Rodriguez comes from the loss side to win Grand Masters division of NYC 8-Ball Championship

Carrasco, Wong, Estevez, Avallone and Traynor chalk up separate division wins


The annual BCAPL-sanctioned NYC 8-Ball Championships, held under the auspices of Tony Robles’ Silent Assassin Productions, is always a masterpiece of logistical planning and execution. This year, in a two-day span, the combined $10,000-added event, coordinated six separate tournaments with a total of 241 entrants at Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY and managed to finish it all by late (very late) Sunday evening/Monday morning. In all, the event paid out just over $20K in prize money.


Four of the eventual winners of the six events went undefeated to claim an NYC 8-Ball title, while two chose the loss-side route to the winners’ circle. The top payout among the six division winners went to Erick Carrasco, who pocketed $2,000 for winning the $3,000-added, Mixed Open division of the event, which drew 39 entrants.


Carrasco earned it the hard way. After an opening round bye, Carrasco lost his first match to Paul Carpenter and then, went undefeated through nine loss-side matches before meeting and defeating Stephen Augustus in the finals. He never did get the chance for payback against Carpenter, but the payout more than compensated. Four of the nine matches Carrasco played on the loss side went double hill, including his loss-side opener against Ambi Estevez and his semifinal win over Chuck Granville. Runner-up Augustus had earned his way to the hot seat in similar fashion, winning five matches to get there, three of which, including the hot seat match against Granville, went double hill.


[photo id=48006|align=right]Jorge Rodriguez, winner of the $1,400-added Grand Masters event that drew 32 entrants, took a slightly shorter trip on the loss side to pocket his $1,500 first prize. After an opening-round shutout over event director Tony Robles, Rodriguez fell victim to Del Sim who battled him to double hill before sending him to the loss side. Sim advanced to a winners’ side semifinal against Alex Kazakis, who defeated him, and then, downed Hunter Lombardo in the hot seat match. Rodriguez won five on the loss side, the last two of which, against Edwin Garcia and Lombardo, went double hill. With momentum to spare apparently, Rodriguez advanced to defeat Kazakis in the finals 9-3.


The $2,000-added Mixed Advanced division drew the largest field of 64 entrants. While Alberto Estevez went undefeated, his efforts were almost derailed in a double hill final against Shawn Sookhai in the finals. Sookhai had been defeated in the opening round and won eight on the loss side (four that went double hill) to face Estevez in the finals. Estevez had faced only two double hill challenges; his opening round match against Rhio Anne (“Annie”) Flores and the final against Sookhai.


The other three divisions (Mixed Masters, Men’s and Women’s Leisure) were all $1,200-added events that drew 32 entrants each. Brent Traynor went undefeated through the field to capture the event title in the Mixed Masters event, although his efforts were almost derailed by two opponents who challenged him in three double hill matches. Traynor downed Gary O’Callaghan twice; once, in a winners’ side semifinal and again in the finals. In comparison, Traynor breezed into the hot seat with a shutout win over Rob Pole in the winners’ side final.


Corey Avallone faced only one double hill challenge in his undefeated, five-match march to the Men’s Leisure title. Mark Ogawa, who would end up in the tie for fifth place, battled Avallone to double hill in the winners’ side semifinal, from which Avallone would advance to face Jerry Vasquez twice; first, in the hot seat match and then, in the finals. Avallone won them both 5-3.


[photo id=48011|align=right]Suzzie Wong, who entered the Women’s Leisure event as the #1-ranked female player on the Tri-State Tour and a week earlier had become the first D-ranked player to battle in a Predator Pro Am Tour hot seat match, went undefeated to capture the ladies title. She entered the tournament as that tour’s #3-ranked women’s player. Like Alberto Estevez in the Mixed Advanced division, Wong’s trip to the winners’ circle was almost derailed by an opponent – Michele Brotons - who’d lost her opening match and won every loss-side match (six of them, including three shutouts and one double hill challenge) to meet Wong in the finals. Wong’s five-match trek to the trophy featured one double hill match, against Irene Kim and separate opponents in the hot seat and finals. She downed Michele Ko 5-1 to move into the hot seat and finished Brotons’ six-match, loss-side run in the finals 7-5.


Event(s) director Tony Robles and his Silent Assassin Productions’ staff thanked event sponsor Michael Fedak for his continuing support of this event, as well as Steinway Billiards’ owner, Manny Stamatakis, and his staff for their hospitality. The event was also sponsored by the NAPL, Blatt Billiards, and