Cintron braves a record storm to take Tri-State stop

Raul Reyes, Dan Cintron and Jerry Tarantola

Braving a storm that dumped record amounts of snow from New Jersey to the streets of Boston, 18 intrepid pool players gathered at Sandcastle Billiards in Edison, NJ on Saturday, December 19 for a ‘special format' stop on the Tri-State tour that offered double points for Player of the Year standings and an opportunity to compete in separate A-B, C-D brackets until all players were in the money.  

“The storm scared everybody away,” said tour director Todd Fleitman, “because normally for this (double-points) event, we draw near 40 players. Players can normally expect to pick up 25% of an annual amount of Player of the Year points at this convenient, one-day event.”

Danny Cintron emerged from the pack of 18 to take top honors in the $750-added, A-B, C-D handicapped event.  After an opening round, 8-6 victory over Ed Medina, Cintron met his eventual opponent in the finals, Jerry Tarantola, and sent him west in a hill-hill match that put him among the winners' side final four, where he was joined by Paul Everton, Raul Reyes and Richard Ng. Cintron defeated Everton 7-6, as Reyes was busy sending Ng to the one-loss side 6-4. Reyes survived a double hill battle versus Reyes to gain the hot seat.

Tarantola, the owner of NYCGrind, began his five-match trek to the finals with an 8-3 win over Medina , followed it with a 7-5 win over Joe Landi and then faced Everton. Diana “Snooky” Rojas, in the meantime, moved past Roger Hanos 6-4 and Dave Fitzpatrick 7-5 to pick up Ng. Tarantola defeated Everton 7-6 and met Ng in the quarterfinals, following his victory over Rojas 6-4. Tarantola deposited Ng into fourth place with a 10-6 win and then dropped Reyes into third place 9-6.

In the true double elimination final that followed, as snow continued to mount outside the doors of Sandcastle Billiards, Cintron and Tarantola battled back and forth, a game at a time, to a 4-4 tie; Cintron taking the initiative to win the opening game, the third game and the fifth.  Tarantola tied it up at 3-3, but then surged ahead and took his first lead of the match at 4-3. Cintron battled back to knot it at 4-4.

At this point, Tarantola regained the lead and added two racks to be up by three 7-4. Cintron re-balanced the scales with three racks of his own to tie it back up at 7-7, and then regained the lead to reach the hill first. Tarantola fought back to tie the match for the sixth time and then, the two settled into what would either be the end of the opening set or the final game of the tournament. Cintron prevailed, capturing the first place prize and his third Tri-State stop this year.