Guzman wins five on the loss side to take Tri-State stop at Steinway

(l to r): Juan Guzman & Omar Hulse
Three years ago, Juan Guzman, who competes these days as an A+/A player, had what was, according to our records, his best earnings year to date. He won two events each on the Predator Pro Am and Tri-State Tours that year (2016) and was runner-up in the Ginky Memorial that’s run by both tours. He had a couple of slim years after that, but he appears to be returning to form. He’s unlikely to match his 2016 earnings before this year ends, but he has already this year, won a stop on the Predator Pro Am and on Sunday, November 10, he won his second stop on the 2019-2020 Tri-State Tour. He won five on the loss side and in the finals, downed hot seat occupant Omar Hulse to claim the event title. The $1,000-added event drew 48 entrants to Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY.
Alberto Estevez sent Guzman to the loss side 7-4 in a winners’ side quarterfinal and advanced to a winners’ side semifinal against the tour’s #1 A/A+ player, Max Watanabe. Hulse, in the meantime, squared off against Raul Calderon in the other winners’ side semifinal.
Watanabe sent Estevez over to what proved to be an immediate rematch against Guzman, while Hulse was busy surviving a double hill match versus Calderon. Hulse, a C+ player, downed Watanabe 8-6 and waited in the hot seat for Guzman to finish his loss-side run.
Guzman launched his loss-side run with a 7-5 victory over Shawn Basdeo Sookhai, and followed it with a 7-5 win over Jose Estevez, to draw a rematch against Alberto Estevez. Calderon picked up Bianca Martinez, who’s the tour’s #2 female and #2 C player (behind Michelle Brotons, who’s the tour’s #1 female and #1 C player). Bianca Martinez had defeated Luis Lopez 6-2 and Jonathan Martinez to pick up Calderon.
Guzman didn’t get to play the rematch against Estevez. Instead, he leapfrogged right into the quarterfinals, when Estevez forfeited. He was joined by Bianca Martinez, who’d ended Calderon’s day 6-4.
Guzman, in turn, ended Bianca’s day 10-5 in those quarterfinals, and then, from his position as the tour’s #7 A+/A player met up with the tour’s #1 A+/A player, Watanabe in the semifinals. Guzman sent Watanabe to the showers (so to speak) 7-4 and advanced to the finals against Hulse.
Coming from the loss side, Guzman had to reach 9 ahead of Hulse in the finals for the opportunity to extend the match to 11 games. Otherwise, it would end if Hulse reached 9 games first. They battled back and forth to an 8-8 tie before Guzman won his 9th to extend the race. He never looked back and finished things at 11-8 to earn his second win on the Tri-State’s 2019-2020 tour.
Tour representatives thanked Manny Stamatakis and his Steinway Billiards staff for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui, Phil Capelle, Bloodworth Ball Cleaner, Billiard Engineering, Pool & Billiards, Professor Q Ball, Bender Cues, and Pool & Billiards. The next Tri-State event, scheduled for Sunday, November 17, will be hosted by Shooter’s Family Billiards in Wayne, NJ.