Romero downs Wong twice to go undefeated on Predator Pro Am stop
Mar. 19, 2018
Mar. 19, 2018
(l to r): Ramilo Tanglao, Suzzie Wong, Duc Lam & Xavier Romero
Xavier Romero, according to our records, chalked up his best earnings year, to date, in 2017, and came to the March 17-18 stop on the 2018 Predator Pro Am Tour, looking for his first win. He’d made it to the finals of a Predator stop twice last year; the first, about a year ago, and the most recent, one week before last Christmas. In both cases, he fought a double hill battle in the finals and lost; in the first, in March of last year, he fell victim to pool’s ‘three-foul’ rule against Chris Kelly in the deciding game, and back in December, Rhys Chen took the final game to win the tour’s Player’s Championships.
This past weekend, at the $1,000-added, Double Points Predator Pro Am event that drew 86 entrants to Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY, Romero battled twice against Suzzie Wong; once, in the hot seat match and again, in the finals. Although Wong had appeared in the finals of a Tri-State Tour event as recently as last month (February 25), and previously (November, 2017) won the Women’s Leisure Division of the 2017 NYC 8-Ball Championships, she became the first D/D+ player on the Predator Pro Am tour to ever make it to a final match. This, presumably, gave them both a lot to think about as they squared off in the finals. Romero won both the hot seat and final match to complete an undefeated run and claim the event title, but Wong cannot be replaced as the first D/D+ player (not just ‘woman’) to appear in the finals of a Predator Pro Am Tour stop.
Their first meeting followed a victory by Romero, over Duc Lam 8-4, and a Wong victory over Ramilo Tanglao 7-2 in the two winners’ side semifinals. Romero took the first of his two against Wong 8-6, leaving him in the hot seat, to think about his third appearance in the finals of a Predator Pro Am event in a year, as Wong moved over to battle for her right to a second shot at him.
On the loss side, Tanglao and Lam picked up two opponents who had downed their previous two loss-side opponents in double hill matches. Tanglao picked up Greg Matos, who’d defeated Kanami Chau and Ada Lio, both double hill, while Lam drew Eddie Kunz, who’d eliminated Junior Acosta and Jaydev Zaveri the same way.
Tanglao advanced to the quarterfinals 7-2 over Matos, while Lam came out on top in Kunz’s third straight double hill match, to join him. Tanglao then earned himself a re-match against Wong with a 9-7 win over Lam.
Both semifinalists were looking to advance to a Predator final for the first time (Tanglao had won an event on the Tri-State, eight years ago), and fought to double hill for the right to do so. In the final game, Tanglao was able to line up the 9-ball for the win, and though it dropped, so, seconds later, did the cue ball, and Wong got her shot.
Though it might have been expected, Romero and Wong did not face a deciding game in the finals. Romero pulled out in front and finally won it 8-5 to claim his first Predator title.
Tour director Tony Robles thanked the ownership and staff at Cue Bar for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor Predator Cues, NAPL, Ozone Billiards, The DeVito Team, PoolOnTheNet.com, BilliardsPress.com, AZBilliards, Billiards Digest and PoolMag.com. Robles also extended thanks to his entire Predator Staff, including his wife, Gail Robles, Mandy Wu, William Finnegan, Irene Kim, and Rob Omen. The next stop on the Predator Pro Am Tour, scheduled for the weekend of April 7-8, will be hosted by Steinway Billliards in Astoria (Queens), NY.