Derby City Day Two - More Bigfoot & Banks Field Narrows
Dave Thomson
Jan. 21, 2018
Derby City Classic XX, January 19-27, 2018
 
LIVE from the Horseshoe Southern Indiana Casino, Elizabeth, IN
 
Diamond BIG Foot Challenge
 
Format: Race to 11, single elimination, alternate break, all balls count.
 
Play began with Poland’s 25 year old Konrad Juszcyszyn jousting with lively Filipino Jeffrey “The Bull” DeLuna. The latter, more of a seasoned veteran than Konrad, got off to a slow start. He later stated that his jet lag was compounded by this pesky little sinus virus impairing his vision. He laughed, “I was afraid to shoot.” 
 
Maybe it’s the comfort of his new MEZZ Cues sponsorship as there’s an openness about the friendly combatant as, during his match “The Bull” would smile at audience members, even after a misstep.
 
Konrad, with that eastern European composure, was more stoic during play while sincere and respectful in conversation. “When I was about 6, I had a small table in my home. Seeing my passion, around 10, my parents took me down to the pool club where I took instruction from a coach. I’ve competed seriously since I was about 18.”
 
In the early rounds, he calmly capitalized on every opportunity.  Even under the stressed conditions, Konrad and the new found pressure of the TV table, Jeffrey and his sniffles, they were both maintaining .900 Accu-Stats TPSs…until around 6-6.
 
It was there that Konrad stretching to reach distant ball, rather than using the bridge, missed a ball. Rather than learn from the experience–he’s on BIG Foot after all–stretching again, missed again. DeLuna, trained to pounce at the first sign of weakness, apparently forgot about his own, was now back to his normal, speedy pace. Strutting now, he streaked ahead to 9-6.  Konrad was allowed one more game. At 11-7, relieved from his opening round jitters. Jeffrey DeLuna advanced the quarter finals.
 
Fedor Gorst and Alex Pagulayan then entered the Accu-Stats Arena. 
 
Last year, at 16 years old, the young Russian made quite an impact when he defeated Darren Appleton, Now, at 17, he faced 2015 & ’16 back-to-back, All-Around Champion Alex Pagulayan. Brutal! But, for whom?
 
Coincidentally, they both, literally, had just left the 9-foot arena where they had drawn each other in the Bank Pool competition. Fedor, fighting-fit, soon had the former DCC Bank Pool Champion down 2-0. You know Alex, down but never out, fought back to tie it at 2…only to lose 3-2!
 
Now, on BIG Foot, Alex had to fade his disappointment and face the fearless Feder.
 
Gorst, always emotionless, soon was ahead 5-1. Alex, meditative, mustered a mini-comeback but to no avail. An Alternate break format makes overcoming a 4 game deficit formidable. Add the fact that Alex had some of most unfortunate rolls ever administered by BIG Foot including, at 10-7, Gorst jawed a 6 that rattled so hard it slid along the rail to rally into the opposite pocket. The ball took enough time for Alex, expectant, was almost out of his chair before it fell. Sadly for him, the all balls count rule was in effect.
 
Fedor had shown a sliver of a smile when that ball dropped, but showed no mercy. He was back to his stoic facade as delivered the victory ball.
 
When asked about his coaching, he responded. “Now, it’s not so much about drills, it more about the mental aspects. Fedor does have a “Tell.” When he’s “feeling it,” you can see him slowly, release his breath. “Breathing is everything,” he maintained.
 
We’ll see how he fares as he moves forward into the fray.
 
Now we had the face-off of John Morra, a former DCC Bank Pool Champion against Lee van Corteza, a former 9-Ball Champion.
 
Morra, making a welcome return from his self-imposed professional hiatus, should of had his hands full. Corteza, at least recently, was the more seasoned contender. Morra wasn’t impressed. He maintained the lead throughout the match. Maybe it was his .900+ performance average that surprised Vann as, by the time he was down 6-9, he had only garnered a lowly .803. He, also, may have been reminded of it as the screen on the back wall of the arena clearly reflects, in real time, the current averages.
 
Having Alternate Break has it’s disadvantages: Corteza never got the chance to find his form.
 
Although it was rumored that Morra had announced retirement, he maintained that he never, formally, admitted it. “I needed a break. I wasn’t enjoying the game anymore, or the money. Plus, Since I was 14, I’d been spending six months a year traveling to tournaments. That gets expensive. Plus, I wanted time at home with my family and friends in Toronto.”
 
So why the turnaround in attitude?  “I didn’t want to get a job,” he laughed. “When I hadn’t touched my cue for a month, I started to miss pool. So, to fund myself, I competed in local tournaments.” Winning is addicting. He  was soon confident enough to enter the Canadian Championships. He finished 1st in 9-Ball, 2nd in 10-Ball and 3rd in 8-Ball. it was like he’d never left.
 
He was then invited to partner with Pagulayan and represent Team CANADA in the World Cup of Pool. Accepting the honor, he knew that had the responsibility to really get in stroke, He didn’t want to let Alex, or his country, down.
 
“It’s a pleasure to be back at Derby.” 
 
FYI: John also supplemented his “retirement” as a DJ. He loves House music.
 
Corey Deuel got off to a flying start over Russia’s Ruslan Chinakhov. He had a 4-1 lead. Ruslan, a serious contender, and former DCC 14.1 winner, was having trouble finding his footing. He’d missed 5 easy balls in the first few games resulting in a not so sporty .609 TPA. Corey punished him.
 
The Russian had to rustle up something. He realized that he couldn’t give the lethal Corey a look at a ball. If there was a chance he’d miss, he’d duck. By mid-match, the safety play, from both players was like an Accu-Stats’ instructional. In one game, there were about a dozen strokes where neither competitor had had any opportunity at a ball–other than to administer more snookers.
 
By end-game, Ruslan was recovering. His TPA was rising. Corey’s was lowering. He was still ahead 10-8. With the opportunity to close it out, he ran too long on the 9 for comfortable position on 10. With the added pressure of the cue ball having landed frozen on the rail, the case 10 rammed into the rubber. 10-9.
 
Again he fell foul of the a similar positional error and ran too short on the 9; In an attempt to control the speed he slow rolled it hang in the jaws. 10-10.
 
Over his career Ruslan has observed that, “It gets interesting as the player who’s losing his lead realizes that his opponent is not going to give up.” 
 
Maybe Deuel had realized that tho,’ as he had enough going on in his own head, he just couldn’t close the deal.
 
Ruslan, more comfortable now, ran the last 6 balls to relish one of his finer victories.
 
Jeffrey DeLuna .896 def. Konrad Juszczyszyn .833, 11-7
Fedor Gorst .900 def. Alex Pagulayan .897, 11-7
John Morra .892 def. Lee Vann Corteza .828, 11-8
Ruslan Chinakhov .817 def. Corey Deuel .863, 11-10.  
 
Play continues today at the same times. View on accu-stats.com: 
 
7:00pm: Jeffrey De Luna vs. Fedor Gorst
9:30pm: Ruslan Chinakhov vs. John Morra
 
BANK POOL CHAMPIONSHIP
 
471 players vie for $10,000. Race to 3, 9-Ball–Short Rack
 
Now dwindled, that number has, to name a few, the unbeaten Justin Bergman, John Brumback, Shane Van Boening, Francisco Bustamante, Tony Chohan, Shannon Daulton, Corey Deuel, Scott Frost, Jayson Shaw, Billy Thorpe still in contention. You can be assured of one thing, with DCC’s redraw process, today, some of the above will visit the buy-back booth.
 
Jayson, having shook off yesterday’s BIG Foot disaster, defeated Immonen; Morra beat onepocket.org Hall of Fame inductee Jeremy Jones; Mika, now reviving his Banking System that he so clearly divulges in his instructional DVD, shuffled Shuff off to the buy-back booth where he, no doubt, met Juszcyszyn. Konrad had received similar treatment from Lee Vann Corteza.
 
The George Fels Memorial Straight Pool Challenge is streaming at billiardnet.tv, today!
 
The 8 highest runs, tallied from a probable 100 entrants, face off in single elimination. If scheduling permits, Accu-Stats will stream, at least, the finals.
Don’t miss a stroke at accu-stats.com
 
Accu-Stats thanks its Arena Sponsors: Diamond Billiards, Simonis Cloth, Cyclop Balls, Lucasi Custom, MEZZ Cues, McDermott Cues, National Billiard Academy, and Samsara Cues.