Fracasso-Verner comes from deep on the loss side to win Predator stop at Steinway
Skip Maloney - AzB Staff
Feb. 1, 2017
John Cullen, Lukas Fracasso-Verner and Atif Khan
John Cullen, Lukas Fracasso-Verner and Atif Khan
Predator Tour Director Tony Robles had to scour his tour archives to determine whether 15-year-old Lukas Fracasso-Verner had become the youngest competitor to ever win a stop on the tour. He was not. As Robles discovered, Fracasso-Verner was the second oldest competitor to win a stop on the tour; the youngest being Thomas Rice, who at the age of 14, won a Predator stop in September, 2013. Fracasso-Verner's victory, which came at a Predator Tour stop on the weekend of January 28-29, was made all that more dramatic by the teenager's 13-match winning streak on the losers' side of the bracket. The $1,000-added event drew 80 entrants to Steinway Billiards, in Astoria (Queens), NY.
 
With Fracasso-Verner already at work on the loss side (he'd lost his opening match in a double hill fight against Eugene Ok), his eventual finals' opponent - Atif Khan - advanced to a winners' side semifinal match against Nick Liberatos. John Cullen faced Kanami Chau in the other winners' side semifinal. Cullen and Khan moved into the hot seat match, following Cullen's 8-6 win over Chau and Khan's 7-5 victory over Liberatos. Khan claimed the hot seat, double hill, over Cullen.
 
On the loss side, Fracasso-Verner edged past the halfway mark in his 13-match, loss-side odyssey and into the money rounds. He then got by Kevin Shin 7-3, and Junior Singh 7-1, to pick up Chau. Liberatos drew Duc Lam, who'd defeated Matthew Harricharan and Tom Hagan, both 7-4. Two double hill fights advanced Fracasso-Verner and Lam over Chau and Liberatos to the quarterfinals.
 
Fracasso-Verner eliminated Lam 8-5 in those quarterfinals, and then finished Cullen's weekend 7-3 in the semifinals. Khan and Fracasso-Verner were each looking for their first win on the Predator Tour, though Khan had two wins on the Tri-State Tour in his resume. Khan completed his unlikely, but strong loss-side run with a 9-6 win in the finals.