Norris Brady (9-5) and John Morra (9-4) home. It could be argued that any of the matches played at this juncture and beyond featured potential finalists in the event. As it turned out, Morris downed Dechaine 9-6 to earn a quarterfinal matchup versus Deuel, who'd eliminated Bergman 9-3.
 
Morris downed Deuel 9-5 in those quarterfinals and finished up his loss-side campaign with a commanding 9-2 win over McMinn in the semifinals. The race-to-13 final match was a predictable close battle that came within a game of double hill. Morris closed it out at 13-11 to claim the Don Coates Memorial title.
 
The event's tour director, David Brown, thanked Brass Tap and Billiards' owner, Tony Coates (son to Don Coates, who passed away last fall and in whose name the event was held). Brown also acknowledged sponsor Beasley Custom Cues, Ray Hansen's PoolActionTV crew for their live-streaming efforts, and Joe Blackburn, for his on-site cue repair work.
 
As with the previous report on the One Pocket event, this report was compiled thanks to the assistance of Herman Parker, tour director of the Q City 9-Ball Tour, and his wife, Angela, both of whom competed in the event; Angela was the One Pocket tournament's only female.