Melendez gets by Francisco twice to win Tri-State stop at Steinway

(l to r): Juan Melendez & John Francisco

Juan Melendez has had a few cracks at entering the winners’ circle on the Tri-State and Predator tours. Most recently, he finished in the tie for 9th at a September stop on the Predator Tour and 7th on the Tri-State earlier this month (October 1). His other notable effort was at last year’s NYC 8-Ball Championships (Men’s Leisure Division), where he finished 3rd. On Sunday, October 22, Melendez broke through, chalking up an undefeated run through a field of 47, on-hand for a $1,000-added stop on the Tri-State Tour, hosted by Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY.

Melendez had to get by John Francisco twice to complete his run. They met first in the hot seat match, after Melendez had sent Luis Jimenez to the loss side 8-6 in one winners’ side semifinal, and Francisco had defeated Basdeo “Shawn” Sookhai 7-2 in the other. Melendez grabbed the hot seat (his first) over Francisco 8-5 and pondered the possibility of his first tour win, while Francisco moved to the semifinals.
On the loss side, Sookhai picked up the competitor known as “The Warrior,” aka Carl Yusuf Khan, who’d defeated Lidio Ramirez 7-4 and Adam Miller 8-6. Jimenez drew Ambi Estevez, who used a shutout over Amy Yu and double hill win over Allison LaFleur to reach him.
Sookhai downed Khan 7-5, as Jimenez dropped the final 9-ball in a double hill match against Estevez. Sookhai chalked up the quarterfinal win 7-4 over Jimenez, and moved on to his re-match against Francisco in the semifinals. Sookhai put up a better fight the second time around, forcing a deciding game, but Francisco held on to win it. Francisco, too, put up a better fight the second time. As Sookhai had done to him, Francisco battled Melendez to double hill in the finals, before Melendez finished it to claim the event title.
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Steinway Billiards, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui Tips, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, Human Kinetics, Pool & Billiards, Professor Q Ball, Bender Cues, Joe Romer Trophies and DIGICUE OB. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for Sunday, October 29, will be hosted by Clifton Billiards in Clifton, NJ.