Ragoonanan hangs on to win Tri-State stop

Raphael DaBreo, Rikki Ragoonanan and Pat DiBuono

When Rikki Ragoonanan stepped to the table with a 5-0 match record that had propelled him into the finals of the Tri-State Tour stop on Saturday, June 19th, his opponent, Rafael DaBreo, stepped up with a 7-0 record of his own; all of it on the one-loss side, following a hill-hill defeat at the hands of Troy Deocharran among the winners' side final eight. Ragoonanan struggled in the early going of what proved to be the only set necessary in the true double elimination final, but fought back to tie and then win it. The $750-added, B-D handicapped event drew 26 entrants to Sandcastle Billiards in Edison, NJ. 

After victories over Ken Decuire, Andrew Cleary and a double hill win over Serrafin Serrano, Ragoonanan moved among the winners' side final four to face Deocharran. Pat DiBuono, in the meantime, faced George Osipovitch. Ragoonanan defeated Deocharran 8-6 to send him to an eventual second match against DaBreo, as DiBuono was busy sending Osipovitch west 7-2.  Ragoonanan survived his second double hill match of the day, versus DiBuono, to gain the hot seat and wait for what turned out to be DaBreo's return. 

With two wins to his credit when he arrived on the one-loss side (against Max Watanabe and Sandie Patarino), DaBreo  began his five-match return to the finals with 7-4 wins over Gary Murgia and Jeff Dworzanski, which set him up to face Osipovitch. Deocharran faced Allen Wong, who'd defeated Ralph Panuzzo 6-2 and Rajesh Vannala 7-4 to reach him.  DaBreo got by Osipovitch double hill for a second chance at Deocharran, who'd defeated Wong 6-4. DaBreo narrowly avoided his second straight double hill match against Deocharran with a 7-5 win that put him into the semifinals against DiBuono. 

DiBuono battled in those semifinals, forcing DaBreo into his third double hill match of the tournament. DaBreo won the deciding game, though, and opened with two straight racks in the double elimination final against Ragoonanan.  That two-game lead wavered back and forth between one and two, until Ragoonanan tied things up at 4-4. DaBreo responded with two straight racks, regaining the two-game lead and perching himself on the hill. Ragoonanan came right back to tie it at 6-6, and then won the deciding game. 

Thanks were expressed by tour representatives to Sterling-Gaming, Ozone Billiards, Viking Cues, Ron Tarr Cues, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, and Dr. Dave Billiards Instructional Products for their sponsorship leading to this event.