Shaun Wilkie Grinds Back to Win the Predator 9-ball Tour’s Finale

Frankie Hernandez, Raxx Pool Room Owner Holden Chin & Shaun Wilkie

The Predator 9-Ball Tour's 2009 season has come to a close. The Pro/Am Tour's finale event drew a total of 92 of the Northeast's strongest players along with World Class Professional Jose Parica, legendary hustler Danny Basavich, and Trick Shot World Champion Andy "Magic Man" Segal. Pool player and room owner Holden Chin rolled out the red carpet for the players, and mentioned that he was impressed by the turnout.   

Other big names such as Mark Vidal, Jose Parica, Mike Fingers, Frankie Hernandez, Al Lapena, Many Chau, Zion Zvi, Shaun Wilkie, Danny Basavich, Eddie Abraham, Scott Tollefson, "Ginky" George SanSouci, and Long Island's Joey Korsiak all came out for the Predator Tour Finale.  

Before the event began, tour founder Tony Robles held a Player of the Year award ceremony, and gave out awards to the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place finishers of each respective division.  

Player of the Year Awards went to…

Tony Robles - Pro Division

Oscar Bonilla - Open Division

Lionel Rivera - A Division

William Finnegan - B Division

Rene Villalobos - C Division

Gail Glazebrook - Ladies Division  

Players would also be treated to a surprise trick shot exhibition performed by World Trick Shot Champion, NY based professional pool player Andy Segal. "The Magic Man" as he is known in the Trick Shot world put on an amazing show to the delight of the knowledgeable NY area crowd who gave love for his amazing performance.  

The tournament drew many emerging and veteran grinders, who came out to try to make a statement by capturing the coveted Predator Tour Finale title. Scott Tollefson and Al Lapena were in dead stroke and both had strong wins over several big names in the event. Both players deserve special mention for leaving it all on the table, earning them a 4th and 5th place finish.  

Veteran player Frankie Hernandez made a strong comeback to the pool scene with an impressive tournament.  Frankie went through the winner's bracket en route to the finals, defeating Sean Keaton (8-6), Rick Sleeper (8-2), Jeff Smolen (8-7), Oscar Bonilla (8-4), Al Lapena (8-7), Mike Miller (9-5), and lastly George SanSouci (9-7).  

Shaun Wilkie's road to the finals started out with a "Hill-Hill" battle against longtime friend and road partner Matt Krah, resulting with Shaun as the last man standing. "Get Some" then followed up with consecutive wins over Bill Dang (8-3), trick shot champion Andy Segal (8-4), Scott Tollefson (8-6), before losing to legendary NY player George "Ginky" Sansouci (9-4).  

Bouncing back from the one loss-side, Shaun topped Filipino grinder Al Lapena (9-6), repeated over Scott Tollefson (9-4), then avenged his earlier loss to Ginky with a strong 9-4 win.  

This impressive win over Ginky matched up Shaun against another legendary NY player, Frankie Hernandez who was having strong tournament, going through the winner's bracket to land in the hot seat.  Frankie is known for his powerful break, quick tempo and aggressive playing style.  

However, on this evening, Shaun's single-minded determination seemed to radiate from his presence at the table, like a predator that smells blood. Through a display of entertaining shot making and smart, chess-like moves around the table, Shaun was able to grab the lead and momentum early and never look back to win 10-3.  

This win is a feather in his cap for an impressive year for this emerging phenom from Havre De Grace, Maryland. It has been enjoyable to watch Shaun evolve into one of the most dominant and determined players in the Northeast pool scene today, putting him on the path to become one of the strongest players in the U.S.  

Shaun Wilkie has a number of notable accomplishments, including claiming runner up at 2008 UPA Pro Players Championships as well as the 2009 NCS National 10-Ball Championships, and has won numerous pro/am tour events in the Northeast. There is no question that the seasoning has helped give Shaun the experience he needed to tighten up his uncanny natural talent for the sport. It is apparent by watching Shaun play, you can see that he is a consummate professional in his approach, both on and off the table.  

"I would like to thank Cue & Case Sales and Lucasi Hybrid for everything that they are doing for me," said Shaun Wilkie. "Their equipment is working to perfection. Also, I want to let Wild Eyes Creations know that my " Eagle Eye " cue holder product is defiantly being put to good use. I am looking forward to a long and bright future with my sponsors. Thanks to the Lord above I am happy to say, I am gratefully blessed to have such wonderful surroundings."

Tony Robles and his staff would like to thank Predator Cues, Poison Cues, Delta-13 Racks,, Blatt Billiards, The Seminole Tribe of Florida, The Seminole Pro Tour,,, Billiards Press, RJH Custom Cues, Mike Webb Custom Cues, Tiger Products, Mezz Cues, Mastering-Pool DVD Series, Master Chalk, Digital Ink the official print company of the tour,,,,,, and his other sponsors along with Holden Chin owner of Raxx Billiards for their support.  

The Sunday B/C/D Tournament helped fill the pool room with competitive spirit along with an engaged audience. Turkish women's professional Neslihan "Ness" Gurel, was impressive in earning three strong wins before running into a brick wall against Raj Vannala.  

Raj Vannala came back from a 5-3 deficit to defeat Ness 6-5 before following it up with another strong come-from-behind win over Naldo Troncoso (7-6) in the finals. Naldo was running through the finals with 4 consecutive wins and had Raj down 4-0 before Raj started to grind back. Raj was impressive in a breakthrough performance of grit and heart in capturing the final B/C/D Predator event of the year.  

For the 2010 Predator Tour season, there will be some exciting format changes.  There will now be two separate events for pros and amateurs, and each tour stop weekend will feature a pro/open 10-ball event alongside an amateur 9-ball event.  The schedule for the 2010 season is now up, and you can check it out at