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Francisco comes from the loss side, again, to win his first on Predator Tri-State Tour

John Francisco & Carlos Duque

Four years ago, during a stop on Tony Robles’ Predator Pro Am Tour at Amsterdam Billiards, New York’s John Francisco, in the midst of what is still his best recorded earnings year (2108), was sent to the loss side in a winners’ side quarterfinal and came back to face and defeat in the finals, the man who’d sent him there, Ehmunrao Toocaram. It was Francisco’s first recorded win and this past weekend (May 21-22), he chalked up his second, this time on the Predator Tri-State Tour. He once again took a loss-side route to the winners’ circle, although it was a considerably shorter route than the one he’d taken in 2018. The $1,000-added event drew 33 entrants to Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY.

Francisco made it to the hot seat match in this event, his first (that we know about) since 2017, when he was denied the hot seat and eliminated in the finals of a stop on the Tri-State Tour. He duplicated all but the last step of that end-game maneuver this time out. He got by Kevin Shin and Abel Rosario to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal versus Jason Goberdhan. In the meantime, his eventual hot seat and final opponent, Carlos Duque navigated his way through Brian Schell (double hill), Amanda Andries and Tom Crane to arrive at his winners’ side semifinal matchup with Mike Pruitt. 

Francisco moved into the hot seat on the heels of a 7-4 victory over Goberdhan and was joined by Duque, who survived his second double hill match, against Pruitt. Duque took a commanding lead in the hot seat match and held on to it, sending Francisco to the semifinals 8-3.

On the loss side, Goberdhan picked up Adrian Daniel, who’d eliminated Thomas Schreiber 7-4 and survived a double hill match against Jaydev Zaveri, to reach him. Pruitt drew Euryel Castillo, who’d knocked out Bob Toomey 7-1 and Tom Crane 9-5.

Daniel gave up only a single rack to Goberdhan and advanced to the quarterfinals. Pruitt and Castillo battled to double hill before Pruitt advanced to join Daniel. In a somewhat surprising turn of events, Daniel advanced to the semifinals after shutting Pruitt out. Francisco came within two racks of doing the same to Daniel in the semifinals, earning himself a second shot at Duque with a 7-2 win.

In the extended-race final, Francisco reached his ‘magic number,’ extending the race to 8. In the end, it proved to be a double hill battle for the title, with Francisco winning it 8-7. 

Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Cue Bar, as well as title sponsor Predator, Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui Tips, Phil Capelle, Pool & Billiards, Professor Q Ball, Bender Cues, Paul Dayton Cues, Bloodworth Ball Cleaner, Joe Romer Trophies and Quick Slick. The next stop on the Predator Tri-State Tour, scheduled for Memorial Day weekend (May 28-30), will be the $2,000-added, 10th Annual George “Ginky” Sansouci Memorial, hosted by Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY. 

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Perez downs Calton twice, goes undefeated to claim Tri-State Tour title

Eddie Perez & Robert Calton

While Eddie Perez has been competing on the Tri-State Tour, as far as we know, since 2011, he chalked up his first victory on the tour this past weekend (Sunday, Feb. 23). The runner-up, Robert Calton, is, as far as we know, a relative newcomer to the tour, having cashed in only one event (last September), when he made it to the hot seat match, only to be defeated and then eliminated by Pascal Dufresne in the semifinals. The two battled twice in this most recent stop – hot seat and finals – with Perez winning them both. The $1,000-added, C/D event drew 41 entrants to Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY.

Perez advanced through the field, downing Chris Farrell, Ada Lio, Jim Gutierrez and Bob Toomey to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal against Terry Mohabir. Calton, in the meantime, squared off against Alex Green in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Perez defeated Mohabir 6-2 and in the hot seat match, faced Calton, who’d sent Green to the loss side 6-3. Though he’d finished third a number of times over the years since 2011, Perez claimed his first hot seat with his first of two against Calton 6-2.

On the loss side, Mohabir picked up Patrick Meyers, who’d defeated Mark Antonetti and John Aquino, both 6-2, to reach him. Green drew Luis Lopez, who’d most recently eliminated Ada Lio in a double hill match and Bob Toomey 6-4.

Green downed Lopez 6-4 to advance to the quarterfinals, where he was joined by Meyers, who’d handed Mohabir his second straight loss 6-2. Meyers then eliminated Green 7-5 in those quarterfinals.

Robert Calton put a stop to Green’s run 7-2 in the semifinals, but couldn’t put a stop to Perez’ first quest for a tour title in the finals. They battled to double hill (5-5), at which point Calton was battling to extend the race to 8. Perez prevailed to win the deciding 11th game and claim the event title.

Tour representatives thanked Manny Stamatakis and his Steinway Billiards staff for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui, Phil Capelle, Paul Dayton Cues, Pool & Billiards, Liquid Weighted Cues, John Bender Cues, Billiards Engineering and Bloodworth Ball Cleaner. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for Sunday, March 1, will be hosted by The Spot in Nanuet, NY.

Dayrit wins five on the loss side to down Saiki in finals of Tri-State stop

(l to r): Ryan Dayrit and Naoko Saiki

Last Sunday’s (Jan. 26) Tri-State Tour stop at Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY featured one of those still-rare, but a lot more frequent than they used to be battles between a male and female in the finals of a regional tour. There was a little bit of ‘David and Goliath’ in the air, too, because Naoko Saiki, who’d only ever cashed in one other event on the tour (9th, two and a half years ago at Steinway Billiards) was going up against Ryan Dayrit, who’d cashed in 13 events last year alone, including one win each on the Predator Pro Am and Tri-State Tours. The woman got into the hot seat, but Goliath came back from the loss side to down the female ‘David’ in the finals. The $1,000-added event drew 26 entrants to Cue Bar.
 
Dayrit had something of a shaky start. He survived an opening-round, double hill match against Johnny Colon and then fell 7-2 to Chris Luna, which, in a 32-player bracket, happened to be a winners’ side quarterfinal match. Luna advanced to face Nishant Narang in a winners’ side semifinal. Saiki, in the meantime, had her own kind of shaky start; opening with a double hill win over Jose Ramos, she avoided a second double hill scenario by a game, defeating Allison LaFleur 6-4 to face Lionell Swanston in the other winners’ side semifinal.
 
Saiki chalked up her second double hill win, over Swanston, and in the hot seat match, faced Narang, who’d sent Luna west 6-3. Saiki claimed the hot seat 6-4 over Narang, and waited for Dayrit to finish his loss side run.
 
Dayrit had opened that run with a 6-1 victory over Juan Melendez and then got locked up in a double hill fight against Qian Chen, before prevailing to draw Swanston. Luna, in the meantime, certainly mindful of a potential rematch versus Dayrit in the upcoming quarterfinals, drew Bob Toomey, who’d survived a double hill fight against LaFleur and eliminated Mike Strassberg 6-2 to reach him.
 
Dayrit got into the quarterfinals 6-4 over Swanston. Toomey spoiled the Dayrit/Luna rematch with a 6-3 win over Luna.
 
Dayrit won the next two 6-4, downing Toomey in the quarterfinals and Narang in the semifinals. Though the final match between Dayrit and Saiki see-sawed back and forth through its opening racks, Dayrit eventually pulled out in front to complete his comeback and win it 8-4.
 
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Cue Bar, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui Tips, Phil Capelle, Pool & Billiards, Professor Q Ball, Bender Cues, Paul Dayton Cues, Bloodworth Ball Cleaner, Joe Romer Trophies and Quick Slick. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for Saturday, February 1, will be hosted by Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY.

Zaveri and Shlemperis split top prizes on snowstorm-interrupted Tri-State stop in Wayne, NJ

Jaydev Zaveri & Dave Shlemperis

As an indoor sport, pool play is not generally affected by the weather. Getting to and back from the venues, however, is another story altogether. On Saturday, January 18, snow and sleet visited the Tri-State New York area, to include Wayne, NJ, about 25 miles northwest of midtown Manhattan, where 23 intrepid competitors gathered to shoot some 10-ball on the Tri-State Tour. Jaydev Zaveri went undefeated to the hot seat and would, in the finals, have faced Dave Shlemperis, whom he’d sent to the loss side in the event’s second round. But with dangerous driving conditions getting worse by the minute, Zaveri and Shlemperis agreed to a split. As the undefeated hot seat occupant, Zaveri claimed the event title. The $1,000-added event drew its 23 entrants to Shooter’s Family Billiards in Wayne

Zaveri opened his stormy campaign against Luis Jimenez and after defeating him, double hill (5-4), he faced Shlemperis and sent him over 6-2. He would then defeat A+ player Atif Khan in a winners’ side quarterfinal to face Joe Mazzeo in a winners’ side semifinal. Juan Melendez, in the meantime, squared off against Hunter Sullivan in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Zaveri downed Mazzeo 6-3 and in the hot seat, faced Melendez, who’d defeated Sullivan 5-2. Zaveri, in what proved to be his last match, claimed the hot seat 7-4 over Melendez.

On the loss side, Shlemperis was working on his six-match, loss-side winning streak that would take him all the way back for a rematch against Zaveri, which, of course, didn’t happen. Shlemperis got by Chris Schmidt 6-3, Kevin Scalzitti, double hill (6-5) and Paul Madonia 6-2 to draw Mazzeo, coming over from his winners’ side semifinal loss to Zaveri. Sullivan picked up a rematch versus Bob Toomey, whom he’d defeated in the second round (Toomey’s 1st round; he’d been awarded a bye). Toomey’s four-match, loss-side winning streak included recent wins over Brian Schell, double hill (5-4) and then, he spoiled the possibility of a husband/wife final by defeating Jaydev Zaveri’s wife, Shweta, also double hill (6-5).

Shlemperis defeated Mazzeo 6-3, as Sullivan eliminated Toomey 5-2. Shlemperis then took the quarterfinal match versus Sullivan 7-4.

In the final match of the evening, Shlemperis downed Juan Melendez 7-5. He and Zaveri agreed to the split – Zaveri, the official winner and Shlemperis, runner-up – and those who were left headed for the exits and a difficult ride home.

Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Shooter’s Family Billiards, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui Tips, Liquid Weighted Cues, Bloodworth Ball Cleaner, Quick Stik, Phil Capelle,  Pool & Billiards,  Bender Cues, Dayton Cues, and  Romer Trophies. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for Sunday, January 26, will be a $1,000-added, Double Point event, hosted by Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY.

Schreiber goes undefeated to win last 2019 stop on the Tri-State Tour

(l to r): Thomas Schreiber & Victor Herrera

Thomas Schreiber splits his TOT (time on table) between work on the Tri-State and Predator Pro Am Tours and is a B player on both; second on the Predator Pro Am among B players (behind Pascal Dufresne) and third on the Tri-State behind Joe Mazzeo and Paul Madonia. Schreiber chalked up his second 2019 win on the year’s final Tri-State Tour stop on Sunday, December 29. The victory edged him closer to the top among the Tri-State’s B players because along the way, he defeated Joe Mazzeo, who finished in the three-way tie for 9th place. The $1,000-added event drew 44 entrants to Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY.
 
Schreiber’s path went through Terry Mohabir and the tour’s #1-ranked female and C player, Michelle Brotons, before encountering Mazzeo and sending him to the loss side. He advanced to meet and defeat Emit Yolcu (who would go on to defeat Mazzeo on the loss side) and faced Rajkumar Persaud in one of the winners’ side semifinals. The other winners’ side semifinal featured the tour’s #4 B+ player (Eugene Ok) against its #2 C+ player (Bob Toomey).
 
Schreiber got into the hot seat match with a shutout over Persaud. He was joined by Ok, who’d sent Toomey to the loss side 7-2. Schreiber and Ok got locked up into a somewhat predictable double hill fight for the hot seat, eventually won by Schreiber.
 
On the loss side, the battle for 5th/6th featured replays of two of the winners’ side quarterfinals. Toomey ran right into a rematch against Alison Fischer, whom he’d sent to the loss side, double hill, in one of those winners’ side quarterfinals. She’d moved over and launched her loss-side campaign with a successful (6-3) win against Brotons and then, double hill, eliminated Elvis Rodriguez. Persaud walked into a rematch against Victor Herrera, who, in a quest to improve his #26 position among the tour’s C+ players, had eliminated Gil Costello 6-3 and Emit Yolcu (fresh off his elimination of Mazzeo) 7-4.
 
Herrera, on his five-match, loss-side way to the finals, downed Persaud 7-4 and in the quarterfinals, faced Toomey, who’d defeated Fischer 6-4. Herrera and Toomey fought tooth and nail (aka double hill) before Herrera prevailed and then leapfrogged over a semifinal match against Ok, who, due to work responsibilities, forfeited.
 
The final match see-sawed back and forth to a final and deciding game. Herrera missed a shot at the deciding 9-ball, which Schreiber obligingly dropped for him 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.         

Watanabe and Klein start but don’t quite finish Tri-State stop, leaving Watanabe with event title

Max Watanabe & Matt Klein

They met in the opening round of play at the Tri-State Tour stop on Sunday, December 8; Max Watanabe and Matt Klein. Familiar opponents on the Tri-State Tour, friends, two of the tour’s highest ranked players. Max at #1 among A players, Matt at #3. The kinds of players who might, at larger tournaments, be seeded so that they wouldn’t meet in an event’s opening round. They did here and Max prevailed 7-4, moving on to advance through the field, all the way to the hot seat. Matt, in the meantime, went on an eight-match, loss-side winning streak that ended up giving him a shot at redemption in the form of a second chance against Max in the event finals.

That didn’t happen. They opted out of meeting a second time, allowing Max’s earlier 7-4 win to stand as the defining match between them. On this day, at least. Max, undefeated, claimed the official title of the $1,000-added event that drew 28 entrants to Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY.

Max’s path after Klein in the opening round went through Joe Mazzeo 7-5 and Debra Pritchett 10-8 to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal matchup against Chris Schmidt. Zain Sundaram, in the meantime, who’d started his day by shutting out Jason Goberdhan, allowing Bob Toomey only a single rack in a 6-1 victory and downing Jim Gutierrez 6-3, drew Jose Carlos Ramos in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Watanabe defeated Schmidt 7-5 and in the hot seat, faced Sundaram, who’d sent Ramos to the loss side 7-1. Watanabe played what proved to be his last match of the day, utilizing some strong safety play to claim the hot seat 8-6 over Sundaram.

Klein, in the meantime, was navigating his way through the loss side. He got by Mikhail Kim, Steve Kalloo and Luis Lopez, before surviving a double hill match against Debra Pritchett. He went on to down Eddie Medina 7-3 and drew Schmidt, coming over from the winners’ side semifinal. Ramos picked up a re-match versus Adrian Daniel, whom he’d defeated in a winners’ side quarterfinal and who’d eliminated Mike Strassberg 6-4 and Jason Goberdhan 6-3 to earn the rematch.

Klein downed Schmidt 7-3 and in the quarterfinal, faced Ramos who’d defeated Daniel a second time 6-3. Klein chalked up his seventh win of the day, sending Ramos home 8-5.

Momentum aside, Klein’s path through Zain Sundaram in the semifinals was not as easy as he might have liked or predicted. They battled back and forth and it was Sundaram who reached the hill (7) first. He gave Klein the smallest of openings in the next rack and Klein forced a 15th deciding game. He won that game to earn a well-deserved second shot against Watanabe, waiting for him in the hot seat.

With some good-natured trash talk and the opportunity to get home a little early, the two opted out of the final. As the undefeated occupant of the hot seat at the time of the negotiations, Watanabe claimed the title.

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 Tri-State Tour will take a couple of weeks off, as the Predator Pro Am Tour holds its season finale at Raxx Billiards in West Hempstead, NY this coming weekend and is followed by an Open Date for the Tri-State Tour. The tour will return on the final weekend of 2019 (December 29) for a $1,000-added, A-B-C-D event at Cue Bar in Bayside (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.

Schmidt goes undefeated to win his first regional tour event on Tri-State Tour

(l to r): Luis Jimenez & Chris Schmidt

It had been, according to our records, almost exactly five years since Chris Schmidt had taken home any cash by competing on the Tri-State Tour. In October of 2014, he finished, in successive weeks, 5th and 4th at two stops on the tour. Schmidt returned to the ‘fold,’ so to speak, on Sunday, October 20 to chalk up his first Tri-State victory. Schmidt went undefeated through a field of 22, on hand for the $1,000-added event that was hosted by Shooter’s Family Billiards in Wayne, NJ.
 
Schmidt had to get by Luis Jimenez twice to claim this event title. Following victories over Tri Chau 7-1 and Paul Wilkens 7-2 Schmidt drew Jimenez for the first time in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Adrian Daniels, in the meantime, squared off against Rick Rodriguez in the other winners’ side semifinal.
 
Schmidt advanced to the hot seat match with a 7-3 win over Jimenez. Daniels joined him after a 6-3 win over Rodriguez. Schmidt and Daniels battled to double hill before Schmidt prevailed to claim what appears to be his first recorded claim to a tournament’s hot seat.
 
On the loss side, Jimenez opened his three-match march back to the finals against Desi DeRado, who’d defeated Paul Wilkens 7-5 and Zach Ivie, double hill, to reach him. Rodriguez drew Shweta Zaveri, who’d recently eliminated Bob Toomey 7-5 and CJ Chey 7-1.
 
Jimenez and Rodriguez got right back to work, winning. Jimenez downed DeRado 7-3, as Rodriguez just did survive a double hill fight against Zaveri.
 
Jimenez earned his way to a slot in the finals with two straight double hill wins, over Rodriguez in the quarterfinals and Daniels in the semifinals. Schmidt, though, edged out in front in the final match that followed, defeating Jimenez 7-5 and claiming his first event title.
 
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Shooter’s Family 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, October 27, will be a Double Points, 10-ball event, hosted by Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY. 

Mejia goes undefeated to win his first 2019-2020 stop on the Tri-State Tour

(l to r): Ilija Trajceski & Ricardo Mejia

He returned to the scene of the crime, so to speak. Ricardo Mejia, looking to record his first Tri-State Tour victory in just over a year, returned to the site of his last win, Clifton Billiards in Clifton, NJ. He’d chalked up the win last year, with an asterisk, when he and Rafael Alberto opted out of a final match and as the hot seat occupant, he was awarded the official event title. This year, on Sunday, September 15, he and Ilija Trajceski would play twice; once, in a winners’ side quarterfinal and then, in the finals, where Mejia would prevail and claim the title. The $1,000-added event drew 24 entrants to Clifton Billiards.
 
Mejia advanced from his first victory over Trajceski (7-4) to face Luis Jimenez in a winners’ side semifinal. Bob Toomey, in the meantime, who’d just survived a double hill match against Jeff Martinez, squared off against Mike Strassberg.
 
Mejia downed Jimenez 7-5, as Toomey, seemingly a little annoyed at his last outing, took it out on Mike Strassberg and shut him out. Mejia sent Toomey off to the semifinals 8-4 and waited in the hot seat for the return of Trajceski.
 
Over on the loss side, Trajceski had opened up with a 7-5 victory over Chris Schmidt. He followed that with another 7-5 victory over Steve Kaminow, which set him up to face Jimenez, coming over from the winners’ side semifinal. Strassberg drew Teddy Lapadula, who’d defeated Marco Daniele, double hill, and Jeff Martinez 6-2.
 
Trajceski and LaPadula advanced to the quarterfinals; Trajceski 7-4 over Jimenez and LaPadula 6-2 over Strassberg. Trajceski took the quarterfinal match 7-5 over LaPadula and then, eliminated Toomey 7-4 in the semifinals.
 
In the extended-race-to-9 finals, Mejia took an early, promising lead, before Trajceski responded and eventually got out in front 5-4. Trajceski went on to reach seven racks first, which extended the match to a race-to-9. Mejia caught up and when he reached seven racks, he broke and ran the next two to win it.
 
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Clifton Billiards for their hospitality, as well as sponsors John Bender Custom Cues, Ozone Billiards, Sterling Billiards, Kamui, Quick Slick, Billiards Digest, Liquid Shaft Cues, Joe Romer Trophies, and Phil Capelle Publications. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for Sunday, September 22, will be a $1,000-added, Double Points event, hosted by BQE Billiards in Jackson Heights (Queens), NY.

Watanabe gets by Shlemperis twice, goes undefeated to win Tri-State stop

(l to r): Max Watanabe & Dave Shlemperis

Though Max Watanabe has cashed in five 2019 events thus far (four Tri-State events and one Predator Pro Am) and Dave Shlemperis has cashed in only two (one each on the Tri-State and Predator Pro Am Tours; runner-up in both), they recorded almost mirror-like activity in 2018. For Watanabe, 2018 proved to be his best earnings year to date, and midway through the year, he finished as the Tri-State Tour’s top-ranked A/A+ competitor (the Tri-State Tour starts and ends its year-overlapping seasons in mid-summer). He cashed in 11 events, winning twice (once each on the Tri-State and Predator Pro Am Tour) and finished 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 7th, 9th and 13th in a combination of the two tour’s events. Shlemperis, the Tri-State’s #8-ranked B+ competitor in their 2018-2019 season, cashed in nine 2018 events. He won on the Tri-State Tour once and finished 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 7th, 9th and 13th in a combination of the two tour’s events (he tossed in a 17th place finish at Turning Stone XXX). On Sunday, August 4, at a Tri-State Tour stop, they battled twice to claim their first 2019 event title. Watanabe won both encounters at the $1000-added event that drew 33 entrants to Clifton Billiards in Clifton, NJ.
 
They met first in a winners’ side quarterfinal, with Watanabe prevailing 7-3 and advancing to a winners’ side semifinal against Eli Trajceski. Luis Jimenez, in the meantime, who finished as the runner-up in last week’s (July 27) stop on the Tri-State Tour, squared off against Mike Strassberg in the other winners’ side semifinal.
 
Watanabe sent Trajceski off 7-5 to an immediate encounter versus Shlemperis on the loss side. Jimenez and Strassberg battled to double hill before Jimenez prevailed. The battle for the hot seat was a double hill affair with Watanabe claiming the hot seat and waiting on the return of Shlemperis.
 
Shlemperis had opened his five-match, loss-side campaign with a double hill win over Jaydev Zaveri and followed it with a 7-3 win over Bob Toomey, which set him up versus Trajceski. Strassberg drew Mars Adinolfi, who’d defeated Rick Rodriguez 7-1 and Paul Madonia 7-3 to reach him.
 
Of the next five matches that would determine the event’s winner, four of them went double hill, beginning with the two matches that determined advancement to the quarterfinals; Shlemperis over Trajceski and Adinolfi over Strassberg. The quarterfinals came within a game of double hill, with Shlemperis winning it 7-5.
 
Shlemperis chalked up his third double hill win of the five matches he played on the loss side in the semifinals, downing Jimenez and earning himself a second shot at Watanabe in the hot seat. He battled Watanabe to double hill in the finals, but Watanabe dropped the last ball to claim the event title.
 
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Clifton Billiards, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui Tips, Liquid Weighted Cues, Bloodworth Ball Cleaner, Quick Stik, Phil Capelle, Pool & Billiards,  Bender Cues, Dayton Cues, and  Romer Trophies. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for Sunday, August 11, will be hosted by Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY.