Kiamco double dips Van Boening in finals to win 28th Annual Andy Mercer Memorial
Skip Maloney
Mar. 19, 2018
Warren Kiamco (File photo courtesy of Erwin Dionisio)
Warren Kiamco (File photo courtesy of Erwin Dionisio)
The 28th Annual Andy Mercer Memorial, held on the weekend of March 16-18, at the Rum Runner in Las Vegas, NV, saw two former event champions square off three times to claim the title. Though Shane Van Boening was in search of his sixth win, including four in a row from 2011-2014, it was Warren Kiamco, who’d won his first and only Andy Mercer Memorial 23 years ago, who claimed the 2018 title. The event drew a full field of 64 entrants to the Rum Runner, and was broadcast on YouTube through the services of POVPool.
 
Through his first four matches, which included his first of three against Kiamco, Van Boening gave up only four racks in 28 games. One of those four was chalked up against him by Kiamco in a winners’ side quarterfinal, which advanced Van Boening to a winners’ side semifinal against another Andy Mercer Memorial Tournament winner, Brian Parks (2008). Mitch Ellerman, in the meantime, squared off against Dave Datillo in the other winners’ side semifinal.
 
Van Boening gave up the one rack to Parks and moved into the hot seat match against Ellerman, who’d defeated Datillo 6-3. Van Boening claimed the hot seat 6-3 and was a single match away from winning his sixth Andy Mercer title.
 
Kiamco had other thoughts. He’d already defeated the event’s reigning champion, Oscar Dominguez on the winners’ side, and in his first loss-side match, drew Oscar’s father, Ernesto, who’d won the event in 2010. Kiamco defeated the elder Dominguez 6-1 and then shut out Gary Onomura, to draw Datillo. Prior to his defeat by Kiamco, Onomura had handed the younger Dominguez his second loss. Parks, in the meantime, in his first loss-side match, picked up Lance Salazar, who, after being defeated by Ellerman in a winners’ side quarterfinal, had defeated Ian Costello 6-2, and Gary Lutman 6-4.
 
Kiamco moved on to the quarterfinals with a 6-1 victory over Datillo, as Parks was busy ending Salazar’s loss-side run 6-4. Kiamco then shut out Parks for a shot at Ellerman in the semifinals. To this point in Kiamco’s loss-side run, he’d given up only two racks in 28 games (he’d given up 12 racks in 31 winners’ side games, six of them in the losing effort against Van Boening). Ellerman chalked up twice as many racks (plus one) in the semifinals, than all of Kiamco’s loss-side opponents combined, but it wasn’t enough. They battled to double hill, but it was Kiamco who got a second shot at Van Boening in the hot seat.
 
The live-stream, POVPool broadcast of the true double elimination final featured commentary by POVPool’s Daniel Busch, Mary Kenniston, and Jimmy Mataya. In addition to comments about strategy and shot selection, Mataya offered a variety of comments about everything from the Magic Rack to the coach of the USA’s Mosconi Cup team. Often spicy and irreverent, Mataya’s commentary was as entertaining as the two final matches themselves. Kiamco took the opening set 6-3, and as the second set progressed to a 5-2 lead (Kiamco on the hill), Mataya opined that (given the chance) he’d not be picking Van Boening for a Mosconi Cup team any time soon. Van Boening chalked up two more racks before Kiamco closed it out to win the 28th Annual Andy Mercer Memorial.