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Ignacio and Robideau win Predator Open-Pro/Amateur events

In addition to victories at the pool table, Jeffrey Ignacio has been chalking up some Frequent Flyer Miles. He began the year with a victory in the Predator Tour's season opener, defeating Earl Strickland twice to claim the title. He flew to California, where he defeated Oscar Dominguez in the finals of the Chuck Markulis Memorial Tournament, and a day later, opened a campaign that resulted in a finals victory over Skyler Woodward in the US Bar Box 10-Ball Championships in Reno, NV. He came back to New York to compete in the Predator Tour's $500-added Open/Pro event again on the weekend of February 28-March 1, and went undefeated through a short field of seven entrants to claim his second Predator Tour Open/Pro title.
In a concurrently-run, $500-added Amateur event that drew 41 entrants, Bud Robideau came back from a defeat in the hot seat match to defeat Carl Yusuf Khan. The events were hosted by the Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY.
In the Open/Pro event, Ignacio got into the hot seat match against Tour Director Tony Robles. Ignacio had defeated Eugene Ok 7-2, while Robles was sending Lee Kang to the losers' bracket 7-5. Ignacio claimed the hot seat in a double hill battle against Robles.
On the loss side, Kang picked up Michael Wong, who'd been awarded a loss-side bye. Ok drew Elvis Rodriguez, who'd eliminated Bob Schlott 7-2. Kang, down 6-3 against Wong, came back to tie it and win, while Rodriguez was busy defeating Ok 7-4. Kang took the quarterfinal match against Rodriguez by the same score and then smoked Robles 7-1 in the semifinals. Ignacio, though, ended Kang's loss-side streak with a 9-6 win in the finals.
In the Amateur event, Robideau and the "Warrior" (Khan) met first in the hot seat, once Robideau had defeated Joe Gibbons 7-5 and Khan had sent Ron Mason west 7-3. Khan took the first of two against Robideau 7-2.
On the loss side, Gibbons picked up Chris Brooks, who'd defeated Darren Schmidt 8-5 and Jamiyl Adams 7-5. Mason drew Steve Wright, who'd gotten by Vinnie Santiago 7-3 and Dave Shlemperis 7-2. Brooks eliminated Gibbons 7-2 and Mason survived a double hill battle versus Wright.
Brooks then eliminated Mason 7-4 in the quarterfinals, before himself being eliminated by Robideau in the semifinals, double hill. Robideau came out gunning in the finals against Khan and reached the hill, five games ahead. Khan battle to tie things up and force a case game, but Robideau won that last battle to claim the Amateur title.
Tour director Tony Robles thanked the ownership and staff of the Cue Bar, as well as sponsors Predator Cues, Ozone Billiards, TheDeVito,, Gotham City Technologies, NYCGrind,, and

Ignacio and Warnock come from the loss side(s) to win season opener on the Predator Tour

Miguel Laboy, Stewart Warnock and Rene Villalobos

Stewart Warnock has been either the winner or runner-up in at least one Predator or Tri-State Tour stop, every year over the past five years. To keep that streak intact, he chalked up his first 2015 Predator win on the weekend of January 17-18. Warnock came back from a defeat among the winners' side final four, and defeated hot seat occupant, Miguel Laboy in the Predator Tour's season opener. On the Open/Pro side, Jeffrey Ignacio and Earl Strickland battled twice, with Ignacio claiming the second, final match to claim that title. The $500-added Open/Pro event drew 22 entrants to Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY. The $1,000-added Amateur event drew a record 110 entrants.
"Every year, we go up," said Tour Director Tony Robles. "Last year, we drew 105 for our season opener and the year before that, it was 90-something."
Robles won the season opener in 2014, coming back from a hot seat defeat, to meet and defeat Mike Dechaine in the finals. This year, Earl Strickland defeated Robles 7-4  in a winners' side semifinal, as the eventual winner, Ignacio, sent Frankie Hernandez to the losers' bracket 7-5. Strickland took the first of his two versus Ignacio 7-5, and waited for him to get back.
Both Hernandez and Robles would lose their second match immediately; Hernandez to Jorge Rodriguez 7-5 and Robles to Zion Zvi 7-4. Rodriguez defeated Zvi 7-5 in the quarterfinals, and was then himself defeated by Ignacio in the semifinals 7-3. Ignacio took full advantage of his re-match opportunity, defeating Strickland 11-5 to claim the Open/Pro title.
In the Amateur event, Laboy and Warnock met first in a winners' side semifinal, won by Laboy 7-4. Rene Villalobos, after surviving a double hill battle against Adrian Daniel, joined Laboy in the battle for the hot seat. Though Villalobos would draw within a game of double hill, Laboy won it to claim the hot seat.
On the loss side, Warnock drew Victor Nau, who'd gotten by Duc Lam and Al Zea, both 7-5. Daniel picked up Mike Figueroa, who'd defeated Chris Guariglia 7-5 and Chris Brooks 7-4. Warnock advanced to the quarterfinals on the heels of a double hill win over Nau. Figueroa eliminated Daniel 7-5 to join him.
Warnock then defeated Figueroa 9-7, and in the semifinals, Villalobos 8-7. Warnock claimed the event title, successfully wreaking vengeance for the earlier loss with a 9-6 win in the finals.

Dy comes back from semifinals to win Empire State Amateur Championships

Like the concurrently-run Empire State Open Championships (see separate story), the 6th Annual Empire State Amateur Championships saw a player (Marco Dy) come back from the semifinals to defeat the hot seat occupant (Mike Hertz). Unlike the Open event, none of the Amateur event's final 12 players were among the final 12 in 2013. Like the Open event, the $1,500-added Amateur tournament drew the exact number of entrants it had drawn in 2013 (104), to the same location, Raxx Billiards in West Hempstead, NY.
Advancing to the winners' side semifinals this year were Roberto Mendoza, who faced Dy, and Chris Brooks, who met up with Hertz. Hertz and Dy moved into the hot seat match with identical 7-2 wins over Brooks and Mendoza. Hertz claimed the hot seat with a 7-4 win and waited for Dy to come back.
On the loss side, Brooks met up with Randy Fisher, who'd defeated John Lazo 7-3 and survived a double hill fight versus Omar Alli, to reach him. Mendoza drew Romeo Singh, who'd defeated both Dave Shlemperis and Jimmy Acosta 7-5. Brooks and Mendoza got right back to work; Brooks downing Fisher in a double hill match, while Mendoza was busy eliminating Singh 7-2.
Two straight double hill matches followed, with Mendoza defeating Brooks in the quarterfinals, and Dy ending Mendoza's day in the semifinals. In the finals, Dy doubled the lead by which Hertz had defeated him in the hot seat (7-4), claiming the Empire State Amateur Championship title with a decisive 9-3 win.