Robles comes back to take down Dechaine in Predator Open event

Tony Robles (Photo courtesy of Brian Leong)
To the best of his recollection, the last time Tony Robles met up with Mike Dechaine was over two years ago in Valley Forge. Dechaine had gotten the best of him 11-8 back then and when Dechaine took him down in the hot seat match of the January 12 stop on the Predator Tour, somewhere in that generally professional demeanor that doesn't over-dramatize a single defeat, there had to have been a quiet voice in the mental background, saying "Here we go again." Robles came back from the semifinals to down Dechaine in the finals of the $750-added Open Predator event that had drawn 26 entrants to Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY.
"I had a chance to beat him at 10-2 in those finals," said Robles, "but he slipped in a couple of games on me."
By the time Robles moved among the winners' side final four, he'd already played what he would consider to be his "best match of the tournament" - a 7-3 win over Wang Can - which came at a point when he was nowhere near as tired as he was going to be at the end, and made "fewer errors." He moved on from that win to defeat Travis McKinney 7-2, as Dechaine was busy defeating Bogie Uzdejczyk 7-1. Dechaine took command of the hot seat match, giving up only two racks and waiting in the hot seat for Robles' return.
On the loss side, Zion Zvi was working on a six-match, loss-side winning streak, which had begun when he'd been defeated by Hunter Lombardo 7-1 in the event's opening round. Victories over Eddie Culhane 7-4 and a commanding 7-1 win over Earl "The Pearl" Strickland, set Zvi up to face McKinney. Uzdejczyk ran into Frankie Hernandez, who'd gotten by Kevin Guimond 7-2 and spoiled Wang Can's hopes of a re-match against Robles, by defeating him 7-4.
Hernandez took care of Uzdejczyk 7-3 and in the quarterfinals, met up with Zvi, who'd dropped McKinney 7-2. Zvi took that quarterfinal match against Hernandez 7-3, but had his loss-side run terminated by Robles in a double hill semifinal.
Robles left little room for doubt in the finals, taking command early, and staying out in front. He won it, ahead by six, at 11-5 to claim the event title. Beyond his tempered joy of winning this event on his own tour, Robles was elated by the overall turnout for the two weekend events (Open and Amateur) that had drawn a total of 131 players to Steinway Billiards. 
"Not to say that I'm not happy about winning the event," he said. "I am, but I'm happier about the turnout, which is more important to me than winning a tournament and watching your sport die."