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Pinegar wins 2019 SBE Pro Am Bar Box Championship

Jonathan Pinegar (Photo courtesy Super Billiards Expo)

Davis tops largest SBE field of 1,024 to win Amateur Open
 
In its multi-discipline, varied-skill format that, with some overlap among 11 events, drew over 3,000 pool players to the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center at Oaks, PA over the weekend of March 28-31, the Super Billiard Expo’s Pro Am Bar Box Championships has always existed as something of a challenge. In 2018, they used the challenge in promoting the event, asking potential participants a simple question – How good do you really think you are?
 
Open to all levels of competitors, without restriction, its field is capped at 32 players, who play a ‘best of three set’ format with races to 6 in each set (all other Amateur events utilized the same format, although with races to 5 in each set). While encouraging and expecting a wide variety of players from the amateur to the pro, this year’s ProAm Bar Box Championships featured a field that was tipped somewhat toward the amateur end of things. Not completely, because it was won by 20-year veteran Jonathan Pinegar, who’s been winning and cashing in amateur and semi-pro events for nearly 20 years. Known throughout most of his career as “Hennessee from Tennessee,” Pinegar has, in recent years, been signing on to events with his given name. At this year’s SBE, he signed in as John Pinegar. This year’s runner-up was Demetrius Jelatis.
 
The posted brackets on the SBE Web site for all of the amateur events (including the ProAm Bar Box) do not indicate the scores of the individual sets, which masks the give and take of game-by-game scoring. Instead, each player is seen to have won their individual matches by only one of two possible outcomes; 2-0 or 2-1. There is no way of knowing, therefore, a given player’s game-winning percentage, only his or her set-winning percentage.
 
Pinegar won 10 of 12 sets he played over five matches. He opened with a 2-1 win over Alex Olinger, went 2-0 against Kevin West and allowed Scott Haas a single set in the third round, which brought him to a semifinal matchup against Justin Espinosa. Jelatis, in the meantime, won eight of the 12 sets he played over five matches. He opened with two straight 2-0 set victories over Shane Clayton and Alan Rolan, before giving up a set to Ryan McCreesh. This set him (Jelatis) up against Jorge Rodriguez in the other semifinal. Rodriguez is another one of those competitors who’s been competing at the semi-pro and pro-level for years.
 
Pinegar got into the finals with a 2-0 set victory over Espinosa. Jelatis joined him after a 2-1 set victory over Rodriguez. Pinegar completed his undefeated (in sets) run with a 2-0 victory over Jelatis.
 
Davis goes undefeated in his individual bracket, advances to win Amateur Open
 
In the largest field of the SBE, the Amateur Open, 1,024 entrants initially split up into 16 brackets of 64 players each. Each of those brackets delivered a single player to a Final 16 bracket. Phil Davis didn’t lose a single set (best of three sets in races to 5) in his initial bracket, going 2-0 against Chris Garrett, Matt Clatterbuck, Mark Alicea, Paul Swinson, Richard Anderson and in his bracket’s finals, Jason Balas. He gave up his first set in the opening round of the single-elimination final 16 bracket, going 2-1 against Joe Wright. He went back to his 2-0 pattern against Mark Nanashee in the second round, which moved him into the semifinals against Julio Burgos.
 
Raed Shabib, in the meantime, gave up his first set, in the opening round of his 64-player bracket, to Christopher Balderson. He didn’t give up another one until his bracket finals, having gone 2-0 against Abel Rosario, John Hoge, Bill Mason and Randy Tate. He took the bracket final 2-1 over James Adams. He opened the Final 16 portion of his run with a 2-1 victory over George Crawford and then downed Brett Stottlemeyer 2-0, to arrive at a semifinal against Chris Bruner.
 
Davis and Shabib advanced to the finals with identical 2-1 set victories over Burgos and Bruner, respectively. Davis completed his undefeated run with a 2-1 victory over Shabib in the finals.
 
Amateur highlights
 
The next highest attended Amateur tournament was the Open Seniors event (for 50+), which drew 384 entrants. Originally split into eight preliminary brackets, yielding a single winner, the event was won by Bobby Connor. He advanced through the Final 8 field with set wins over Oscar Bonilla and Dennis Spears, both 2-1. He was met in the finals by Efrain Morales, who’d defeated Joe Armeni 2-1 and Chuck Ross 2-0. Connor didn’t give up a set in claiming the Open Seniors title.
 
Next up, with 192 entrants, was the Super Seniors (65+), who started in four initial brackets, yielding a very short final field of four. Ed Matushoneck downed Tom Acciavatti 2-1 to claim his spot in the finals, and was joined by Ronny Park, who’d defeated Nelson Rivera 2-1. Matushoneck claimed the Super Seniors title with a 2-0 win over Park.
 
The Amateur Ladies drew 188, just four less than the Super Seniors. Combined, those two events would have yielded an enormously entertaining field with just four less than the Open Seniors event. As it was, the 188 ladies, like the Super Seniors, started with four initial 64-player brackets (with a number of opening round byes) and ended with a final field of 4. Rachel Lang and Michelle Jiang advanced to the finals without giving up a set to either Marie-France Blanchette and Stacey Tonkin. Lang downed Jiang in the finals two sets to one.
 
In the 12 and under Juniors event, which drew 56 entrants, Parker Jakubczak downed 2018 11 & under Junior National Champion Kyle Yi in the finals 2-1. In the 17 & under category, which drew 76 entrants, two-time 14 & under National Junior Champion Nathan Childress defeated Ivo Linkin in two straight sets.

Edwin Garcia wins 1st Predator Caribbean 10 Ball Open with undefeated run

This past weekend (Jan 26-27, 2019) Pool Players Factory in Puerto Rico hosted their first major event of the year with 5k added money thanks to the sponsorship of Predator Cues.  The event was open to all Puerto Rican, Caribbean and Latin American Players. 
 
Among those in attendance were Ruben Bautista (Mexico), Julio Burgos, Joselito Martinez, and Ricardo Joel Rodriguez, all Puerto Rican players currently living in the USA.  Other tournament notables were Alan Rolon, Efrain Morales, Edwin Toro, Anthony Perez, Jomax Garcia, Geovanni Serrano, Wilbert Ortiz, Wilfredo Camacho, Juan Poventud, Nelson Hernandez, Shooter Pagan, Miguel “Pito” Batista, among many others.
 
Sixty-four (64) players showed up for the two-day tournament with many of the top Islanders not disappointing their fans with brilliant plays throughout the event.  Format was two races to five with a sudden death match if necessary.  Much to the surprise of the tournament directors was the fact that 42 of the 126 matches (33%) went to a sudden-death game.  Obviously endurance and/or fatigue was a factor within the tournament.  Nonetheless by the end of the first day we had 16 of the best tournament players ready to chalk-up for the first-place prize of $ 4,000.
 
The last four players in the event were Edwin Garcia and Julio Burgos in the winner’s side and Reinaldo Dendariarena and Ruben Bautista in the one-loss side.  Reinaldo was sent to the one-loss side by Edwin Garcia, and Ruben Bautista was sent by Julio Burgos.  Both matches were decided by sudden death wins. 
 
Reinaldo and Ruben Bautista then met for the 4th place prize with a fairly easy win for Bautista.  Edwin Garcia and Julio Burgos were now setup to meet each other to see whom was to claim the hot seat of the tournament.  Edwin Garcia won the first set 5 to 3.  Julio Burgos won the second set 5-2.  Sudden death went to Edwin Garcia with a break and run.
 
A rematch between Julio Burgos and Ruben Bautista was now in play.  Everyone was excited since Julio (Puerto Rico) had won against Ruben (Mexico) in their previous match.   After the dust was cleared, Ruben had ousted Julio with two wins by score of 5-1 and 5-1 with Julio Burgos obtaining third place in the event.
 
For the Championship Match between Edwin Garcia and Ruben Bautista, more excitement was built-up.  Ruben Bautista had been determined to be the tournament favorite at the get-go, and obviously there was a sense by some people that Bautista could snatch the event.  Edwin Garcia is one of the best top 2 players in Puerto Rico and everyone was certain that Edwin would not go down easily; and that he too had a great chance of success.
 
On the last match of the night, Ruben took the first set 5-2.  Edwin came back with a 5-3 win, and now the outcome of the event relied on the 42nd sudden-death match of the tournament.  Edwin won the lag but came up with a dry break, Ruben played a safety on the one, Edwin returned the safety. Ruben had to jump the cue-ball leaving the one open.  Edwin pocketed the one but tried to leave a safe on the two returning the table to Ruben.  Ruben proceeded to pocket the two, three, and four ball.  The five was straight-in to the upper right corner, a makeable ball but somehow Ruben rattled the 5 and that was it for Ruben’s performance.  Edwin cleared the table and claimed the tournament Championship.
 
Jose Garcia and Alejandro Rodriguez, proud owners of Pool Players Factory, the largest pool hall in the Caribbean with (14) Diamond Pro Tables and six (6) 7ft Smart Tables greeted players and fans alike.  Also on a very special and surprise appearance, Mr. Karim Belhaj, CEO of Predator Cues addressed the crowd on day two with encouraging words as to a sponsored tour for the Island, with future Predator sponsored events like this one.  Needless to say, Mr. Belhaj made the day for all of us whom have been dreaming of something like this to happen.  We thank Jose Garcia, Alejandro Rodriguez and Karim Belhaj for the great news and their combined willingness to help establish a Puerto Rican Tour.