Morris, Parica and Sambajon, Jr. shine in 4th Annual Chuck Markulis Memorial

Jose Parica

It was technically the largest field of competitors the annual Chuck Markulis Memorial Tournament had seen since its inception in 2008. In 2010, the 9-Ball field was restricted to 128 players, and drew that many, with 30 on a waiting list. This year, the 9-Ball field was expanded to accommodate 160 players and 150 showed up to play. The concurrently-run One-Pocket event drew 43 entrants.

Among them were Rodney Morris, who went undefeated to capture the first place prize in the $4,000-added 9-Ball event, Jose Parica, who won the $1,000-added One-Pocket event, and Santos Sambajon, Jr., who was in the finals of both. The 4th Annual Chuck Markulis Tournament, which played out over the weekend of October 6-10, was originally known as the Hard Times Billiards Jamboree, and became known as the Chuck Markulis Memorial Tournament in 2008, about one year after the death of Mr. Markulis, who owned the facility that continues to host the tournament - Hard Times Billiards in Sacramento, CA. His son, Michael, now owns the facility and along with General Manager Tony Torres, Tour Director Ken Shuman and assistants Brian LaFlamme and Janet Okamoto holds the annual event in his father's honor.

In the One-Pocket event, which featured races to 2 on both sides of the bracket, virtually every match ended in a 2-1 score, except for the finals, which was an extended race to 4. It was Sambajon, Jr., who advanced to the hot seat in this one. He'd gotten by Julio Cerezo to get into the hot seat match, and was joined by Parica, who'd downed Richard Grenier. Sambajon, Jr. sent Parica to the semifinals, and awaited his fateful return.

Cerezo and Grenier's visit to the One-Pocket loss side was brief. Cerezo met up and was defeated by Rafael Martinez, who'd gotten by Rodney Morris and Jerry Matchin. Grenier's 'Waterloo' came at the hands of Amar Kang, who'd defeated Tony Melendez and Steve Housch. Martinez then downed Kang in the quarterfinals, and then, was himself defeated by Parica in the semifinals. 

The Parica/Sambajon, Jr. re-match in the finals went six games. Parica won four of them to take home the first place prize.

Morris slices through 9-Ball field

In the 9-Ball event, Morris went virtually unchallenged through the field, arriving among the winners' side final four on Sunday night. On Monday, he faced Deo Alpajora, as Ernesto Dominguez squared off against Fach Garcia. Morris downed Alpajora 8-6, while Dominguez was busy sending Garcia west 8-4. Morris prevailed in the hot seat match by the same 8-4 score against Dominguez, and awaited what turned out to be the return of Sambajon, Jr.

Sambajon, Jr., in the meantime, was in the midst of an 11-game winning streak on the loss side, which had commenced when Amar Kang sent him over in the third round. With six behind him, Sambojon, Jr. defeated Mary Rakin and Marshall Williams to pick up Garcia. Alpajora drew Jose Parica, who'd gotten by Jason Williams and Dave Hemmah. Once Parica had shut out Alpajora and Sambajon, Jr. got by Garcia, the quarterfinals became a re-match between the hot seat and finals contestants from the One-Pocket event.

Sambajon, Jr. won his final two matches by the same score; 7-5, against Parica first in the quarterfinals, and then Dominguez in the semifinals. And once again, for the second time in two days, he was into the finals. Morris, though, was not to be denied. He opened up an early lead, extended it, and by the time it was over, he was ahead by seven, finishing his undefeated, 9-Ball weekend with an 11-4 victory.