Ok goes undefeated to claim Predator title
Skip Maloney - AzB Staff
May 8, 2017
Casius Cassie, Eugene Ok, Abel Rosario and Rhys Chen
Casius Cassie, Eugene Ok, Abel Rosario and Rhys Chen
Eugene Ok (pronounced "Oak") has been climbing the Predator Tour 'win' ladder for three years, finishing, in that time, 9th (2014), 5th, 4th (2016), and 3rd, this past February. On the weekend of May 6-7, he hit the top rung, going undefeated to claim his first Predator title. The $1,000-added event drew 74 entrants to The Stop, in Nanuet, NY.
 
Ok advanced through the field to a winners' side semifinal match against Paul Carpenter, as Rhys Chen squared off against Elvis Rodriguez in the other one. It was Rodriguez, who'd sent Ok to the loss side in February, defeating him in the hot seat match, after which Dave Shlemperis, the eventual winner, spoiled Ok's bid with a win in the semifinals. Perhaps looking forward to a re-match against Rodriguez, Ok defeated Carpenter 7-2. Chen spoiled any hopes Ok may have been entertaining for that hot seat re-match by downing Rodriguez 7-2. In his first hot seat match, Ok downed Chen 7-1.
 
Moving to the loss side, Rodriguez picked up Casius Cassie, who'd defeated Shlemperis and Miguel Laboy, both 7-5, to reach him. Carpenter drew Abel Rosario, who entered the tournament as the #3-ranked, B class player on the tour, and following a defeat at the hands of Tony Ignomirello, was in the midst of a 10-match, loss-side run which would take him as far as the semifinals. In wins #7 & #8, Rosario had eliminated Carmine Andujar 8-6, and Alex Kent 7-4.
 
Rodriguez and Cassie locked up in a double hill fight that eventually sent Cassie to the quarterfinals. He was joined by Rosario, who'd defeated Carpenter 7-4. Rosario chalked up his final, loss-side win 7-5 over Cassie, before Chen stopped his loss-side run 7-3 in the semifinals.
 
Ok, who entered the tournament two spots below Rosario in the tour's B Class rankings (#5), climbed that rankings ladder, too, with a victory in the finals. He defeated Chen 7-3 to claim his first Predator title.
 
Tim Wotherspoon defeated Dave Callaghan 9-5 in the finals of a 13-entrant Second Chance Tournament, while Jerry Almodovar and Corey Avallone shared a third place finish. A Third Chance event that drew eight entrants saw Jaydev Zaveri take the top spot with a win over Sarah Preston in the finals. 
 
Tour director Tony Robles offered special thanks to the ownership and staff of The Spot, the newest tour venue, for their continuing hospitality and professionalism in hosting the tour. He also thanked sponsors Predator Cues, Ozone Billiards, Poison Billiards, PlayNAPL.com, The Devito Team, PoolOnTheNet.com, Capelle (BilliardsPress.com), AZBilliards, Billiards Digest and Pool & Billiard Magazine.
 
The next stop on the Predator Tour, scheduled for the weekend of May 27-29, will be the 7th Annual George "Ginky" Sansouci Memorial Tournament. Held under the combined auspices of the Predator Tour, the Tri-State Tour, and the Mezz Tour, the event will feature both an Amateur and Pro event. Robles reminded prospective competitors that the "Ginky" Memorial is a pre-paid event, which has regularly drawn large fields, including last year's, which drew a combined total of 244 entrants. Entry fees for the event must be paid by May 21. Contact Tony Robles at 917-202-2750 or via e-mail at Tonyroblesnyc@gmail.com.