Rivas comes from the loss side to win NAPT's inaugural 10-Ball Invitational
Skip Maloney
Oct. 2, 2018
Sergio Rivas
Sergio Rivas
Former Junior National Champion Sergio Rivas (2013; 14 and under Boys) navigated his way through a series of round robin matches and came from the loss side of a subsequent double elimination bracket to win the North American Pool Tour’s inaugural Open Pro 10-Ball Invitational Tournament, held on the long weekend of September 27-30. Rivas downed five-time Canadian Champion and US Bar Table Champion (2013), Jason Klatt twice in a double elimination final to claim the title. The $6,000-added event drew 14 entrants to Shooter’s Sports Bar & Billiards in Grayslake, IL.
 
The North American Pool Tour was initially conceived and launched two years ago to offer female players further opportunities to compete. It was, however, right from the start, designed to eventually encompass events for all players, men included.
 
“We’re trying to get six (events) for ladies and two for men next year,” said co-founder and current NAPT President Adrianne Beach in an interview with Billiards Digest in 2016. “It’s about building a tour system, moving players from the amateur to the professional, like a lot of other sports do.”
 
They didn’t get to the ‘Open’ (men included) part of the plan until this year, and while they knew that it wasn’t going to be an easy transition, they expected more participation than they got. But, noted Beach afterwards, this first Open Pro event, accomplished what it set out to do.
 
“The turnout was less than expected, but we still happily added the guaranteed money,” she said. “Our goal in this first event was to show the Open players what we’re all about. While we didn’t get to show that to as many players as we hoped, the ones who were there definitely appeared to love the event and what we’re doing.
 
“With that in mind,” she added, “we consider the event to have been a success.”
 
The 14 entrants were initially split into two groups of seven for the round robin phase of the tournament. Each group played seven rounds, each player facing an opponent in their group once, with one ‘bye’ in the mix. The matches were a race to a combined total of 13 games. At the end of the seven rounds, the top eight players, selected by total games won, were advanced to a double elimination bracket.
 
Jason Klatt emerged from the round robin phase as the only undefeated player (6-0) in either group and topped the total winning-game tally with 66. Max Eberle (with 61 wins), Neil Vichlensaen (with 51) and Thomas Karabatsos (with 46) all finished with 5-1 records. Rivas and Larry Nevel joined the double elimination bracket with 4-2 records; Rivas with a winning-game total of 50 and Nevel with 46. Rounding out the field of advancing competitors were Neal Jacobs and Marvin Guss, both with 3-3 records. Jacobs had chalked up 44 wins, while Guss recorded 38.
 
Eliminated in the round robin phase were the tournament’s three women – Marian Poole, Darlene Dantes and Adrianne Beach – along with Mason Koch, Paul Scott, and Alex Shapshevich.
 
As the event moved into its double elimination (all money rounds) phase, Neil Vichlensaen matched up with Neal Jacobs, Max Eberle faced Marvin Guss, Jason Klatt squared off against Larry Nevel and the eventual winner, Sergio Rivas met up with Thomas Karabatsos. Jacobs moved into a winners’ side semifinal match against Eberle with a 9-5 win over Vichlensaen. Eberle had defeated Guss 9-3. Klatt earned his winners’ side semifinal spot against Rivas with a 9-4 win over Nevel. Rivas had sent Karabatsos to the loss side 9-3.
 
Klatt advanced to the hot seat match with a 9-7 victory over Rivas, and was met by Eberle, who’d sent Jacobs over 9-4. Klatt then defeated Eberle 9-5, and with a 9-0 record, sat in the hot seat awaiting the return of Rivas.
 
On the loss side, Rivas picked up Guss, who’d defeated Vichlensaen 9-5 to reach him. Jacobs drew Nevel, who’d eliminated Karabatsos 9-3. Rivas defeated Guss 9-4 and in the quarterfinals, met up with Nevel, who’d given up only a single rack to Jacobs.
 
Rivas then defeated Nevel 9-3 and in the semifinals, Eberle 9-7 to earn a shot against Klatt in the hot seat. Rivas took the opening set 7-5 and then duplicated that effort in the second set to claim the first NAPT Open Pro 10-Ball Invitational.