Lam goes undefeated to take 2018-2019 Tri-State Tour season opener at Steinway

(l to r): Mike Mele & Duc Lam
Duc Lam, who won the 2017 Empire State Amateur 10-Ball Championships and finished the 2017-2018 Tri-State season as its #4-ranked A+/A player opened the Tri-State’s 2018-2019 season with an undefeated run that saw him face separate opponents in the hot seat match (Philip Pearce) and finals (Mike Mele). The $1,000-added event, held on Sunday, July 15, drew 48 entrants to Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY.
Lam’s path to the winners’ circle ran through Lidio Ramierez, Kapriel Delimelkonoglu, and Ron Gabia to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal match against Patrick Myers. Pearce, in the meantime, faced off against Ryan Dayrit in the other winners’ side semifinal. Two double hill matches sent Lam and Pearce to the hot seat match; Lam, 9-8 over Myers and Pearce, 7-6 over Dayrit. A third double hill match, battling for the hot seat, sent Pearce to the semifinals, as Lam waited on the return of Mele.
On the loss side, two competitors were working on a collision course that would put them against each other in the quarterfinals. Max Watanabe, sent to the loss side by Ron Gabia in their opening round (both had been awarded opening round byes) was working on a seven-match, loss-side winning streak that had included a double hill, re-match win over Gabia and an 8-6 win over Jason Goberdhan. Watanabe then drew Meyers, coming over from the winners’ side semifinals. Dayrit picked up Mele, who’d been sent to the loss side by Pearce in the third round, and was on a six-match, loss-side streak that would take him all the way to the finals. Mele had most recently eliminated Eddie Medina and Daniel Feliciano, both 7-5.
Watanabe fought a double hill battle against Meyers, which eventually advanced him to the quarterfinals. He was met by Mele, who’d defeated Dayrit 7-2. Watanabe’s loss-side streak came to an end in those quarterfinals, with Mele’s second straight 7-2 win.
Mele leap-frogged over his semifinal re-match against Pearce (by forfeit), and went straight into the finals. Mele put up a double hill fight, but Lam ended it to claim the first title of the Tri-State Tour’s 2018-2019 season.
Tour representatives thanked Manny Stamatakis and his Steinway Billiards staff for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui Tips, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, Human Kinetics, Pool & Billiards, Professor Q Ball, Bender Cues, and DIGICUE OB. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for Saturday, July 21, will be a $1000-added, 8-ball event, to be hosted by Clifton Billiards in Clifton, NJ.