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Watanabe goes undefeated, downs Martinez twice to claim Tri-State Tour title

Max Watanabe & Bianca Martinez

The headline story is about the Tri-State’s top-rated, #1 A player, Max Watanabe, doing battle twice with one of the tour’s top-rated females, Bianca Martinez, who’s currently at #3 in the women’s point standings and #4 in the tour’s overall C standings. The top three in both cases (women and C players) would have been the same (Allison LaFleur, Michelle Brotons and Martinez), had Juan Melendez not slipped into second place among the C players. Watanabe and Martinez battled twice during the $1,000-added, 10-ball event that drew 38 entrants to Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY on Sunday, Feb. 16. Watanabe won both encounters to claim the event title, but not before Martinez battled him twice to the necessity of a single, deciding game.

Watanabe’s trip to the winners’ circle went through Pascal Dufresne, Russell Masciotti and Steve Kalloo to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal against Julian Tierney. Martinez, in the meantime, sent Andre Holder, Naoko Saiki, and Juan Melendez to the loss side before coming up against Jason Goberdhan in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Watanabe downed Tierney 6-4. Martinez joined him in the hot seat match after surviving a double hill fight versus Goberdhan. In their first of two, they fought to double hill before Watanabe prevailed to claim the hot seat.

On the loss side, Tierney picked up Kevin Shin, who’d recently defeated Steve Kalloo, double hill and Sherwin Robinson 6-2. Goberdhan drew Qian Chen, who’d eliminated the aforementioned C player, Juan Melendez 5-1 and survived a double hill fight against Shweta Zaveri (#4 among the tour’s ladies) to reach him.

Tierney shut Kevin Shin out and was met in the quarterfinals by Chen, who’d survived Shweta Zaveri’s second straight double hill match. Tierney won the quarterfinal match 6-4 before having his short loss-side trip ended by Martinez 7-4 in the semifinals.

Second verse, same as the first, as they say. Watanabe and Martinez fought to a second, double hill deciding game. Watanabe prevailed a second time to claim the event title.

Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Cue Bar for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui Tips, Phil Capelle, Pool & Billiards, Professor Q Ball, Bender Cues, Paul Dayton Cues, Bludworth Ball Cleaner, Joe Romer Trophies and Quick Slick. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 23, will be hosted by Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY.

Tri-State Tour stages ‘Battles of the high ‘Cs’ as Goberdhan goes undefeated to win them all

(l to r): Jason Goberdhan & Bob Toomey

The Tri-State Tour stop on Sunday, November 24 was restricted to C and D players on the tour and 22 of them showed up to compete; 18, split evenly between C players (including four of the tour’s top five women) and C+ players, to go along with three D+ players and a single D. Six of the tour’s top seven C+ players competed (missing was #6, Mac Jankov), and three of them ended up in the two winners’ side semifinals. Jason Goberdhan, #7 on that list of the tour’s top C+ players went undefeated through the field, downing the #2 C+ player, Bob Toomey twice; hot seat and finals. The $1,000-added event was hosted by Clifton Billiards in Clifton, NJ.
 
The battle between the #1 and #2 C+ players – Mike Strassberg and Bob Toomey – took place in the second round and yielded a somewhat predictable double hill fight, won by Toomey. He advanced to send Tom McManamon (C) to the loss side 6-4 and draw Brian Schell (#6 C) in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Goberdhan, in the meantime, after an opening round bye, sent Bianca Martinez (#4 C) and Teddy Lapadula (#4 C+) to the loss side and picked up Adrian Daniel (#3 C+) in the other winners’ side semifinal.
 
Goberdhan and Toomey advanced to the hot seat match with identical 6-4 victories over Daniel and Schell, respectively. Goberdhan then sent Toomey to the semifinals 6-2 and waited in the hot seat for his return.
 
Over on the loss side, Schell and Daniel picked up C+ Players Rick Rodriguez (#5) and Dax Druminski (#15). Rodriguez, sent to the loss side by Daniel in a winners’ side quarterfinal, had subsequently eliminated C+ player #1, Strassberg, double hill and shut out C+ player #4, Lapadula, to get Schell. Druminski had eliminated Michelle Brotons (the tour’s #1 female and #1 C player) 7-4 and Marc Antonetti 6-4 to draw Daniel.
 
Druminski and Rodriguez handed Daniel and Schell their second straight loss and advanced to the quarterfinals; Druminski 6-3 over Daniel and Rodriguez, double hill over Schell. Rodriguez then defeated Druminski 6-3 in those quarterfinals.
 
Toomey put a stop to Rodriguez’ ambitions for further advancement with a shutout over him in the semifinals. In the end, the tour’s #7 C+ player (Goberdhan) downed the tour’s #2 C+ player (Toomey) 6-4. Goberdhan went home undefeated with the event title.
 
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Clifton Billiards for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui, Phil Capelle, Bloodworth Ball Cleaner, Billiard Engineering, Pool & Billiards, Professor Q Ball, Bender Cues, and Pool & Billiards. The next Tri-State event, scheduled for Sunday, December 1, will be hosted by Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY.

Guzman wins five on the loss side to take Tri-State stop at Steinway

(l to r): Juan Guzman & Omar Hulse

Three years ago, Juan Guzman, who competes these days as an A+/A player, had what was, according to our records, his best earnings year to date. He won two events each on the Predator Pro Am and Tri-State Tours that year (2016) and was runner-up in the Ginky Memorial that’s run by both tours. He had a couple of slim years after that, but he appears to be returning to form. He’s unlikely to match his 2016 earnings before this year ends, but he has already this year, won a stop on the Predator Pro Am and on Sunday, November 10, he won his second stop on the 2019-2020 Tri-State Tour. He won five on the loss side and in the finals, downed hot seat occupant Omar Hulse to claim the event title. The $1,000-added event drew 48 entrants to Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY.
 
Alberto Estevez sent Guzman to the loss side 7-4 in a winners’ side quarterfinal and advanced to a winners’ side semifinal against the tour’s #1 A/A+ player, Max Watanabe. Hulse, in the meantime, squared off against Raul Calderon in the other winners’ side semifinal.
 
Watanabe sent Estevez over to what proved to be an immediate rematch against Guzman, while Hulse was busy surviving a double hill match versus Calderon. Hulse, a C+ player, downed Watanabe 8-6 and waited in the hot seat for Guzman to finish his loss-side run.
 
Guzman launched his loss-side run with a 7-5 victory over Shawn Basdeo Sookhai, and followed it with a 7-5 win over Jose Estevez, to draw a rematch against Alberto Estevez. Calderon picked up Bianca Martinez, who’s the tour’s #2 female and #2 C player (behind Michelle Brotons, who’s the tour’s #1 female and #1 C player). Bianca Martinez had defeated Luis Lopez 6-2 and Jonathan Martinez to pick up Calderon.
 
Guzman didn’t get to play the rematch against Estevez. Instead, he leapfrogged right into the quarterfinals, when Estevez forfeited. He was joined by Bianca Martinez, who’d ended Calderon’s day 6-4.
 
Guzman, in turn, ended Bianca’s day 10-5 in those quarterfinals, and then, from his position as the tour’s #7 A+/A player met up with the tour’s #1 A+/A player, Watanabe in the semifinals. Guzman sent Watanabe to the showers (so to speak) 7-4 and advanced to the finals against Hulse.
 
Coming from the loss side, Guzman had to reach 9 ahead of Hulse in the finals for the opportunity to extend the match to 11 games. Otherwise, it would end if Hulse reached 9 games first. They battled back and forth to an 8-8 tie before Guzman won his 9th to extend the race. He never looked back and finished things at 11-8 to earn his second win on the Tri-State’s 2019-2020 tour.
 
Tour representatives thanked Manny Stamatakis and his Steinway Billiards staff for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui, Phil Capelle, Bloodworth Ball Cleaner, Billiard Engineering, Pool & Billiards, Professor Q Ball, Bender Cues, and Pool & Billiards. The next Tri-State event, scheduled for Sunday, November 17, will be hosted by Shooter’s Family Billiards in Wayne, NJ.

Daniele and Lapadula split top prizes on the Tri-State Tour

(l to r): Teddy Lapadula & Marco Daniele

Marco Daniele’s first win anywhere, and on the Tri-State Tour specifically, comes with a common asterisk, awarded when an individual claims an event title without benefit of a final match, opting, instead, to split the top two (sometimes, three) prizes with his/her opponent in the finals. It’s been Daniele’s first year in the AZ database and he’s cashed in three separate events. He finished 9th on a Tri-State stop back in June, 17th a month later on the Predator Pro Am Tour and just last month, finished 3rd in the NYC 8-Ball Championships (Mixed Open division). He capped that with an official win, earned by going undefeated to the hot seat and, with Teddy Lapadula, opting out of a final match. The $1,000-added, 10-ball event drew 25 entrants to Clifton Billiards in Clifton, NJ.
 
Daniele’s path to the winners’ circle went through Bianca Martinez, Sung Lee and Anthony Nasta to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal match against the opponent with whom he would ultimately split the top two cash prizes, Teddy Lapadula. Shivam Gupta, in the meantime, after an opening round bye, downed Tri Chau and Luis Jimenez to draw Paul Madonia in the other winners’ side semifinal.
 
Daniele defeated Lapadula 5-3 and in the hot seat match, faced Gupta, who’d sent Madonia to the loss side 6-4. What proved to be Daniele’s last match of the day was a double hill battle for the hot seat, which he eventually won 8-7.
 
On the loss side, Lapadula opened his loss-side campaign against Brian Schell, who’d defeated Mike Strassberg 5-2 and Anthony Nasta 5-1 to reach him. Madonia drew Dave Shlemperis, who’d eliminated Steve Kalloo, double hill (6-5) and John Francisco 6-4.
 
Madonia advanced to the quarterfinals with a 6-2 win over Shlemperis and was joined by Lapadula, who’d defeated Schell 5-2. Lapadula then downed Madonia 6-3 and advanced to his last match, facing Gupta in the semifinals.
 
Lapadula finished the night with a 7-5 victory over Gupta, before entering the negotiations with Daniele that would lead to the split of the top two cash prizes. As the undefeated occupant of the hot seat, Daniele claimed his first event title.
 
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Clifton Billiards, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui, Phil Capelle, Bloodworth Ball Cleaner, Billiard Engineering, Pool & Billiards, Professor Q Ball, Bender Cues and Pool & Billiards. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for Sunday, November 10, will be hosted by Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY.

Ok goes undefeated, downing Martinez twice to capture Tri-State title

Eugene Ok and Bianca Martinez

It could have gone either way. And happened to any one of them.
 
It just so happened that on Sunday, October 27, it was Bianca Martinez facing off against a male competitor (in her case, Eugene Ok) at a stop on the Tri-State Tour. Martinez competes as a C player on the Tri-State Tour. She is fourth in tour standings among females, behind Michelle Brotons, Amanda Andries and Allison LaFleur and just ahead of Suzzie Wong. On the Predator Pro Am Tour, she plays as a D+ and is fifth among the tour’s female competitors, behind Wong, Andries, Kanami Chau, and Monika Callaghan. She is just ahead of Annie Flores
 
It’s becoming a common occurrence; women competing against their male counterparts at the tables and if not, at this juncture, always favored to win, at least in the conversation at the end of increasing numbers of regional tours; not all of them with just female competition.
 
Eugene Ok, who plays as a B+ player on both the Tri-State and Predator Pro Am Tour; good for 7th place among B+ players on the Tri-State and 4th among the B+ players on the Predator Pro Am Tour, went undefeated at the $1,000-added, 10-Ball Tri-State event that drew 27 entrants to Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY. But he had to get by Martinez twice to do it; both times in a match that came within a game of going double hill.
 
They both advanced to a winners’ side semifinal; Ok, facing off against Tommy Schreiber and  Martinez doing battle with one of the aforementioned women ahead of her in the standings of both tours, Amanda Andries; second on both tours and like Martinez, a C on the Tri-State and a D+ on the Predator Pro Am.
 
Ok advanced to the hot seat match with a 6-3 win over Schreiber, as Martinez was busy sending Andries west 5-2. In their first of two, Ok claimed the hot seat 7-5 and waited for Martinez to get back from the semifinals.
 
On the loss side, Schreiber picked up Dave Shlemperis, who’d been defeated by Ok in a winners’ side quarterfinal match and then, defeated Kevins Scalzitti and Shin, both 6-4. Andries drew Jason Goberdhan, who’d eliminated the Tri-State Tour’s top female, Michelle Brotons 5-1 and Jim Gutierrez 5-2.
 
Both matches for advancement to the quarterfinals went double hill. Shlemperis eliminated Schreiber and Goberdhan defeated Andries. Goberdhan then defeated Shlemperis 6-2 in those quarterfinals.
 
In a semifinal match described by a tour representative as “one of those sets where he couldn’t do anything right and she couldn’t do anything wrong,” Martinez shut Goberdhan out 5-0 to earn a second shot against Ok in the hot seat.
 
They duplicated their hot seat match performance. Ok chalked up the game, set and match 7-5 to claim the event title.
 
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Cue Bar for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui, Phil Capelle, Bloodworth Ball Cleaner, Billiard Engineering, Pool & Billiards, Professor Q Ball, Bender Cues and Pool & Billiards. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for Sunday, November 3, will be hosted by Clifton Billiards in Clifton, NJ. 
 

Laboy goes undefeated to chalk up his first 2019 win on the Predator Pro Am Tour

(l to r): Bianca Martinez, Julien Tierney, Miguel Laboy, Amanda Andries (photo by Erwin Dionisio)

Miguel Laboy brought about 14 years of competitive pool experience and a lot of regional tour victories to the September 14-15 stop on the Predator Pro Am Tour. Before he earned the event title, however, he had to get by two particular competitors with a total of about three years of experience, both of them looking for their first regional tour event victory. Laboy would end up going undefeated at the $1,000-added event that drew 68 entrants to Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY, but not before he’d dispatched one of the relative newcomers (Julien Tierney) twice (winners’ side semifinals and finals) and the other to the loss side (Bianca Martinez) in the battle for the hot seat.
 
As Laboy was busy sending Tierney to the loss side 8-5 in one of the winners’ side semifinals, Martinez was locked up in a double hill fight with Erick Carrasco that she eventually won. Martinez began the hot seat match against Laboy with ‘six beads on the wire’ in a race to 11. She’d fail to add another bead to that wire, as Laboy claimed the hot seat (officially) 11-6.
 
On the loss side, another relative newcomer was making some competitive noise. Amanda Andries had lost her opening match to Marisol Palacio and set out on a nine-match, loss-side winning streak that would take her as far as the quarterfinals where she’d run into Tierney. She chalked up wins #7 and #8 against Corey Avallone 6-3 and shut out Brandonne Alli to draw Carrasco. Tierney, in the meantime, picked up Yomaylin “Smiley” Feliz-Forman, who arrived on the heels of two straight double hill wins, over Chris Kelly and Abel Rosario.
 
Andries advanced to the quarterfinals when job obligations forced Carrasco to forfeit. Tierney joined her after downing “Smiley” 7-3. Tierney ended Andries’ loss-side run 8-5 (Andries started with ‘three on the wire’) and then defeatEd Martinez (who also started with ‘three on the wire’) 8-6 for a shot at Laboy, waiting for him in the hot seat.
 
The relative ‘youngsters’ were edged out of the day, with clear indications that they’ll be back and will need to be reckoned with. Laboy completed his undefeated run with an 8-3 victory over Tierney in the finals.
 
A Second Chance event that drew 16 entrants saw Dave Callaghan take home the $160 first-place prize, with Thomas Schreiber as runner-up ($100). Lidio Ramirez and Euryel Castillo each took home $30 in the tie for third.
 
Tour director Tony Robles thanked the ownership and staff at Cue Bar for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor Predator Cues, Ozone Billiards, PlayNAPL.com, The DeVito Team, Poolonthenet.com, Capelle (BilliardsPress.com), AZBilliards, Pool & Billiard Magazine, Billiards Digest and his own Predator Pro Am team, to include his lovely wife, Gail. The next stop on the Predator Pro Am Tour, scheduled for this weekend, Sept. 21-22, will be a $1,000-added event, hosted by Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY.

Kuo goes undefeated, splits top prizes with Lam on Tri-State stop

Tony Kuo & Duc Lam

It was the same matchup that had occurred at the 2017 Empire State Championships on Long Island two years ago. At that tournament two years ago (February), Tony Kuo and Duc Lam met twice – hot seat and finals – to determine the event’s amateur champion. Kuo got into the hot seat, but Lam came back from the semifinals to win it. On Saturday, August 17, at a $1,000-added Tri-State Tour stop that drew 36 entrants to Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY, Kuo and Lam battled it out for the hot seat again and again, Kuo prevailed. This time, though, Lam didn’t get a second chance. Although Lam did win the semifinal match for the right to challenge Kuo in the final, the late hour led to a mutual agreement to split the top two cash prizes. As the undefeated occupant of the hot seat, Kuo claimed the official event title.

Victories over Joe Wilson Torres (double hill), Juan Melendez and Shweta Zaveri set Kuo up for a winners’ side semifinal against Raymond Lee. Lam, in the meantime, squared off against Bianca Martinez. Lam and Martinez locked up in a double hill fight that eventually did send Lam to the hot seat match. Kuo joined him after 7-4 victory over Lee. In what proved to be the decisive match of the tournament, Kuo and Lam fought to double hill, as well, with Kuo prevailing in his last match of the evening.
Martinez arrived on the loss side of the bracket and ran into Dax Druminski, who’d been sent to the loss bracket by Lam in a winners’ side quarterfinal and then, defeated Max Watanabe, double hill and Luis Lopez 6-2. Lee picked up Luis Jimenez, who’d eliminated Shweta Zaveri 8-4 and Rick Rodriguez 7-4 to reach him.
Druminski chalked up his third straight loss-side win 6-1 over Martinez. Jimenez recorded his third straight on the loss side, as well, downing Lee 7-3.
Druminski took the quarterfinal match 7-5 over Jimenez to earn his rematch against Lam in the semifinals. Lam, though, closed out the event proceedings with a 9-4 win over Druminski, before agreeing to the split with Kuo in the hot seat.
Tour representatives thanked Manny Stamatakis and his Steinway Billiards staff for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui Tips, Phil Capelle, Bludworth Ball Cleaner, Quick Slik, Pool & Billiards, Professor Q Ball, Bender Cues, and Paul Dayton Cues. The Tri-State Tour will return to Steinway Billiards this weekend (August 24-25) for a two-day, B/C/D event.

Burrows wins (*) final stop on Tri-State’s 2018/2019 season, splits top two prizes with Joseph

(l to r): Joshua Joseph & Ashley Burrows

Ashley Burrows would go undefeated into the hot seat at the Tri-State Tour’s last event of the 2018/2019 season. Joshua Joseph would win six on the loss side of the bracket and earn the right to meet her in a final match. The two opted out of that final match, leaving Burrows, the undefeated occupant of the hot seat, as the official winner and Joseph, in his highest finish on the tour, as runner-up. The $1,000-added event drew 48 entrants to Clifton Billiards in Clifton, NJ.
 
Joseph, appearing in his eighth event of the 2018/2019 season, solidified his position among the D+ class of competitors. He finished the season in third place, guaranteeing him an invite to the year-ending Invitational Tournament. Though her (*) victory advanced Burrows among her fellow B class players, she was 400 points away from the 16-player cutoff point for an invite to the year-ending Invitational Tournament. That tournament, scheduled for the weekend of June 29-30, will feature the top 16 players from each of six divisions and crown a champion for each of them, as well as a Tri-State Tour Grand Champion, who, at the end of the 2017/2018 season, was Erick Carrasco.
 
Burrow’s path to the hot seat went through Joe Palone, survived a double hill battle against Paul Madonia, and sent Levie Lampaan and Paul Wilkens to the loss side, to draw Manny Gomez in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Bianca Martinez, in the meantime, well-positioned at #8 to earn an invite to the D+ event of the Invitational faced Rick Rodriguez in the other winners’ side semifinal.
 
Burrows and Martinez became the first women, in an ill-defined long time, to square off in the hot seat match of a Tri-State tournament. Burrows had sent Gomez to the loss side 7-5, as Martinez was busy sending Rodriguez west 7-1. Burrows claimed the hot seat over Martinez 8-6 in what would prove to be her last match.
 
On the loss side, Gomez and Rodriguez ran right into their second straight loss. Gomez drew Jason Goberdhan, who’d defeated Bob Toomey, double hill and Paul Wilkens 7-1 to meet and defeat Gomez 6-3. Rodriguez picked up Joshua Joseph, who was three matches into his six-match, loss-side winning streak and had most recently defeated the competitor who’d sent him to the loss side Marco Daniele 5-3 and shut out Ada Lio. He downed Rodriguez 7-4 to join Goberdhan in the quarterfinals.
 
Joseph defeated Goberdhan 7-3 in those quarterfinals and then, double hill, defeatEd Martinez in the semifinals. Joseph and Burrows agreed on the split and ended the regular 2018/2019 Tri-State Tour season. 
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 scheduled Tri-State Tour event will be its annual Tri-State Invitational, scheduled for the weekend of June 29-30 and hosted by Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY.

Castillo and Melendez split top prizes on second-to-last 2018/2019 Tri-State Tour stop

(l to r): Euryel Castillo & Juan Melendez

When the Tri-State Tour stop held on Sunday, June 9 got down to its last 12 players (from 41 entrants), 10 of them were competitors who will likely be invited to the tour’s annual invitational tournament, restricted to the top 16 players in each of the tour’s six ranking divisions (not including either the Open or Pro class) and scheduled for June 29-30. The player who got into the hot seat and won (*) the tournament, Euryel Castillo (#29 among the tour’s C+ players) is not likely to be among the invitees, unless over a dozen invited players from the C+ division can’t make it. The man he would have played in the final, Juan Melendez, is a likely invitee in the C division, having entered the tournament as #12 on that list. Also likely to be invited will be the 3rd place finisher, Yomaylin Feliz-Forman (#15 on the B List), who gave up only one rack in her first five matches before being sent to the loss side by Castillo in the battle for the hot seat. She was defeated by Melendez in the semifinals (she’d sent him to the loss side originally). The $1,000-added event was hosted by Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY.

Following victories over Thomas Schreiber (#7 among B players), Joe Mazzeo, and a double hill win over Tony Kuo, Castillo advanced to a winners’ side semifinal against the tour’s #2-ranked B+ player, Matt Klein. Two of the tour’s top-ranked women squared off against each other in the other winners’ side semifinal; Yomaylin Feliz-Forman (better known as “Smiley”) versus Shweta Zaveri, the tour’s top-ranked female and its #1 competitor in the D+ division.

Castillo sent Klein to the loss side 7-3, as “Smiley” got the best of Zaveri 9-5. Castillo and Feliz locked up in a double hill fight for possession of the hot seat, eventually claimed (7-6) by Castillo.

On the loss side, Klein picked up Thomas Schreiber (#7 among B players), who’d defeated Tony Kuo 7-3 and eliminated Max Watanabe (#2 among the A/A+ players) in a double hill battle. Shweta Zaveri drew Juan Melendez, who’d been sent to the loss side by “Smiley” 7-2 in a winners’ side quarterfinal and then, defeated Bob Toomey (#1 C+) 6-4 and Bianca Martinez (#8 D+), double hill.

Schreiber downed Klein 7-5 to get into the quarterfinals. He was joined by Melendez, who’d defeated Zaveri in his second straight double hill win. Melendez more or less solidified the likelihood of joining the invitational tournament with a 7-5 victory over Schreiber in those quarterfinals.

Melendez turned for a re-match against Feliz and in his third, loss-side double hill match, defeated her 8-7 for a shot at Castillo in the hot seat; a shot not taken, as it were. The two agreed to a split, with Castillo as the undefeated occupant of the hot seat claiming the event title.

Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Cue Bar, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui Tips, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, Human Kinetics, Pool & Billiards, Professor Q Ball, Bender Cues, DIGICUE OB, and Hustlin USA. The last regular tour stop of the 2018/2019 Tri-State Tour season, scheduled for Saturday, June 15, will be hosted by Clifton Billiards in Clifton, NJ. Two weeks later, on the weekend of June 29-30, the Annual Tri-State Invitational Tournament will be hosted by Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY.

Gomez gets by LaPuente twice to win Tri-State Tour stop

(l to r): Manny Gomez & Luis LaPuente

With the end of the 2018/2019 Tri-State Tour season approaching, there is, as there always is, something of a quiet scramble as players attempt to establish their performance credentials in the hope of being invited to the annual Tri-State Invitational tournament, scheduled for the final weekend in June at Steinway Billiards. There are four events left in the 2018/2019 schedule for players to become one of the 16 competitors in each class division to receive an invitation. The two finalists of the Tri-State Tour stop held on Sunday, May 19, Manuel Gomez and Luis LaPuente are, in competition parlance, ‘in the hunt’ for slots in their respective class divisions; Gomez, a D player, currently at #15 in that class and La Puente, a C player, currently at #32 in his class. Gomez got by La Puente twice in the event to go undefeated and claim the event title, thereby improving his chances in the D class, while having a negative impact on LaPuente’s fortunes in the C class. The $1,000-added event drew 34 entrants to Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY.
 
They met first in a winners’ side semifinal, as Pashk Gjini (B, #18) and Eugene Ok (B+, #8) squared off in the other one. Gomez took his first of two over LaPuente 6-4, as Ok downed Gjini 7-2. Gomez claimed the hot seat 8-5 over Ok and waited on what turned out to be the return of LaPuente.
 
On the loss side, Gjini picked up Luis Jimenez, who’d survived a double hill battle versus Tri V Chau and eliminated Jimmy Acosta 8-5. LaPuente drew Mike Strassberg, who’d defeated Brad McDuffie 6-3 and Bianca Martinez 7-5 to reach him.
 
Jimenez (B, #6) downed Gjini 7-5, as LaPuente shut out Strassberg. LaPuente then did his campaign for climbing the C ladder some good by first defeating Jimenez 7-1 in the quarterfinals, and then, because Eugene Ok forfeited out of the semifinals, leapfrogging into the finals and a re-match against Gomez.
 
Gomez, though, completed his undefeated run with an 8-6 victory in the finals to claim the event title. He will likely move a few rungs up his D ladder to stay well within the top 16 in that division, with, as noted, four events to go to improve even further.
 
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Cue Bar, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui Tips, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, Human Kinetics, Pool & Billiards, Professor Q Ball, Bender Cues, DIGICUE OB and Hustlin USA. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour will be the 9th Annual George “Ginky” Sansouci Memorial Tournament, scheduled for May 25-26 and conducted under the combined auspices of the Tri-State, Predator Pro Am and Mezz Tours. The $4,000-added event, featuring both amateur and Open/Pro fields will be hosted by Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY.