Miller comes back from semifinals to down Cleary and win Predator Pro Am stop at Steinway
Skip Maloney
Jan. 30, 2018
(l to r): Andrew Cleary, Rick Miller & Matthias Gutzmann
(l to r): Andrew Cleary, Rick Miller & Matthias Gutzmann
When the Predator Pro Am Tour held its annual tour championships back in early December, the $10,500-added event drew 89 invited entrants. The winner, Rhys Chen, pocketed $7,000 for his undefeated run through the field. Though correlation does not always signify causation, it would appear that the $7,000 top prize in that event has led to increased interest in sufficient participation in Predator Pro Am Tour events this year to qualify for (be invited to) the 2018 Tour Championships. The Predator Pro Am Tour opened its 2018 season with a record 115 entrants at a $1,000-added event, hosted by Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY. Though Andrew Cleary battled Rick Miller and claimed the hot seat in this event, Miller returned from the semifinals to defeat Cleary and win the Predator Pro Am season opener.
 
Second and Third Chance events drew 16 and 14 entrants, respectively. Jason Carandang won the Second Chance event, downing George Poltorak in the finals. Victor Nau chalked up the win in the Third Chance event, defeating Jessica Lynn in that one.
 
In the main event, Miller advanced to a winners’ side semifinal against Tom Wan, as Cleary squared off against Matthias Gutzmann in the other one.  Cleary got into the hot seat match with a 7-2 win over Gutzmann, and was joined by Miller, who’d sent Wan west 7-5. Cleary claimed the hot seat 7-4 over Miller and waited on his return from the semifinals.
 
On the loss side, Wan picked up Junior Singh, who’d defeated Jimmy Acosta 7-3 and Thomas Schreiber 7-5 to reach him. Gutzmann drew Mark Zamora, who’d eliminated Amy Yu 7-3 (ending a seven-match, loss-side winning streak for Yu), and Quang Nguyen 7-5.
 
Singh advanced to the quarterfinals 8-6 over Wan, and was joined by Gutzmann, who’d ended Zamora’s weekend 7-6. Gutzmann advanced another step, downing Singh in those quarterfinals 7-5. Miller ended Gutzmann’s three-match, loss-side trip with an 8-5 win in the semifinals.
 
In the extended-race-to-9 finals, Cleary was tasked with chalking up seven racks before Miller, at which point, the match and tournament would have ended with Cleary as its undefeated winner. Miller, though, reached the seven-match mark first, and added two more – to Cleary’s 3, total – to claim the event title.
 
Tour director Tony Robles thanked Manny Stamatakis and his staff for their continuing hospitality, as well as title sponsor Predator Cues, Ozone Billiards, PoolontheNet.com, Capelle Publishing, NAPL, TheDeVitoTeam.com, and his own Predator Pro Am staff, including his wife, Gail Robles, Irene Kim, Mandy Wu, William Finnegan, and Rob Omen. This year's Predator Pro Am Tour will feature 11 stops that will include both Amateur and Pro events. The first of these, scheduled for February 10-11, will combine a $750-added event for Amateurs and a $250-added event for Pros, both to be hosted by Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY.