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Lang goes undefeated on Garden State Pool Tour to claim her second gender-mixed event

Rachel Lang and Alfredo Altamirano

She won a ladies’ event on the Garden State Pool Tour last July, in which she rebounded from an opening-round loss and went on to claim the title. Rachel Lang, runner-up in the APA’s US Amateur tournament in 2022, won her first (recorded) mixed-gender event six years ago on the Tri-State Tour (now, the Predator Tri-State Tour), and last weekend (Jan. 28-29), she chalked up her second ‘playin’ with the boys, too’ title, going undefeated through a field of 67 entrants that signed on to the $300-added event, hosted by Rockaway Billiards in Rockaway, NJ.

Split into separate, upper/lower Fargo Rate brackets, Rachel went at things from the upper bracket with her Fargo Rate of 560. She got by some of the ‘big boys,’ too, on her way to the title, downing Sean Emmitt (526), Jaydev Zaveri (607), Dinko Busanich (double hill; 637) and Julien Tierney (599) to arrive at her winners’ side semifinal match against Hunter Sullivan (600). In the meantime, Paul Madonia, Sr., having gotten by Donald Henriquez, Edwin Balcarcel, Kevin Serodio and Lysander Diaz, faced Aaron Wagner in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Lang defeated Sullivan 5-3, as Madonia sent Wagner to the loss side, double hill. And then, something very strange happened. Having won their winners’ side semifinal, Lang and Wagner did not move into the hot seat match. Instead, in order to advance to the finals, they had to play someone from their individual bracket’s loss side. But this didn’t happen right away. They had to wait until the first loss-side matches played by Sullivan and Wagner were completed, at which point, Lang would face whoever won Sullivan’s match and Madonia would meet up with the winner of Wagner’s match.

Sullivan and Wagner moved to the loss side and were met by Sylvain Anichini and Alfredo Altamirano, respectively. Anichini had defeated Dinko Busanich, double hill and Jaydev Zaveri 5-1 to draw Sullivan, while Altamirano was busy eliminating Kevin Serodio 5-3 and Paul Murphy 5-2 to pick up Wagner.

Two double hill matches ensued in pursuit of advancement in what amounted to a separated bracket for the event’s final four. Altamirano downed Wagner 6-3 (Wagner racing to 4), as, in a straight up race to 5, Anichini eliminated Sullivan 5-4.

Back come Lang and Madonia, still on the winner’s side, and in essence, skipping a hot seat match. Lang faced Anichini, as Madonia took on Altamirano. And just when you thought it was heading into normal bracket-advancement territory, those two matches were double sets, requiring the loss-side competitors to win twice. Lang lost the opening set to Anichini 6-4, but came back in the second set to defeat him 5-1, in what proved to be the de facto hot seat match, leaving Lang in the undefeated hot seat. 

Altamirano had to and did defeat Madonia twice, double hill in the first set 6-5 and 5-1 in the second set, advancing to the single set final against Lang. So, the two finalists were set before the final loss-side match between Madonia and Manichini was played to determine 3rd and 4th place.

Madonia grabbed 3rd place with a 5-4 win over Manichini (Manichini racing to 6). Lang claimed the event title with an 8-6 win in the single set final.

Tour director David Fitzpatrick thanked the ownership and staff at Rockaway Billiards for their hospitality, as well as Billiards Engineering, InTheBox, JFLowers Cues & Cases, John Bender Custom Cues, Off the Rail Apparel, Kamui and Jennifer Pedtum for her assistance in running the event. The next stop on the Garden State Pool Tour, scheduled for this weekend (Feb. 4-5), will be hosted by Breaker Billiards in Clifton, NJ.

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Lamberti comes back from semifinals to down Goberdhan in finals of Predator Tri-State Tour

Marc Lamberti and Jason Goberdhan, having returned recently from an all-too-familiar absence from the tables, signaled their return on the Predator Tri-State Tour with victories just over a month apart. A week before Christmas, Goberdhan chalked up his first tour win in two years at Steinway Billiards. On Saturday, Jan. 22, Lamberti followed suit, chalking up his first tour win in two years, with Goberdhan right on his heels. Goberdhan won the first of two against him, battling for the hot seat, but Lamberti returned from the semifinals to defeat him in the finals. The $500-added event drew 23 entrants to Clifton Billiards in Clifton, NJ.

Goberdhan had survived a double hill, winners’ side quarterfinal match against Bryan Jeziorski to pick up Ray Marisette in one of the two winners’ side semifinals. Lamberti, in the meantime, drew Tom Crane in the other one. Goberdhan and Lamberti advanced to the hot seat match; Goberdhan 6-3 over Marisette, Lamberti 7-5 over Crane. Goberdhan edged out in front at the end of their first match to claim the hot seat 6-4.

Marisette next ran into Jeziorski, who’d followed his defeat at the hands of Goberdhan with loss-side victories over Jay Chiu 8-6 and Alfredo Altamirano, double hill. Crane drew Linda Cheung, who’d recently eliminated KC Clayton, double hill, and Mac Jankov 7-2.

Jeziorski downed Marisette 8-6 and in the quarterfinals, faced Cheung, who added another double hill win to her event tally with the elimination of Crane. Cheung and Jeziorski embarked on an epic, 18-game quarterfinal battle that Cheung eventually won 10-8 to face Lamberti in the semifinals.

Lamberti gave up just one rack to Cheung in those semifinals to win it 6-1 and then brought that momentum with him to the finals. He gave up only two racks to Goberdhan to claim the event title.

Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Clifton Billiards for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor Predator Cues, Ozone Billiards, Sterling Billiards, Kamui, Quic Stick, Bloodworth Ball Cleaner, Joe Romer Trophies, Phil Capelle Publications and Pool and Billiards. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, which was scheduled to begin today (Sat. Jan. 29) at Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY has been postponed due to weather.

Hernandez and Ok win Open-Pro, Amateur events on Predator Pro Am Tour

(l to r): Omar Soto, Eugene Ok, Ryan Boursse & Mac Jankov

Eugene Ok and Frankie Hernandez both went undefeated to claim respective Amateur and Open/Pro titles in the July 13-14 stop on the Predator Pro Am Tour. Ok worked his way through a field of 83 entrants on-hand for the $1,000-added Amateur event, hosted by Amsterdam Billiards in Manhattan. Hernandez, the tour’s current #1-ranked Open/Pro competitor, went undefeated through the Open/Pro field of 21 entrants in the $500-added event.
In the ‘almost’ department with two losses, the second of which occurred in the event final, were Ryan Boursse in the Amateur event and Tour Director Tony Robles in the Open/Pro, who won five on the loss side to get into the final match. Robles couldn’t remember the last time he’d been in an event final, which, according to our records, had been last September, when he downed Max Watanabe twice. Prior to that, it had been five years (2014) since he won two events and was runner-up in three others on the tour. He won four matches to win the 2018 event at Cue Bar in Bayside, Queens. It took nine matches to be the runner-up this past weekend.
Jimmy Rivera sent Robles to the loss side in a winners’ side quarterfinal that went double hill before Robles gave him ball-in-hand to close out the 13th rack (7-6). Rivera advanced to meet eventual winner Frankie Hernandez, while Duc Lam and Sean Morgan met in the other winners’ side semifinal.
Lam downed Morgan, double hill, and in the hot seat match, faced Hernandez, who’d sent Rivera to the loss side 7-3. Hernandez claimed the hot seat 7-2 over Lam and waited for The Silent Assassin to come back from his five-match, loss-side trip.
Robles would play five matches on the loss side and the one match in the final. Three of those six matches went double hill, including the only one he lost, in the final. He opened his loss-side trip with his first double hill win, over Dominic Gauthier. He then eliminated John Messina 7-2 to draw Morgan, coming over from the winners’ side semifinal. Rivera drew Jonathan Smith, who’d recently eliminated Raphael Dabreo and Pat Fleming, both 7-5.
Robles downed Morgan 7-2. Smith spoiled the potential Robles/Rivera rematch by downing Rivera 7-5 to join Robles in the quarterfinals.
Robles won the next two matches, double hill, to meet Hernandez in the finals. He downed Smith in the quarterfinals and then, Lam in the semifinals, both 7-6. He ended up on the wrong side of his third straight double hill match and had to settle for runner-up, as Hernandez completed his undefeated run to claim the event title.
Ok moves up the tour’s B+ ladder with undefeated victory in the Amateur event
Eugene Ok’s trip through the 83-entrant Amateur field ended in his second victory on the Predator Pro Am Tour, his first since May of 2017, a year in which he finished among the top five in five events on the Predator and Tri-State Tours.
Ok had to get by Ryan Boursse twice in this event and the first, was in a winners’ side semifinal match. Mac Jankov, in the meantime, squared off against Alfredo Altamirano in the other one. Ok got into the hot seat match, downing Boursse 7-5 and was joined by Jankov, who’d sent Altamirano over 7-4.  Ok claimed the hot seat 8-6 over Jankov and waited for Boursse to get back from the loss side.
In his opening loss-side match, Boursse drew Pascal Dufresne, who’d defeated Luis Jimenez and Brooke Meyer, both 7-5, to reach him. Altamirano picked up Omar Soto, who’d gotten by Ada Lio 7-2 and Ryan Dayrit 7-5.
Boursse and Soto advanced to the quarterfinals; Boursse 7-5 over Dufresne and Soto 7-3 over Altamirano. Boursse then eliminated Soto 7-4 in the quarterfinals and Mac Jankov 9-5 in the semifinals. Boursse was able to chalk up one more rack in the finals than he had in the winners’ side semifinal, forcing a 13th and deciding game in the final against Ok. Ok, though, closed it out to claim the Amateur event title.
A single elimination Second Chance event drew 15 entrants. Ambi Estevez claimed that title, with Jorge Collado as runner-up. Ray Lee and Luis Jimenez tied for third place.
Tour director Tony Robles thanked the ownership and staff at Amsterdam Billiards, as well as title sponsor Predator Cues, Ozone Billiards,, The DeVito Team,, Cappelle (, AZBilliards, Pool & Billiards Magazine and Billiards Digest.
On the weekend of August 3-4, Robles’ Silent Assassin Productions will present a non-tour event at Steinway Billiards – The 4th Annual NYC 8-Ball Scotch Doubles Championships. The following weekend, August 10-11, Steinway Billiards will host the next Predator Pro Am Tour stop; a $1,000-added, double points event. 

Joseph goes undefeated to claim his first Tri-State title

Mark Joseph and Clint Pires

When Mark Joseph and Clint Pires met in the hot seat match and finals of the November 25 stop on the Tri-State Tour, it guaranteed them their second appearance in the AZ database; Pires had finished 4th on a Tri-State stop in August at Clifton Billiards, Joseph finished 5th a month later at Shooter’s Billiards in Wayne, NJ. Joseph won both matches to claim his first regional tour title. The $1,000-added event drew 25 entrants to Clifton Billiards in Clifton, NJ.
Following and opening round bye and victories over Richard Brother and Allison LaFleur, Joseph moved into a winners’ side semifinal against Teddy Lapadula. Pires, in the meantime, got by Mike Strassberg, Artur Trzeciak and Gil McGrath to face Alfredo Altamirano in the other winners’ side semifinal.
Both matches went double hill, sending Joseph and Pires into the hot seat match, while Lapadula and Altamirano moved to the loss side. They had both secured their highest finish on the tour, but neither of them was finished. Joseph gave up only a single rack to Pires in their hot seat matchup (5-1) and waited on his return.
On the loss side, Kevin Serodio, who’d lost his opening round to Jowen Pichardo, was in the midst of a six-match, loss-side winning streak that came within a game of derailing Pires’ bid for a rematch against Joseph. Victories over Luis Lopez and Shane Soto were followed by a 5-2 win over Bob Toomey, and a 5-1 victory over Greg Partlow, which set Serodio up to meet Lapadula. Altamirano, in the meantime, drew Carlos Serrano, who’d gotten by Gil McGrath 5-3 and Michelle Brotons 5-1 to reach him.
Identical 5-1 scores sent Altamirano (over Serrano) and Serodio (over Lapadula) to the quarterfinals, where Serodio chalked up loss-side win #5 over Altimarano 5-3.
Pires was already in a position to record his best finish on the tour when he arrived from the hot seat match to face Serodio in the semifinals. He secured a minimum runner-up finish with a double hill win that ended Serodio’s loss-side winning streak.
In some ways, for both Joseph and Pires, it didn’t matter who won the final match. Both were assured of their best finish, to date, on the tour. But in other ways, it mattered a lot, because they battle to double hill to decide it. In the extended race-to-7 final, if Pires reached five first, the match would extend to seven games. Pires forced that extension and was able to chalk up another rack to reach the hill, but Joseph hung on to win it and claim the event title.
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Clifton Billiards, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui Tips, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, Human Kinetics, Pool & Billiards, Professor Q Ball, Bender Cues, and DIGICUE OB. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for December 2, will be hosted by Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY.