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Aranas goes undefeated to defend his title at the 3rd Annual Barry Behrman Memorial

(l to r): James Aranas

As he did last year, the Philippines’ Zoren “James” Aranas took advantage of some geography to compete in a pair of events that he’s won over the past couple of weeks. Last year, he followed up on his victory at the Super Billiards Expo’s ProAm Bar Box Championships to compete and win the 2nd Annual Barry Behrman Memorial, downing its inaugural champion Brandon Shuff twice. This year, Aranas won the Super Billiards Expos’ Diamond Open 10-Ball Pro Players’ Championship on the last weekend in March, and this past weekend (April 6-7), went undefeated to defend his Barry Behrman Memorial title, downing separate opponents in the hot seat and finals. Already over halfway to earning what he made in 2018, his best earnings year to date, he’s on track to make 2019 another good year.
Aranas’ opponent in the finals, Reymart Lim, stepped to the tables at Q Master Billiards in Virginia Beach, VA for the $1,500-added 3rd Annual Barry Behrman Memorial having already won two of the three events on the 2019 Action Pool Tour (APT). Lim lost his opening match (to Shaun Wilkie 9-7) in a preliminary round, designed to put 32 of the 37 registered players into a double elimination bracket. He then won nine on the loss side to meet Aranas in the finals. He didn’t get to meet Wilkie a second time, because as he was facing Tuan Chau in the first money round (9th/12th), the Behrman Memorial’s inaugural champion, Brandon Shuff, was busy meeting and defeating Wilkie 9-7.
Aranas’ path went through Liz Taylor 9-3, Shuff 9-6 and Chris Futrell 9-3 to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal against RJ Carmona. His future hot seat opponent, JT Ringgold, winner of the APT’s Season Finale, got by Gage Turner 9-4, Bruce Reed 9-3 and Wilkie 9-4 to arrive at his winners’ side semifinal matchup against Nilbert Lim (no relation, but a close friend of Reymart Lim).
Aranas downed Carmona 9-2, while Ringgold and Lim locked up in a double hill fight that eventually allowed Ringgold to join Aranas for the hot seat match. Aranas claimed the hot seat 9-3 over Ringgold and waited on what turned out to be the return of Reymart Lim.
Meanwhile, over on the loss side, Reymart Lim was hard at work, advancing to a meetup with Nilbert Lim. Reymart opened his loss-side campaign with a 9-3 win over Rob Wilkins and followed it with victories over Paul Swinson 9-4, Gary Ornoff 9-6, Dave White, 9-1, Tuan Chau 9-3 and Chris Futrell 9-5 to draw Nilbert Lim. Carmona, in the meantime, picked up Brandon Shuff, who, following his defeat at the hands of Aranas, had shut out Mark Lacson and eliminated Alvin Thomas 9-2, Wilkie 9-7 and Greg Sabins 9-3.
Shuff and Reymart Lim advanced to the quarterfinals; Shuff 9-7 over Carmona and Reymart Lim 9-3 over Nilbert Lim. Reymart ended Shuff’s loss-side winning streak at five with a 9-7 victory in the quarterfinals and then ended JT Ringgold’s bid for a second shot at Aranas with a 9-2 win in the semifinals.
As it turned out, Reymart Lim got as close (in game count) to defeating Aranas as any of his previous opponents. Lim and Brandon Shuff both got as close as three games. Aranas completed his undefeated run 11-8 against Lim to capture his second straight Barry Behrman Memorial title.
In a Second Chance Tournament that drew eight entrants, Bernard Andico downed Jared Pitts twice 5-4 (hot seat) and 6-3 (finals). Graham Swinson finished third.

Lim goes undefeated to take Action Pool Tour stop at Q-Master Billiards

Reymart Lim (Photo courtesy of Erwin Dionisio)

In his first win on the Action Pool Tour (APT) since the season opener in January, Reymart Lim went undefeated on his home turf again (Q-Master Billiards in Virginia Beach, VA) to take his second APT title. Lim got by Scott Roberts twice to claim the event title that drew 42 entrants to Q-Master Billiards.
Getting by Kenny Miller, Rob Gager, Bruce Reed, and Kenny Daughtrey, Lim gave up a total of only six racks over 42 games to reach a winners’ side semifinal against Mac Harrell. Roberts, in the meantime, who was awarded an opening round bye, gave up 13 racks through 40 games to reach his winners’ side semifinal against Troy Miller.
Harrell chalked up one rack less (5) than all four of Lim’s previous opponents, but it was Lim who moved on to the hot seat match. He was joined by Roberts, who’d sent Miller to the loss side 9-3. Lim claimed the hot seat 9-5 and waited for Roberts’ return from the semifinals.
On the loss side, Harrell picked up the APT’s #1-ranked player, Steve Fleming, who’d been sent to the loss side by Bill Duggan in the third round and was working on a six-match, loss-side winning streak that would take him as far as the semifinals. He’d most recently eliminated Dave White 7-2 and Graham Swinson 7-1 to reach Harrell. Miller drew Nilbert Lim (no relation but a close friend of Reymart), who was working on his own six-match, loss-side streak that included recent wins over Daughtrey and Duggan, both 7-5.
Fleming and Lim handed Harrell and Miller their second straight loss; Fleming 7-5 over Harrell and Lim, 7-4 over Miller. Fleming and Lim fought to double hill in the quarterfinals that followed, with Fleming advancing to the semifinals against Roberts. The oft-sited intangible of momentum did not appear to work in Fleming’s favor in his matchup against Roberts. Roberts shut him out and earned his rematch against Lim in the hot seat.
The race was extended to 11 for the finals, though Roberts chalked up only as many racks as he’d won in the hot seat match. Lim won 11-5 to claim his second 2018 APT title.
Bill Duggan, who just did make it to the money rounds in the main event (tie for 7th, $100) went on to win a 13-entrant Second Chance tournament. Duggan lost a 2nd round match to Kenny Daughtrey, who tied for 9th in the main event, and came back to best Daughtrey 6-1 in the finals.
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Q-Master Billiards, as well as sponsors Kamui Tips, Diamond Billiard Products, Viking Cues, Predator Cues, George Hammerbacher Advanced Pool Instructor, Simonis Cloth, Aramith Billiard Balls, Ozone Billiards, and Tiger. The next stop on the Action Pool Tour, scheduled for September 8-9, will be hosted by Breakers Sky Lounge in Herndon, VA.

“The Scorpion” pays a visit to the Action Pool Tour and goes undefeated to win it

(l to r): Ronnie Alcano, Raymond Walters (TD) & Johnny Archer

Over the years, the Virginia-based Action Pool Tour (APT) has seen its share of top-notch professionals show up to compete on the tour. Dennis Orcollo, as just one example, who won last year’s VA State 10-Ball Championships, and just last month finished as runner-up at the 12th Annual Bob Stocks Memorial, behind Zoren James Aranas (both happened to be in the neighborhood, preparing to compete in the Super Billiards Expo). On the weekend of May 12-13, the APT drew two more, both for the first time – Johnny "The Scorpion" Archer and Ronnie "Volcano" Alcano – who not so surprisingly battled in the finals, with Archer winning to finish undefeated. In the three matches that each of them played, prior to the finals, they faced the same three opponents in slightly different order. In a strange sort of coincidence, two of the three they faced in that situation were players that Orcollo had to defeat to claim last year’s VA State 10-Ball title. The 10-Ball event, stop #5 on the 2018 APT, drew 45 entrants to Q Master Billiards in Virginia Beach, VA.
Eight of the APT’s top-10-ranked players at this stage of the season were on-hand to compete in this event (Shaun Wilkie, #3 and Kenny Miller, #9 did not). Neither Archer nor Alcano had to face any of those top eight players, which is about as straightforward a definition of ‘luck of the draw’ that you’re likely to find. Archer got by Jacki Duggan (#42 on the tour), Lea Owens, and Kenny Daughtrey (#14), before downing RJ Carmona (the first of his last three, prior to the finals against Alcano; #13) and drawing Reymart Lim (#10) in a winners’ side semifinal. By this time, Alcano was already at work on the loss side, having been defeated by Mike Davis (#22) in a winners’ side quarterfinal. Davis advanced to face Dave White in the other winners’ side semifinal.
Archer sent Lim to the loss side 7-5, and in the hot seat match, faced Davis, who’d defeated White 7-1. Archer claimed the hot seat 7-5 over Davis and waited for Alcano to face the same three opponents he’d just faced (Carmona, Lim and Davis) and challenge him in the finals.
On the loss side, Alcano opened his five-match, loss-side trip to the finals with a shutout over Daughtrey, and downed James Blackburn 7-5, to draw Lim. White   drew Carmona, who, following his defeat at the hands of Archer, had eliminated Bill Duggan 7-3 and JT Ringgold, double hill. Alcano started his duplication of Archer’s last three, out of order, first downing Lim 7-5, as Carmona was busy defeating White 7-2. Carmona put up a fight in the quarterfinals that followed, but Alcano prevailed to earn himself a re-match against Davis in the semifinals.
Alcano took care of Davis 7-2, and turned to face Archer in a race to 9. Archer completed his undefeated run with a 9-6 win that earned him his first APT title.
A Second Chance event, which drew 14 entrants, saw Jake Lawson, owner of Lights Out Billiards Apparel, come back from a 4-1 defeat in the hot seat match to down the tour’s #1-ranked player, Steve Fleming, in the finals. Lawson moved to the loss side to defeat Rob Gager 4-1 in the semifinals, and then battled to double hill against Fleming in the finals before closing it out to claim the Second Chance title.
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Q Master Billiards, as well as sponsors Predator Cues, Viking Cues, Tiger Cues, Ozone Billiards, Aramith Billiard Balls, Diamond Billiard Products, Kamui Tips, and George Hammerbacher Advanced Pool Instructor. The next stop on the Action Pool Tour, scheduled for the weekend of June 16-17, will be hosted by Diamond Billiards in Midlothian, VA.

Wilkie goes undefeated to claim third stop on Action Pool Tour

Scott Haas, Raymond Walters (TD) & Shaun Wilkie

One of the more intriguing additions to the 2018 Action Pool Tour (APT) is its emphasis on an end-of-year, $10,000 prize fund event for the tour’s top 64 members in the points race. In previous years, the top players on the tour’s ranking list at the end of a given year would receive some combination of entry fees, flight and hotel accommodations to a major event in the following year. This had a way of discouraging members, who, by mid-season, found themselves so far removed from the tour’s top-ranked players, that there was virtually no incentive to compete for those top, prize-winning spots. The new feature, relevant to members only (one year membership), gives them an opportunity to participate in an end-of-year event even if, mid-season, they’re below the entry threshold in points for the “$10,000 Top 64 Invitational.” Successful outcomes in just a couple of the tour’s events (or multiple modest outcomes over more events) could elevate them to invitation status, and eligible for the guaranteed $500 payout for anyone finishing among the top 16 in the year-end event, and the top $2,500 prize for the event’s winner.
It’s early in the 2018 APT season, but Shaun Wilkie joined the ranks of the tour’s top contenders for position among the top 64 at the end of the year, with an undefeated run on the weekend of March 10-11. At a “Bar Box Bash,” 8-ball event, offering double points, and hosted by Peninsula Billiards in Newport News, VA, Wilkie, who was the tour’s 2017 champion, moved up to #6 in the tour rankings, behind Eric Moore, Kenny Miller, Reymart Lim, Steve Fleming and Jason Trigo. His run through the field of 44 was accomplished by allowing only one opponent to chalk up more than three racks against him in races to 6.
Following victories over Paul Swinson (3), Charles Rankin (2) and Kenny Daughtrey (1), Scott Roberts gave Wilkie a double-hill run for his money. Wilkie prevailed and moved into a winners’ side semifinal against Steve Fleming. James Blackburn, in the meantime, who’d started his campaign off with a 6-4 victory over rankings leader, Eric Moore, squared off against Scott Haas in the other one. Wilkie defeated Fleming 6-2, as Blackburn sent Haas (Wilkie’s eventual opponent in the finals) to the loss side 6-3. Wilkie downed Blackburn in the hot seat match, and waited on the return of Haas.
On the loss side, Fleming and Haas walked right into double hill challenges. Fleming drew Dave White, who, defeated in his opening round, double hill by Scott Haas, was in the midst of a seven-match, loss-side winning streak that would take him as far as the quarterfinals (against Scott Haas, as it turned out). He’d most recently defeated Thomas Haas 5-3 and Jim Montgue 5-2 to reach Fleming. Scott Haas drew Rick Scarleto, who’d defeated Tim Collins 5-2 and Kenny Miller 5-1.
Scott Haas and White advanced to their rematch in the quarterfinals with their double hill wins over Scarleto and Fleming, respectively. Haas then downed White a second time, this time 5-3, and gave up only a single rack to Blackburn in the semifinals. Wilkie completed his undefeated run with an 8-4 victory over Haas in the finals and claimed his first 2018 APT title.
A Second Chance Tournament drew 11 entrants. Randy Davis chalked up double hill wins in the hot seat match and finals (over Lee O’Neal and Clint Clayton, respectively) to claim the Second Chance title.
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Peninsula Billiards, as well as sponsors Kamui, Diamond Billiard Products, Viking Cues, Predator Cues, Tiger Products, Ozone Billiards, Simonis, and George Hammerbacher Advanced Pool Instructor. The next stop on the Action Pool Tour, scheduled for April 7-8, will be the Bob Stocks Memorial Tournament, hosted by First Break Café in Sterling, VA.

Rodney racks ’em up in Reno

A whopping two hundred, seventy-two players converged on ‘The biggest, little city in the world’ for the December 4-9, 2001 Reno Open, held at The Sands Casino/Hotel! This particular event was the 34th semi-annual open pool tournament for the casino. It has developed into quite the West Coast pool event. A pool enthusiast can find it all at the Reno Open: celebrities of the pool world casual and approachable, awesome high-stakes money matches when the tables are open for play, and terrific nightlife activities.
For years now Jimmy Gigante, former owner of Jimmy G’s poolroom, has thrown a party at each Open to honor the players and the event. Apparently, Jimmy is handing over the reigns to Dave Whitesell, who will now continue taking care of this social activity at each event. I am sure everyone will appreciate that!
From the number one player in the world, Cory Deuel to the elder statesman of West Coast pool, Ted Ito, this was a field to be excited about! These players came from far and wide; a hand-full were previous Sands champions; Varner, Archer, Davenport, and Horsfall; just to name a few.
With a storm blowing in the Sierras and the duels being fought on the green felt, the event held a captive audience. With the top prize of $12,000 in the offering, this would be a great Christmas gift indeed. Also in the mix was the $1000 divided up between the top three women finishers. The tournament staff definitely had their work cut out for them with day and night matches going simultaneously.
As I’m writing this, I recall how long, long ago, there was a referee at each table: to brush it before each match, call shots if necessary, keep Accu-Stats and just be there to witness, up close and personal, all the energy and talent that was bottled up in each and every player. This incorporated a sense of professionalism into the event, especially for those spectators that had not before seen a 9-Ball tournament. This helped to eliminate that stale, age-old reputation of pool being played in some dark, dingy, smoke-filled room with hoodlums lurking in the shadows.
Back to the tournament at hand – After a long hiatus from competitive pool, Rodney Morris was back in the competitive arena with a vengeance. He seemed to have a lot of time to make up for and he was definitely making sure people remembered who he was.
Late Saturday night, in the match against Shaun Putnam, he seemed to be on his last leg, with his opponent ahead 6-2, but Rodney has never been a quitter and he wasn’t about to start at this late point in the game. He tied the score at 7; then the match goes to the hill, where there is just a few balls between one player ending his quest, the other moving on to newer pastures and another day of competition. It was Morris who played a good defensive shot, earning himself a ball-in-hand and the match.
On the other side of the board, Nick Varner and Johnny Archer were battling it out, as they’ve done many times before. Nick stepped up with a commanding, one-sided 8-0 lead, taking the air out of Johnny’s sails. Although, Johnny made a valiant effort to come back, it was too little, too late as Nick took the match 9-4.
I can tell you from experience that many times, the matches contested on the Saturday night before the finals are more exciting than even the finals can be. In one such case, it was Rodney Morris and young Cory Deuel battling it out for their opportunity to move forward. With Rodney leading the match 7-2, Cory takes advantage of an opportunity and turns it into a four game winning streak, bringing the score to 7-6. Rodney makes a truly tough out on the next rack to get to the hill first. With the score 8-7, Rodney’s favor, Cory makes a bone-chilling break sending at least five balls to pockets, three rattled the jaws, none drop. With a two-nine combination between him and the match, Rodney ends the suspense and the match 9-7. As I said before, there are just too many terrific matches to recall, but that gives you a highlight.
Make your plans now for June 2002, where there’s sure to be more excitement and less snow for all to see!