Nevel Say Never

Larry Nevel

The Seminole Pro Tour visited a very familiar site on the weekend of July 8-10, Capone's Billiards in Spring Hill, FL for another Tour Stop.  This stop was unique in that the Universal Pool League modified round robin format was used to score the event.  These rules place an emphasis on each rack played, as the total number of racks won and lost gave each player a unique win percentage.  The leader board was determined by this percentage with added bonus points given for each break and run.  All players played 4 rounds (2 on Friday and 2 on Saturday) before the field was cut down to the top 20 scores to move on to the Sunday money rounds.  Sunday, 4 more rounds were played then the top four percentage leaders played a single elimination for the championship.

For fans and spectators alike, this format created great matches.  The format matches up the #1 ranked player with #2, #3 ranked with #4 and so on all the way down the line.  Round 1 of action however was a blind draw since no points were yet won.  Round 1 matches would set the tone for what would be three days of outstanding matches.  Each table was equipped with a computer that players would enter their scores and instantly the leader board would reflect those inputs.

This was none more exciting as at the conclusion of a round 4 match between Shaun Putnam and Demetrius Jelatis.  Both players were fighting for one of the last spots in the top 20 and a chance to advance to the money rounds the following day.  Mitch Ellerman, winner of the first Tour Stop at the California Billiard Club, Rodney Morris, Paul Song, Putnam and Jelatis were all in contention for the final two spots with only the Putnam Jelatis match remaining.  As Jelatis would win one rack and enter his score, the leader board would instantly show Jelatis and Morris advancing.  Putnam would win the next rack evening the score at 3 games apiece and it would look like Song and Morris would advance.  It wasn't until the final ball was sunk and the final score being 5-5 that the leader board would fluctuate for the final time.  It left Morris, Jelatis and Song at a three way tie for the final two spots.

Through the pre-determined tiebreaker of total games won, Rodney Morris and Demetrius Jelatis advanced, leaving Paul Song so close, but out of the money rounds.  The money rounds continued to produce outstanding match-ups in round 5 such as Alex Pagulayan versus Charlie Williams and Johnny Archer against Adam Smith.  Williams would defeat Pagulayan 6-4 and Smith would grind out a tough 7-3 victory over Archer on the live stream feature table.  Since all players played all 4 money rounds, no player was eliminated yet.

Round 6 would have Earl Strickland and Adam Smith atop of the leader board as 1 and 2.  Smith would fall to Strickland 6-4 sliding him a few spots down the leader board.  Making a huge move up the leader board was Larry Nevel.  After a 6-4 win over Mike Davis in round 6 and a 7-3 victory over Dennis Hatch in round 7, Nevel was sitting comfortably in the top 4 players going into the final round 8.  In round 8 Nevel would keep shooting beautifully and held Earl Strickland to a 5-5 draw and a spot for both Strickland and Nevel in the final 4 along with Adam Smith.  The final spot in the final 4 wouldn't come easy.  Mike Davis and Alex Pagulayan would come up tied after round 8 with Davis defeating Jerry Calderon 9-1 and Pagulayan drawing Charlie Williams 5-5.

It would Pagulayan this time that would win the tie breaker based on total games won and he would advance to the final four single elimination rounds for the championship.  In the semi-final match-ups Adam Smith (#2 seed) would face Larry Nevel (#3 seed) and Earl Strickland (#1 seed) squared off against a familiar foe in Alex Pagulayan (#4 seed).  Both matches were great battles.  Nevel jumped on Smith early and would knockout Smith with a final score of 9 to 3 while Strickland would eventually fall to Pagulayan 9-7.

This would set up the final match between Larry Nevel and Alex Pagulayan for the $10,000 first prize and title as a Seminole Pro Tour stop winner.  The final match had the entire pool room's attention as the last two remaining player's would continue their stellar shooting.  Alex seemed to be playing catch up to Nevel the entire match.  Nevel was breaking the balls perfectly and would follow it with precise and focused shooting.  Nevel would prove to be just too much for Pagulayan to handle and would take the victory 11-7.  This would be Nevel's first victory on the Seminole Pro Tour and it would be the biggest payout for any first place winner on any regular, non-championship, Seminole Pro Tour stop.

The Seminole Pro Tour wants to remind all players and fans that the Seminole Pro Tour has two upcoming events in August (8/5 – 8/7 at Snookers in Providence, RI and 8/19 – 8/21 at Fiddlestix in Canton, OH) followed by the Steve Mizerak Championship on September 15-18.  All events are streamed live via pay-per-view exclusively at  Visit the site to get all of your Seminole Pro Tour news, merchandise and to catch all the live streams.  All the matches from this event and all other events will be available on the website for viewing.

The Seminole Pro Tour would like to thank Rocky McElroy and the entire Capone's Billiards staff for all of their help and hospitality during the tournament.  Until next time… Rack On!!  M/