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Cheng comes back from semifinals to win second Tri-State stop

Carl Yusuf Khan, Billy Cheng and Dave Shlemperis

It was Billy Cheng‘s second official victory on the Tri-State Tour, but the first in which he battled an opponent in the finals. Back in April, Cheng was the winner of record when he and Raul Reyes opted out of a final match because it was set to commence at 4 a.m. on Easter Sunday morning. Eight months later, on Saturday, December 3, Cheng had to play an extra match when Carl Yusuf Khan kept him out of the hot seat, but returned to defeat Khan in the finals and chalk up the “W.” The $1,250-added event drew 44 entrants to Gotham City Billiards in Brooklyn, NY.

Following victories over Samson Kelly, Raphael DaBreo, Tien “Max” Tran, and Joei Huang, Cheng moved among the winners’ side final four to face Kapriel Delimelkonoglu. Khan, in the meantime, squared off against Vincent Morris. Cheng downed Delimelkonoglu 7-5, as Khan was busy sending Morris west 7-3. Khan won his last match by prevailing in the battle for the hot seat 7-4, and waited for Cheng’s return.

Morris and Delimelkonoglu moved to the loss-side and lasted only a single round. Morris picked up Gary Murgia, who’d defeated Duane Toney 7-2 and Joei Huang 7-5 to reach him. Delimelkonoglu had the misfortune of running into Dave Shlemperis, who, like Cheng, had been sent west by Khan, and was working his way back with a re-match on his mind. Shlemperis got by Ben Cateneros 7-5 and Andrzej Kaldan 7-6 to face Delimelkonoglu, and then survived a double hill match against him to get into the quarterfinals. He was joined by Murgia, who’d defeated Morris, also double hill.

In what was a second straight double hill match for both of them, it was Shlemperis prevailing over Murgia in those quarterfinals to meet Cheng in the semifinals. Both Shlemperis and Cheng were looking for a second crack against Khan, and it was Cheng who earned it with a 7-3 victory.  

Khan took the first two games of the single, race-to-9 final match, and Cheng took the next two. They traded racks to a 5-5 tie, at which point, Cheng took a two-rack lead. Khan came back to win one more, before Cheng won the last two. He sunk the 9-ball on the break in the final game to capture the event title.

Tour representatives thanked Kevin and Isabel Buckley of Gotham Billiards for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Sterling-Gaming, Ozone Billiards, Ron Tarr Cues, Kamui Tips, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, and Human Kinetics. Next stop on the Tri-State Tour is scheduled for Saturday, December 10, at Castle Billiards in East Rutherford, NJ.

Dagotdot wins fourth straight tournament with Tri-State victory

Daniel Dagotdot, Quin Y. Chen and Eddie Perez

Since February, Daniel Dagotdot had won four of the eight tournaments in which he’d been entered, alternating those victories between the Tri-State and Predator Tours. In the other four tournaments, which included two stops on the Mezz Pro Am Tour, he never finished lower than fifth place. On Saturday, November 19, he chalked up number five of nine with an undefeated run on the Tri-State Tour, which had stopped at the Port Richmond Billiard Club on Staten Island. The $750-added event, which had drawn 35 entrants, came to an early end when, at approximately 2 a.m. on Monday morning, the final three competitors opted to split the top prizes. 

By dinner time on Sunday (approximately 6 p.m.), Dagotdot had worked his way through three rounds of play to move among the winners’ side final four, defeating Harry Lau, Keith Adamik and Tri-State veteran Dan Cintron.  Facing him among the final four winners was Richard Ng. Quin Y. Chen, in the meantime, squared off against Alex Osipov. Dagotdot moved into the hot seat match with an 8-6 victory over Ng and was joined by Chen who shut out Osipov. Dagotdot gained the hot seat with a 10-6 victory over Chen that proved to be his final match. 

Osipov moved to the loss-side and picked up Eddie Perez, whom he’d sent to the loss-side earlier in the tournament. Perez earned a re-match after victories over Pat Mareno, double hill, and Hector Ruiz, 6-2. Ng’s first opponent on the loss side was Gary Murgia, who’d advanced past Keith Adamik 7-4 and Billy Cheng 7-3. Ng survived a double hill battle against Murgia and was joined in the quarterfinals by Perez, who had successfully wreaked his vengeance on Osipov, also double hill.

Perez dropped Ng into fourth place 7-4 and for all intents and purposes, the tournament came to an end. The semifinal matchup between Perez and Chen (teammates on a Staten Island BCA League team) was, by mutual agreement,  reduced to a single game, which was won by Chen, who advanced into the finals against Dagotdot. That match never happened, as, again by mutual agreement, Dagotdot and Chen agreed to split the first and second place winnings (by an undisclosed ratio), leaving Dagotdot as the official, undefeated winner.

Tour representatives thanked Gary Murgia, who was described as the “catalyst” for returning the Tri-State Tour to Staten Island’s Port Richmond Billiard Club. Thanks to the turnout for this most recent event, the venue has already decided to host further events on the tour. Also thanked were Mike, Moe and Karen from the Port Richmond Billiard Club for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Sterling-Gaming, Ozone Billiards, Ron Tarr Cues, Kamui Tips, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, and Human Kinetics for their sponsorship.