Dechaine comes out of 'retirement' to win SBE Open 10-Ball Pro Players Championship
Skip Maloney
Apr. 17, 2018
Mike Dechaine - Photo courtesy of Erwin Dionisio
Mike Dechaine - Photo courtesy of Erwin Dionisio
Aranas wins 32-entrant, Pro-Am BarBox Championships
 
He never actually left. Although “Fireball” Mike Dechaine has cut back, way back, on the number of tournaments in which he competes, he’s kept his hand in, so to speak. In fact, he’s won four of the last eight tournaments he’s entered – The Robert Dionne Memorial (NE 9-Ball Series) in January of 2017, the Gotham City Pro Classic in October, the New England 9-Ball Series’ Tour Championships just last month, and now, on the weekend of April 12-15, the $16,000-added Diamond Open 10-Ball Professional Players Championship, part of the annual Super Billiards Expo at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center IN Oaks, PA. Dechaine went undefeated through the field of 64, competing for $48K in prize money, and in the end, got by, in order, Thorsten Hohmann, Earl Strickland, and Jayson Shaw, before meeting and defeating Danny Olson in the finals.
 
According to Dechaine, being away from the sport and focused more on a regular job, has allowed him to approach the occasional tournaments in which he now participates with a different, if not downright better attitude. It’s an attitude, he said, that decreases the influence of expectations.
 
“I go into every tournament expecting to do well,” he explained, “but I think part of me winning these days is having a job now; a foundation (which) allows me to approach a tournament without expectations, (other than) just to enjoy myself and have fun.”
 
Aiding and abetting this somewhat new approach for the “Fireball” was an RV in which he and a group of friends were able to travel from Maine to Philadelphia in about six hours, and then, to stay, throughout the course of the weekend.
 
“The RV belonged to a friend of mine (John),” he said. “The (Greater Philadelphia Expo Center) was about 10 steps outside of the door, so we could come back, relax, take a nap if we wanted to. We had a blast.”
 
The indoor ‘blast’ got underway on Thursday, April 12. For both eventual finalists (Dechaine and Olson) the path to victory went through Thorsten Hohmann. Following a victory over Xavier Libby, Olson faced him in his second match and was sent to the loss side, from which he would eventually emerge as one of the eight loss-side finalists. Hohmann would go on to be among the eight winners’ side finalists. Dechaine, in the meantime, advanced on the winners’ side, defeating Lee Kang and Martin Daigle, before facing Tommy Kennedy, in what he (Dechaine) would describe later as his toughest match of the tournament.
 
“He played tremendous,” said Dechaine of Kennedy’s double hill effort. “The change was that his break started not working for him. I fought back and got lucky.”
 
The victory advanced Dechaine into a pool ‘dream team’ of eight final winners’ side competitors, including Shane Van Boening, Jayson Shaw, Skyler Woodward, Mika Immonen, Alex Pagulayan, Earl Strickland, and Hohmann, whom Dechaine met first.
 
On the losers’ side, Olson, following victories over first, Jorge Rodriguez, then Nick Charrette had to face Johnny Archer for the right to be among the losers’ side final eight. He defeated Archer, and joinEd Martin Daigle, John Morra, Jonathan Pinegar, Oscar Dominguez, Zion Zvi (who’d just eliminated Tommy Kennedy), Lee Vann Corteza and Roberto Gomez in the single elimination final 16.
 
Dechaine downed Hohmann 13-6, and then, faced Earl Strickland; a matchup that in bygone days might have seen a few ‘fireworks’ as the “Fireball” met the Pearl. Not this time around, however.
 
“Earl was a complete gentleman,” said Dechaine later. “It was good to see and it was fun to watch him.”
 
Dechaine won that match 13-1 and turned to face Jayson Shaw. In the losers’ side bracket, Olson, who’d defeated Daigle 13-5, and Morra 13-3, picked up Oscar Dominguez. Dechaine advanced to the finals with a 13-9 victory over Shaw. Olson joined him after defeating Dominguez 13-10.
 
Still at work enjoying himself and having fun, Dechaine stepped into his first major event final since last October, when he’d squared off against Yu-Lung Chang in the finals of the Gotham City Pro 9-Ball Classic (aka The Sharon ‘Sam’ Fagnoni Memorial).
 
“It was nerve-wracking being in the finals, of course,” he said, “but I was just trying to push through and play the best that I could.”
 
“Danny (Olson),” he added, “is an up-and-comer, and he’s going to be around for a while.”
 
Dechaine completed his undefeated run with a 13-10 victory over Olson. As he ponders his participation in future events, he is cognizant of the degree to which his somewhat lowered expectations have provided him with a key that might lead to further success.
 
“Focusing on one shot at a time,” he said. “Being the best that I can be.”
 
Pros and Amateurs mixed in Pro-Am Bar Box Tournament, won by Zoren James Aranas
 
“How good do you really think you are?” was the question posed on the Super Billiards Expo’s Web site Details and Registration page for the Pro-Am Barbox Championships.
 
“Take your best shot in this challenging 32-player event,” it suggested further.
 
And so they did. Though invited, there were no women among the single-elimination event’s 32-entrants. At stake was $10K in total prize money.
 
Zoren James Aranas went undefeated through five opponents to claim this event’s title, downing Jorge Rodriguez in the finals. Aranas got by Justin Martin, Shaun Wilkie and Benjamin Warblan to face Nathan Rose in the event semifinals. Rodriguez, in the meantime, had downed Cory Young, Jeff Jones and Nick Cipiti to draw Dee Adkins in the other semifinal.
 
In races to 6, best 2 out of 3 sets, Aranas advanced to the finals in two sets; 6-3, 6-1, over Rose. He was joined by Rodriguez, who’d been tested in his first match against Adkins, but hung on to win 6-5, and then eliminated him 6-4 in the second set.
 
Aranas won the first set of the finals 6-2. Rodriguez fought back in the second set to double hill. Aranas completed his undefeated run by finishing it.