Cheng wins first Tri-State, splits purse with Reyes

Allen Wong, Billy Cheng and Raul Reyes

Geography (in terms of travel distances) and the clock have been working against the finals of Tri-State Tour stops recently, and Easter weekend was no exception. The $1,000-added, A/D handicapped event had drawn 55 entrants to Sandcastle Billiards in Edison, NJ and the attempt to accommodate the entire tournament in one day – Saturday, April 23 – led to a finals matchup between Billy Cheng and Raul Reyes that was set to begin at 4:30 a.m. on Easter Sunday morning. Though such a final match would have given both competitors the opportunity to leave the premises and head straight to an Easter sunrise service of their choice, the two opted to split the winnings and give Cheng, sitting in the hot seat undefeated, the documented victory.

Victories over Gary Murgia, Peter Ziemak, and Keith Adamik put Cheng among the winners' side final four, where he faced Arturo Reyes. Allen Wong, in the meantime, who'd just sent Raul Reyes to the one-loss side, squared off against Michele Li. Cheng downed Arturo Reyes 7-5, as Wong survived a double hill match versus Li. Cheng then survived a double hill battle against Wong that put him in the hot seat and proved to be the last hurdle he'd jump for his first Tri-State victory.

Arturo Reyes moved over to meet Scott Simonetti, who'd defeated Ben Sadowski 7-3 and Brent Boemmels 7-5 to reach him. Li faced Raul Reyes, who was on his five -match march back to the finals, and had most recently defeated Rick Shellhouse 6-2 and Antonio Navarro 6-3. Simonetti dispatched Arturo Reyes 7-3, as Raul Reyes ended Michele Li's bid 6-4. This set up a Simonetti/Raul Reyes quarterfinal match, won by Reyes 8-2 (which would prove to be, coincidentally, both of their won/loss records for the tournament).

Raul Reyes moved on for a rematch versus Allen Wong that was the event's final match. Reyes prevailed 6-4, and by mutual consent, both he and Cheng opted to split the first and second place purse, declaring the thus-far undefeated Cheng as the event winner.

Tour representatives thanked the venue owner, known as The Sandman, for his generous support of the tour, along with sponsors Sterling-Gaming, Ozone Billiards, Ron Tarr Cues, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, Human Kinetics, and Dr. Dave Billiards Instructional Products.