Carmona goes undefeated to capture first regional tour title on Viking Cues' Q City 9-Ball Tour
Skip Maloney - AzB Staff
May 10, 2017
Perhaps it was the change of 'scenery.' R.J. Carmona's been showing up on our payout lists for about eight years now, primarily as a competitor on the Action Pool Tour (APT). Our records indicate that since 2009, he's cashed on 22 occasions, averaging a finish in 9th place. That number was skewed a little as the result of his appearances at the US Open 9-Ball Championships last year and in 2013, at which he finished 33rd and 49th, respectively. Without those two large numbers, his average finish was 6th place, and included two runner-up finishes on the APT.
 
On the weekend of May 6-7, Carmona changed the competitive, though not necessarily for him, geographic scenery a little bit. While his 'home' tour (APT) was holding a stop in Midlothian, VA, Carmona traveled to Virginia Beach, VA (about two southeast hours away) to compete in a stop on the Viking Cues' Q City 9-Ball Tour. In so doing, he chalked up his first tour win, going undefeated through a field of 34 at a $500-added event, hosted by Q Master Billiards in Virginia Beach.
 
Carmona faced two different opponents in his final two matches, both of whom battled him to double hill. He'd sent Nilbert Lim (another APT veteran) to the loss side 10-6 in one winners' side semifinal, while Thomas Williams defeated Chris Gentile 5-6 (Gentile racing to 8) in the other one. With Williams racing to 5, Carmona claimed the hot seat, double hill (10-4), and waited on what turned out to be the return of Greg Sabins, who was in the midst of chalking up a nine match, loss-side winning streak. 
 
It was Gentile who ran into Sabins on the loss side. At the time, Sabins was six matches into his loss-side run which included recent wins over Jared Vogel 8-3 and Junior Avery 8-4. Nilbert Lim picked up Reymart Lim (no relation, though both are APT vets), who'd picked up a forfeit win over Floyd Watson and defeated Barry Henderson 10-2 to reach him.
 
Sabins got by Gentile 8-5, as Nilbert downed Reymart 8-8 (Reymart racing to 10). Nilbert Lim put up a double hill fight in the quarterfinals that followed, but Sabins prevailed 8-7, met and defeated Williams 8-3 in the semifinals, and moved into a double elimination final against Carmona.
 
Carmona had been here before, literally and figuratively. In February 2012, at Q Master Billiards, he was sitting in the hot seat facing a challenge from a loss-side competitor he hadn't faced on the winners' side. His opponent at the time, Michael Fuller, had missed his son's birthday to compete in the APT event, so when he (Fuller) returned from a short, loss-side run, he was. . well, motivated, and took the two necessary sets in the double elimination final to claim the title and dedicate the victory to his son.
To the best of anyone's knowledge, Sabins was not motivated by anything other than a desire to complete a nine-match, loss-side struggle to get to the finals. Though Sabins would put up a double hill fight, Carmona disappointed him, taking the title 10-7 in a single set. In addition to the prize money, the victory also qualified Carmona for entry into the North Carolina State 10-Ball Championships in July. 
 
Tour director Herman Parker was effusive in his praise regarding his tour's first visit to Q Master Billiards, thanking its ownership and staff, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, Delta 13 Racks, AZBilliards and Professor Q Ball. The next stop on the Viking Cues' Q City 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for May 13-14, will be a $500-added event ($1,000-added with over 48 entrants), hosted by Mr. Cues II in Atlanta, GA.