De Luna, Meglino and ‘déjà vu all over again’ on Sunshine State Predator Pro Am Tour

Anthony Meglino, CJ Wiley, Jeffrey De Luna and David Singleton

You’d think, given the sample size (nation-wide players and events, over a lot of time) that it would be a lot more common. Two competitors going back-to-back as winner and runner-up at successive stops on a pool tour. But as it actually happens? Rare.

Jeffrey De Luna and Anthony Meglino repeated their winner/runner-up scene from the last weekend in February on the last weekend in March on the Sunshine State Predator Pro Am Tour. De Luna went undefeated in February, having downed Meglino in the hot seat match and finals. He went just as undefeated this past weekend (March 27-28) and for the second time, downed Meglino in the hot seat and finals. And if Meglino hadn’t stepped up his game a bit in the finals of this last one (winning two more games) they’d have gone back-to-back and finished with identical scores in the final two matches. The $750-added (plus $370 raffle) event drew 61 entrants to Boulevard Billiards in Ocala, FL.

De Luna’s path to the hot seat this time around went through Jodi Rubin, Francisco Serrano, Benjie Estor and CJ Wiley (who Meglino played and defeated in both events), to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal against David Singleton. Meglino got by Jay Stock, Cody Ingle, Don Kreischer and John Francisco to arrive at his winners’ semifinal matchup against co-tour director, Bobby Garza.

De Luna got into the hot seat match 7-4 over Singleton. Meglino joined him with a 7-2 win over Garza. And for the second time in a row, De Luna claimed the hot seat 7-3.

On the loss side, Garza picked up CJ Wiley, who’d lost to De Luna 7-3 in a winners’ side quarterfinal. Wiley then defeated Jon Gore 5-2 and survived a double hill fight versus Les Duffy to face Garza. Singleton drew Steve Foster, who’d lost his winners’ side quarterfinal match to Garza 7-1 and defeated Alec Saputo and Jason Richko, both 5-1.

Garza and CJ Wiley locked up in a double hill fight that eventually sent Wiley to the quarterfinals. He was joined by Singleton, who’d eliminated Foster 5-2. Wiley stretched his loss-side trip by one more match, downing Singleton 5-3 in those quarterfinals. Meglino earned his second shot against De Luna in the hot seat with a 5-1 victory over Wiley in the semifinals (Meglino had fought and won a double hill match against Mike Delawder in the February semifinals).

Meglino’s strong showing versus CJ Wiley may have contributed to his picking up a couple of extra games in his second finals versus De Luna in a row. De Luna, though, prevailed a second time and claimed his second straight Sunshine State Predator Pro Am title in a row 9-4. De Luna played five more games than he had in February and lost four of those extra games; winning 51 games total, both times. Meglino played nine games less, total, winning 55 in the Feb. event and only 50 this time around. He lost nine less (42-33). The February event drew more than twice the numbers, thus fewer matchups, overall.

Tour directors Janene Phillips and Bobby Garza thanked Don Kreischer and his staff for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor, Predator Cues.

“We are very grateful to have Predator as our title sponsor,” they wrote. “We look forward to being a part of the best cue maker in the business and can’t wait to see what they are working on next!”

They added further thanks to their other sponsors, Kamui, Diamond Products, Stitch It To Me Embroidery and the Central Florida USA Pool League, as well as giving a “shout out” to Rob McLaren, who’s been their “right hand man for the past few stops.” They also thanked Leah Nusbaum of Leah Nusbaum Photography for photos and her help with the event.

According to Phillips and Garza, the next stop on the Sunshine State Predator Pro Am Tour, scheduled for the weekend of April 24-25, for 600 and under Fargo Rates, has already been sold out. The tour will hold an Open 9-Ball event the following weekend, May 1-2 at Stroker’s Billiards in Palm Harbor, FL.