Alicea takes Tri State double tourney

John Alicea emerged from a double field of A/B and C/D handicapped players to go undefeated and win a dual tournament event on the Tri State Tour on the weekend of June 6-7. The special $1,500-added event, which drew 48 entrants to Master Billiards in Queens, NY, offered competitors the opportunity to earn double points in the standings for the tour's Player of the Year award.

In the early stages of the tournament, the two handicap divisions were divided, with players advancing in separate brackets. The two matches among the winners' side final four were, in effect, two separate hot seat matches (one in each of the two handicap brackets), followed by a ‘true' hot seat match between the winners. In the A/B handicap bracket, Alicea defeated his eventual opponent in the finals, Tony Eglesias, in a hill-hill battle. In the C/D bracket, Alex Berszinn got by Nicholas Chan 6-3. Alicea then gained the ‘true' hot seat with a 10-6 win over Berszinn.

Over on the one-loss side, the brackets remained separate until the battle for fifth place. Two players from the A/B bracket – Robert Kight and Brian Hunter – shared the tie for ninth place with Jeff Dworzanski and Sam Li from the C/D side. Stuart Warnock, an A/B player, shared seventh place with Ron Mason from the C/D bracket. Out of that combined tournament pack, Mike Panzarella and Manual Chau joined Eglesias and Chan in the first combined handicapped match to determine fifth place. Eglesias, working his way back to a rematch versus Alicea was almost sidelined by Chan, but prevailed in a hill-hill win, as Panzarella dropped Chau into that tie for fifth place with a 9-7 win.

Eglesias took the quarterfinal match versus Panzarella 7-5 and then faced Berszinn in the semifinals, where he survived yet another hill-hill game to take on Alicea a second time.

As a B+ handicap player, Eglesias began the extended format finals race to 8 with three games in hand against the A+ handicap Alicea and won two of the first three games. At 5-1, the two traded racks to 6-2, at which point, Alicea started to close the gap. He won four in a row, which included a 9-ball on the break, to tie things at 6-6. Eglesias fought back to reach the hill at 7-6. Had he won the following game, the match would have extended to 10 games, but in a couple of safety-dominated struggles, Alicea took the next two, closing out his second straight hill-hill win over Eglesias and taking home the $1,190 first place prize.