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Abbasi wins two-match battle to claim B & L’s 2nd event of 10-Ball Mini-Series

Omer Abbasi

Among the many events produced by MD’s B & L Billiards Tournaments, the organization has set up a series of 12 events, with competitors earning points toward becoming one of 16 to be invited to an end-of-season championship. It’s B & L’s 10-Ball Mini-Series, which, this past weekend (Feb. 11-12) held its second qualifying tournament at the Series’ home, Bank Shot Bar & Grill in Laurel, MD. There are no dues associated with participation in the series, only entry fees. The end-of-season invitational event will not require an entry fee. B & L will be fund-raising throughout the series to create a prize fund that will be distributed at the Series’ championship event, scheduled for Dec. 2. That prize fund will be distributed between a main event for the invited top 16 players, a first and second-place prize for the top finishers in a single-elimination event, featuring the players who finished 17th through 32nd in the series’ standings at the end of the year and prizes for the top three finishers in the series’ standings.

It’s a little early to start considering who’s in or out in the competition for this year-long series and its end-of-season finale. The first two events had different winners. Derek Crothers won the season opener in January. This past weekend, Feb. 11-12, at an event that drew 39 entrants to Bank Shot Bar & Grill, Omer Abbasi and Obed Rosario battled twice, in their second round and in the finals. Abbasi went undefeated to the hot seat and waited for Rosario to complete a seven-match, loss-side winning streak. Abbasi lost the opening round of a true double-elimination final, but rallied in the second set to claim the title.

Abbasi opened with a 6-1 victory over Lucas Kilgore, as Rosario was busy surviving a double hill battle versus Rich Livering. They battled in that second round to double hill. With two beads on the wire in a race to 6, Rosario found himself in his second straight double hill match. This one ended up with him heading to the loss side, as Abbasi advanced to down Rick Molineiro 6-1 and pick up the winner of the first event of the series, Derek Crothers, in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Justin Greber, in the meantime, advanced through Anthony Garcia, Aaron Surguy, Thaddeus Patrice and Joe Orla to arrive at his winners’ side semifinal match against Mike Denbow.

Greber earned his spot in the hot seat match with a 6-3 win over Denbow. Abbasi joined him after sending Crothers to the loss side 6-4. Over the next 12 games, Greber only chalked up a single win, beginning with the shutout that put Abbasi in the hot seat.

On the loss side, Rosario embarked on his seven-match winning streak that had recently eliminated Joe Orla 5-1 and Linh Nguyen 5-2 to pick up Crothers. Denbow picked up Molineiro, who’d followed his loss to Abbasi with two straight double hill wins over Thaddeus Patrice and David Sund.

In a third straight double hill battle, Molineiro downed the racing-to-4 Denbow 7-3.  Rosario spoiled any hope Crothers may have been entertaining of a second win in the 10-Ball Mini Series by eliminating him 4-3 (Crothers racing to 6). 

Rosario stopped Molineiro’s loss-side streak at three, defeating him 4-5 in those quarterfinals (Molineiro racing to 7). He then eliminated Greber 5-1 in the semifinals for a second shot at Abbasi, waiting for him in the hot seat.

With Abbasi racing to 6, Rosario took the first set of the true double elimination final 4-2. If the time lag between hot seat and finals had taken an edge off of Abbasi’s game, that first set sharpened it again. He gave up only a single rack to Rosario in the second set, claiming the event title 6-1.

The next stop on the B & L 10-Ball Mini Series is scheduled for March 12 at Bank Shot Bar & Grill. 

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Brothers battles back in finals to win B & L 2nd Annual Fargo Open 9-Ball Championship

Josh Brothers

At the height of Josh Brothers’ pool career, defined by us here at AZBilliards as his best earnings year (2010), he finished among the top five competitors in 18 of the 19 (recorded) events in which he cashed that year. He won 10 of them; nine on the Mezz Pro Am Tour and was that year’s Maryland State Champion in a November event at which Manny Chau finished in the tie for 5th place. Twelve years later, this past weekend (Sept. 17), Brothers went undefeated at the B & L Billiards Tournaments’ 2nd Annual Fargo Open 9-Ball Championships and had to come from behind in the finals versus Manny Chau, who’d won seven on the loss side to challenge him. The event drew 78 entrants to Bank Shot Bar & Grill in Laurel, MD.

Brothers, racing to 8 throughout, was moving right along through his opponents (racing to between 5 and 7), who were chalking up an average of three or four racks against him; Sam Roberts (3), Josh Mohammed (2), Shawn Toni (4) and Rick Molineiro (2). This set Brothers up in a winners’ side semifinal match against Tom Zippler. Marvin Ramirez, in the meantime, racing to 5, got by Jenn Benton (1), Brandon Vaughan (3), junior competitor Nathan Childress (4, racing to 8), Curtis Branker (4, racing to 6) and Derek Crothers (4, racing to 7), which set him up to face Matt Krah in the other winners’ side semifinal. Krah had been responsible for sending Manny Chau to the loss side in the third round. 

Brothers advanced to the hot seat match 8-4 over Zippler and was joined by Ramirez, who’d defeated Krah 5-5 (Krah racing to 7), sending him west to an immediate rematch against Chau. 

Brothers shut Ramirez out to claim the hot seat.

On the loss side, Chau had chalked up loss-side wins #3 & #4 against Rick Molineiro 8-5 and Mike Saleh, double hill (8-6), when who should show up but the man who’d made all that extra loss-side work necessary, Matt Krah. Zippler drew Derek Crothers, who’d followed his winners’ side quarterfinal loss to Ramirez with wins over Richey Orem 7-2 and Scott Haas 7-4. 

Krah had a single ‘bead on the wire’ in a race to 8. He could have been given five of them, because Chau eliminated him 8-2. Crothers downed Zippler 7-2 and then had his brief, loss-side run stopped by Chau in the quarterfinals 8-1.

Chau had his hands full in the double hill semifinals that followed. Ramirez started the match with three ‘beads on the wire’ in a race to 8 and won four of the five he needed to win. Chau chalked up his eight and turned to face Roberts waiting for him in the hot seat.

Fresh off his double hill win in the semifinals, Chau opened the finals with five straight racks before Brothers got on the board. Brothers went on to win seven of the next nine games; #6 put him on the hill, #7 gave him the championship.

Co-tour directors Brian Kilgore and Lai Li thanked the ownership and staff at Bank Shot Bar & Grill for their hospitality, as well as all of those who came to play, to whom they extended their congratulations.

“We ended up a little short of our (attendance) goal,” noted Kilgore, “but with 78 unbelievable, game-ready competitors, we couldn’t be too upset.”

Special congratulations were extended to the winner and runner-up for “a roller coaster final set,” as well as to B & L regular and third-place finisher, Marvin Ramirez, in his first time “going deep” in one of the organization’s singles events.

“An unbelievable run,” said Kilgore, “beating two ‘700’ Fargos and multiple monsters along the way.”

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Deska comes back from semifinals to win second straight Action Pool Tour stop

With a couple of significant 'cats' away, a few fairly formidable 'mice' came out to play at the Action Pool Tour's fourth stop of the year. One of the 'cats' who stayed behind for the April 9-10 stop was Brian Deska, who came back from a hot seat defeat to challenge Jimmy Varias and win his second straight Action Pool Tour stop. The event, missing regular APT 'cats' Brandon Shuff and Shaun Wilkie, who were competing in the Don Coates Memorial in Raleigh, NC, drew 41 entrants to First Break Cafe in Sterling, VA.
Sporting remarkably similar won/loss records, featuring only three kinds of scores (8-5, 8-2 and each recording a shutout), Deska (32-9) and Varias (32-12) advanced to a winners' side semifinal against an opponent named Paul; Deska versus Paul Helms and Varias against Paul Cogle. Deska chalked up his second 8-5 score, defeating Helms, while Varias won his first 8-3 match, sending Cogle to the loss side. Varias won his second 8-3 match, defeating Deska to claim the hot seat.
On the loss side, Helms picked up Alan Duty, who was in the midst of a five-match, loss-side winning streak that would take him as far as the quarterfinals. He won his third and fourth loss-side matches against Derek Crothers 7-2 and Chris Hansen 7-3. Cogle drew Will Moon, who'd been sent to the loss side by Deska in a winners' side quarterfinal and was on his own, somewhat shorter loss-side streak that would advance him to the semifinals. Moon had defeated Trevor Dentz 7-1 and Paul Oh 7-4 to draw Cogle.
Duty downed Helms 7-4 and in the quarterfinals, met up with Moon, who'd eliminated Cogle 7-5. Moon ended Duty's loss-side run with a 7-5 victory in those quarterfinals, to earn himself a re-match against Deska. Deska, though, obviously determined, defeated Moon a second time, but not before Moon had forced a final, deciding 15th game. 
Deska's second shot at Varias came within a game of coming to double hill. In the end, though, Deska pulled out in front to win it 10-8 and claim his second straight APT title of the year. The victory movEd Deska up on the tour's ranking list, from outside of the top 10 to within three of the leader, the absent-for-this-stop Shuff and the VA State 10-Ball Champion, Eric Moore.