Alberto goes undefeated to win his first Tri-State Tour title

(l to r): Luis Lopez & Rafael Alberto
As far as we know, Rafael Alberto has cashed only twice on the Tri-State Tour. His first payout came when he finished as runner-up to Ricardo Mejia at Clifton Billiards this past August. His second came this past Sunday, November 11, when he went undefeated through a field of 35 to claim his first Tri-State title. The $1,000-added event was hosted by Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY.
Alberto had to get by Luis Lopez twice to complete his run. Lopez, who spent most of his competitive time in 2017 in Texas on the Omega Tour, and is in the midst of his best earnings year to date, was looking for his second win on the Tri-State Tour, having won his first at Steinway a month ago. The two met first in a winners’ side semifinal, as David Laggat and Mario Lozano met in the other one.
Laggat and Lozano battled to double hill before Laggat prevailed and advanced to the hot seat match. He was met by Alberto, who’d sent Lopez west 8-5. Alberto stepped into the hot seat when Laggat forfeited out of the match.
On the loss side, Lozano picked up Ricky Molital, who’d defeated Mike Strassberg 7-4 and Nick Limbertos 7-3 to reach him. Raul Calderon, who’d recently eliminated Steven Motilol and Shweta Zaveri, both 7-5, drew Lopez.
Lozano and Lopez advanced to the quarterfinals; Lozano, 7-4 over Motilal and Lopez, 6-3 over Calderon. Lopez took one more step to get into the finals. He defeated Lozano 7-3 in the quarterfinals, and as a result of Laggat’s forfeit out of the hot seat match, he leap-frogged over the semifinals into his rematch against Alberto.
Alberto defeated Lopez a second time in the finals that followed. Alberto completed his first undefeated run, captured his first Tri-State title and added to his own modest, best-earnings-year to date with a 10-8 victory.
Tour representatives thanked Manny Stamatakis and his Steinway staff, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui Tips, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, Human Kinetics, Pool & Billiards, Professor Q Ball, Bender Cues, and DIGICUE OB. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for Sunday, Nov. 18, will be hosted by Shooter’s Family Billiards in Wayne, NJ.