Hugo Patino is the 2009 USBA National Champion

2009 USBA National Champion: Hugo Patino

The USBA 2009 National 3-Cushion Championship was underway with a field of 42 players from all over the country at Carom Café Billiards in Flushing, NY from February 18-22, 2009.

The tournament was played on 10 Verhoeven billiard tables, all outfitted for the tournament with fresh 300 Rapide billiard cloth, generously donated by Iwan Simonis, Inc. Also, Saluc, the manufacturer of Aramith Billiard Balls, donated 15 sets of Super Aramith Pro-Cup Carom Billiard Balls featuring spots on each of the yellow and white cue balls, allowing the spectators to more easily see the spin on the balls as the top 3-cushion players in the United States demonstrated their ability to make the balls dance wondrously at times.

Defending National Champion Miguel Torres, 2008 runner-up Pedro Piedrabuena along with Mazin Shooni, Sonny Cho, Hugo Patino and Michael Kang were the six seeded players. Format in the Preliminaries was six flights with 7 players each, race to 25, with the 3 top players from each flight advancing to the semi-finals along with the best two 4th place finishers. The semi-finals, 20 players in all, was divided into 4 flights with 5 players each, 35 point matches, with the top 2 finishers of each flight advancing to an 8-player round robin finals, 50 point matches. The 3rd place finishers of the semi-finals then played 50 point single elimination matches to determine 9th through 12th place overall.

Nationals List of Players:
1) Miguel Torres
2) Pedro Piedrabuena
3) Mazin Shooni
4) Sonny Cho
5) Jim Shovak
6) Andrew Janquitto
7) Tom Rossman
8) Dave Van Lokeren
9) Joe DeAmato
10) Gilbert Najm
11) Leonard Collibee (Von Duprin)
12) Young Gull Lee
13) Michael Kang
14) Min Jae Pak
15) Eric Hughes
16) Spencer Winston
17) Bob Page
18) Walt Scott
19) Darrel Stutesman
20) Jamil Isreal
21) Mike Bengels
22) Antonio Rivera
23) Armando Wong
24) Bassel Elshaar
25) Felipe Razon
26) Hugo Patino
27) George Ashby
28) Dan Kolacz
29) Paul Frankel
30) Bill Johnson
31) Gary Elias
32) John Cristiano
33) George Theobald
34) Charles Brown
35) Jim Watson
36) Robert Raiford
37) Don Sperber
38) Juan Elizalde Sauz
39) John C. Park
40) Francisco Loaiza
41) Mark Jarvis
42) Gary Eake

After 2 days of sterling play in the preliminaries, 20 players made it to the semi-final rounds. Event highlights from the qualification rounds revealed 6 players with perfect 6-0 records: Pedro Piedrabuena, Mazin Shooni, Michael Kang, Felipe Razon, Sonny Cho and defending champion Miguel Torres. The balance of the semi-final field demonstrated great resolve on the road to the championship finals.

The semi final matches started right on schedule with each match presenting the finest in 3-cushion poise and skill being demonstrated. In one of the semi-final brackets, Young Gull Lee posted a perfect 4-0 record, playing brilliantly as he defeated Pedro Piedrabuena, who otherwise demonstrated top form in each match of the tournament previously. Hugo Patino, Michael Kang, and Felipe Razon also went 4-0 in their respective brackets.

Rounding out the field of the 8 top players that matched up in the final round robin group were Pedro Piedrabuena, Sonny Cho, Mazin Shooni, and the 2008 defending champion Miguel Torres. Each of these determined competitors finished the semi-finals with win-loss records of 3-1.

The 3rd place finishers in each bracket played in a single elimination shootout to determine the 9th thru 12th payout and ranking places. These players were George Ashby, Min Jae Pak, Jim Watson, and Bob Page. Other players from the semi-finals were Mark Jarvis, Antonio Rivera, Mike Bengels, Darrel Stutesman, Gilbert Najm, Juan Elizalde Sauz, Charles Brown and Tom Rossman.

The 1st day of the finals created quite a flurry of excitement among both the players and the fans. Brilliant play and intricate adjustments to each shot tested each veteran in their resolve, focus, and patience with the 50 point goal of each game. Patino and Piedrabuena completed their first 4 matches in stellar fashion with perfect 4-0 win-loss records. Michael Kang held a 3-1 win-loss record and Sonny Cho held a 2-2 win-loss record. The Nationals were also live-streamed on the internet for the whole world to see at CaromTV.com. A special thanks to Jan Carl for setting up the webcam and audio as well.

Last day of the finals: Hugo Patino ran a very impressive “14? in his early morning match against Sonny Cho. Sonny made a valiant comeback with 2 great runs to make things close. The final score was Patino 50 to Cho 44 in 40 innings!!

Going into the final match it was Pedro and Hugo. Pedro was undefeated and Hugo had one loss. Hugo needed to win their 50-point match in order to stay alive. Hugo played brilliantly and won the match 50 to 49. This forced a playoff match between Hugo and Pedro, also 50 points. The winner would be the Champion. Once again, Hugo played brilliantly and won the playoff match 50 to 48 and became the 2009 USBA National Champion. Congratulations to Hugo Patino!!!

2009 Nationals Sponsors:

A special thanks to Kilby Cues and Schuler Cues for donating beautiful cues for the raffle. Jim Shovak won the Schuler Cue and Najiv Ramirez won the Kilby.

The Nationals wouldn't have been possible without the following sponsors: Carom Café, Bob Jewett, David Levine, Jim Shovak, Bruce Warner, Aramith Balls (Saluc),
Iwan Simonis Cloth, Choice Hotels International, Kilby Cues and Schuler Cues.

And last, but certainly not least, thanks to Charles Brown and Min Jae Pak who ran the show from start to finish. Photos by Professor-Q-Ball. As usual, thanks again guys!!!