Rodriguez goes undefeated through short field at 7th Annual Empire State Championships

It was an unusually short field that competed this year in the 7th Annual Empire State 10-Ball Championships, held under the auspices of Tony Robles' Predator Tour. Run in conjunction with an Amateur 9-Ball event (separate story), the Open/Pro field has not been extensive over the past couple of years, drawing 25 in both 2013 and 2014. The 2015 field of 16, though, was affected by, among other things, the US Bar Box Championships out in Vegas, which drew the 2013 Empire State Champion and 2014 participant, Jayson Shaw, as well as other potential competitors like Jeremy Sossei and Sean "Alaska" Morgan.
This year's $1,000-added event, hosted again by Raxx Billiards in West Hempstead, NY, was won by Jorge Rodriguez, who went undefeated through the short field. After defeating tour and event director Tony Robles in a double hill, winners' side semifinal, Rodriguez met up with Mhet Vergara, who'd just defeated Koka Davladze 7-5. Rodriguez took command of the hot seat 7-2 over Vergara and waited on what turned out to be the return of Raphael Dabreo.
On the loss side, there was a rather furious effort to advance, as three out of the four matches that determined the four-way tie for ninth place went double hill. Ultimately advancing were Chris Derewonski (in the only non-double hill match, 7-5) over Victor Nau, DaBreo over youngster Thomas Rice, Nigel Francis over Holden Chin (owner of Raxx) and Joey Korsiak over Laszlo Kovacs.
DaBreo subsequently defeated Derewonski 7-3 to hook up with Davladze. Francis eliminated Korsiak and picked up Robles. DaBreo kept his loss-side streak going with a 7-5 win over Davladze, while Robles defeated Francis 7-1. 
DaBreo then played what Robles described as "the set of his life against (him)" in the quarterfinals. DaBreo defeated Robles 7-2 and advanced to a semifinal match against Vergara. A 7-5 victory there, gave DaBreo a shot against Rodriguez. Rodriguez, however, was not to be denied, as he went on to defeat Dabreo 9-7 and claim the Empire State Championship title.