Strassberg goes undefeated to win his first Tri-State

Ron Gabia, Mike Strassberg and Miguel Laboy
Mike Strassberg has gotten close a couple of times, but until Saturday, May 16, he had yet to chalk up an event title on the Tri-State Tour. On April 26, at Brooklyn's BQE Billiards, Strassberg was runner-up to Chumreon Sutcharitakul who claimed his first Tri-State title that day. They had opted out of a final match, awarding Sutcharitakul, undefeated in the hot seat, the event title. Strassberg picked up his first Tri-State title in the same way; sitting in the hot seat, and opting out of a final match versus Miguel Laboy. The $1,000-added event drew 38 entrants to Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY.
Strassberg's path to the hot seat went through Pat Mareno, Ramon Feliciano, and Raul Calderone before facing Ambi Estevez (also looking for his first win on the Tri-State) in a winners' side semifinal. Ron Gabia and Dave Shlemperis (both with Tri-State wins in their past) squared off in the other. Strassberg sent Estevez to the loss side 6-3, as Gabia was sending Shlemperis over 7-3. Strassberg claimed the hot seat and, in effect, the event title with a 9-7 win over  Gabia.
Over on the loss side, Shlemperis had the misfortune of running into Miguel LaBoy, who, following an opening-round loss to Kapriel Delimelkonoglu, was embarked on a 10-match, loss-side winning streak that would take him to the finals. He survived a double hill match against Basdeo Sookhai, and defeated Keith Diaz 8-5 to pick up Shlemperis. Estevez picked up Raul Calderon, who'd gotten by Chris DeCaprio 6-2 and Terrence Bryant 6-4. 
LaBoy and Calderon advanced; LaBoy defeating Shlemperis 7-2 and Calderon eliminating Estevez 6-5. LaBoy then downed Calderon 10-8 in the quarterfinals and completed his loss-side run with a 7-3 win over Gabia in the semifinals. Strassberg and LaBoy opted out of the final match, and Strassberg, in the hot seat, claimed his first Tri-State title.
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Steinway Billiards, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui Tips, Ron Vitello, Focus Cases by John Barton, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, Human Kinetics, and Focus Apparel. After the Tri-State does its part (along with the Predator and Mezz Tours) in running the 5th Annual George "Ginky" Sansouci Memorial on Memorial Day weekend (May 22-25), the next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for May 30, will be hosted by Rockaway Billiards in Rockaway, NJ.