“Klenti” Kaci goes undefeated to take Pro side of 8th Annual Ginky Memorial

Eklent Kaci, Lee Van Cortezza, Mike Dechaine and Jorge Rodriguez
The finals of the 8th Annual George “Ginky” Sansouci Memorial Pro Tournament, held over Memorial Day weekend, proved to be a preview of an event, scheduled for tomorrow evening (Thursday, May 31) at the same location, Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY. At the upcoming event, Albanian phenomenon, Eklent “Klenti” Kaci and Filipino Lee Vann Corteza will square off for a $20,000, race-to-30 10-ball match, which will be available as a pay-per-view event, beginning at 6:30 p.m. (EDT). Over the Memorial Day weekend, in the Pro event held under the combined auspices of the Predator Pro Am, Tri-State and Mezz Tours, Kaci and Vann Corteza had to work through a field of 38 entrants before meeting up in the finals. Kaci defeated Vann Corteza in those finals, completing an undefeated run that earned him the 8th Annual Ginky Memorial Pro title. A concurrently-run Amateur event drew 144 entrants (separate story, to be posted later).
It proved to be more than tomorrow night’s race-to-30 for both Kaci and Vann Corteza. Kaci ended up winning 56 of the games he played over six matches. Corteza, thanks to Mike Dechaine, had to play two more matches (an extra 33 games), and ended up winning more total games (65). Corteza ended up winning 65 of his 115 games (56%), as Kaci chalked up the event title by winning 56 of his 82 games (68%).
Kaci opened his bid for the title with a 9-2 win over Brian Schell, and then, almost had his undefeated run derailed by Tony Robles, whose actual participation in the event was (and always has been at this annual memorial event), secondary to his overall organization and oversight of everything about this tournament. This did not prevent “The Silent Assassin” from throwing Kaci a bit of a scare by virtue of a double hill fight that did eventually send Robles west and Kaci further east in the bracket.
Kaci’s next match proved to be significantly easier (if they’re ever easier), because Kaci didn’t give Jimmy Conn a single rack, which set him (Kaci) up in a winners’ side semifinal match against Joey Korsiak.
Vann Corteza, in the meantime, who’d worked his way through Ehmunrao Toocaram (9-1), Alex Kazakis (9-5) and had to fight Jorge Rodriguez to double hill before advancing, found himself facing not-so-retired “Fireball,” Mike Dechaine in the other winners’ side semifinal.
Kaci moved into the hot seat match with a 9-2 win over Korsiak, and faced Dechaine, who’d just consigned Vann Corteza to a few extra matches on the loss side with a 9-5 win. Dechaine gave Kaci his second double hill challenge, but Kaci prevailed to sit in the hot seat and wait for what turned out to be Vann Corteza’s return.
On the loss side, Korsiak picked up Rodriguez, who, following his defeat at the hands of Vann Corteza, had eliminated Robles and Alan Rolon. Vann Corteza drew a second match-up against Kazakis, who’d defeated Jimmy Conn and Frankie Hernandez.
Vann Corteza downed Kazakis a second time, 9-6, and in the quarterfinals, faced Rodriguez, who’d eliminated Korsiak 9-7. Vann Corteza then ended Rodriguez’ run 9-5 in those quarterfinals, and turned for a second shot against Dechaine in the semifinals. Vann Corteza left Dechaine in third place with a 9-5 win and the final ‘preview’ match of the upcoming challenge event was on.
If Kaci holds on to the percentage for tomorrow night’s 20K challenge match, he should win that match 30-14, because he claimed the 8th Annual George “Ginky” Sansouci Memorial Tournament over Vann Corteza by a score of 11-6.
Tour representatives of the Predator Pro Am, Tri-State and Mezz Tours thanked Manny Stamatakis and his Steinway Billiards staff for their hospitality. They also thanked Upstate Al and his staff for the live stream of selected matches of both the Amateur and Pro events throughout the weekend.