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Shlemperis wins his first 2016 Predator stop

Marvin Phisitkraiyakorn, Dave Shlemperis and Xavier Romero

It's been something of a 'dry' year for Dave Shlemperis, who divides his time between the Predator and Tri-State Tours. He's a B+ player on both tours and has participated in 19 total events, nine on the Predator Tour, but until the weekend of June 18-19, he had yet to record an event win. According to our records, he had his second best earnings year in 2015, when he won a stop on the Tri-State Tour and cashed in eight other events. His best year was 2013, when he won a stop on the Predator Tour, a Second Chance event on the Joss Tour, and cashed in 10 other events. Shlemperis went undefeated to chalk up his first 2016 victory on the weekend of June 18-19, during a $1,000-added, double-points stop on the Predator Tour that drew 57 entrants to Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY.
Shlemperis had to get by Martin Phisitkraiyakorn twice in this event; once, in the hot seat, and again, in the finals. Shlemperis had defeated Lidio Ramirez 7-6 in one winners' side semifinal, as This was sending Javier Romero to the loss side 7-3 in the other. Shlemperis got into the hot seat with an 8-3 win over Phisitkraiyakorn, and waited on his return.
On the loss side, Ramirez picked up Carl Yusuf Khan, who'd defeated Matthew Harricharan and Fernando Paulino, both double hill, to reach him. Romero drew Troy Deocharran, who picked up a forfeit victory over Lucas Fracas, and survived a double hill fight versus Thomas Schreiber. 
Ramirez and Romero advanced to the quarterfinals; Ramirez 7-4 over Khan and Romero, double hill over Deocharran. Romero took the quarterfinal match over Ramirez 8-4 and advanced to a   re-match against Phisitkraiyakorn in the semifinals.
Romero chalked up one more rack against Phisitkraiyakorn, than he had in their winners' side semifinal match, but it was Phisitkraiyakorn, advancing to a re-match versus Shlemperis with a 7-4 win. Shlemperis claimed the event title with an 8-3 re-match victory over Phisitkraiyakorn in the finals.

Zvi downs The Iceman twice to go undefeated on 6th Annual Ginky Memorial

Alan Rolon, Zion Zvi and Mika Immonen

In what might be arguably described as his biggest tournament win ever, Zion Zvi worked his way undefeated through a field of 53 Open/Pro competitors, on-hand for the 6th Annual George "Ginky" Sansouci Memorial Tournament. Held over Memorial Day weekend, under the combined auspices of the Predator, Tri-State and Mezz Tours, the $2,000-added 10-Ball event, run concurrently with a $2,000-added Amateur event that drew 190 entrants (separate story), was hosted by Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY.
It was the fifth time that Zvi had cashed in this annual memorial event, finishing 5th twice (2013, 2011), 4th once (2012) and last year, finishing in the tie for 13th. He'd won three stops on the Predator tour last year, but this year's Ginky Memorial proved to be his first 2016 victory on the tour. According to tour director Tony Robles, the win should elevate Zvi to an A++ rating, on the tour, which, he said, means that going forward "he'll have to win two more games to beat me."
In a post-match interview, Zvi was still a little stunned. Not only that had he won, but had done so by beating The Iceman, Mika Immonen, twice.
"I need to adjust to (the win),' he told Upstate Al from AZBTV, minutes after the final. "To beat Mika once is tough.
"When I played him in the hot seat match, I felt the heat," he added, "but I just kept grinding."
As every winner of this tournament has done since the tradition began in 2011, Zvi acknowledged the tournament's namesake – George "Ginky" Sansouci.
"I'd known Ginky since 2006," Zvi said, referring to the year he arrived here from Tel Aviv. "He always treated me like I'd grown up with him. I was blessed to know him and grinded every match because of him. He motivated me to win."
By Sunday afternoon, Zvi had advanced to a winners' side semifinal against Jonathan Smith, while Tony Robles squared off against The Iceman. It was already the first time that in six years, Robles was in line for prize money at the tournament he'd helped to create. Zvi downed Smith 9-4, as Immonen was sending Robles to the loss side 9-5. Zvi claimed the hot seat 9-5 over Immonen and waited on his return.
On the loss side, Robles and Smith ran into two juggernauts; one, a two-time former Ginky Memorial winner, Mike Dechaine, who'd eliminated Fernando Paulino 9-4 and Bucky Souvanthong 9-5 to draw Robles, and the other, Alan Rolon, from Puerto Rico, who was on a loss-side streak that would take him to the semifinals, who'd downed Sean King and John Morra, both 9-7 to pick up Smith. 
Though he'd jump out to an early 4-0 lead in a bid to reach the quarterfinals, Robles eventually succumbed to Dechaine 9-4. Rolon eliminated the veteran Smith 9-7. A thrilling double hill quarterfinal followed, which ended with Dechaine settling for fourth place.
Over his last four matches to reach the semifinals against Immonen, opponents had averaged seven racks against him in the races to 9. The Iceman allowed him only two and earned himself a second shot against Zvi, in the modified race to 11, meaning that if Immonen, from the loss side, reached 9 first, the match would extend to 11 games. If Zvi, in the hot seat, reached 9 first, it would be over.
The final match was delayed in order to have it play out on the AZBTV table, which, at the end of the Open/Pro semifinals, was featuring the Amateur finals between Tony Liang and Juan Guzman. Though hard to measure, the short delay seemed to benefit Immonen, who opened the finals with two straight racks. Zvi caught up quickly to create the first of five tie scores in the match.
Mika took game #5, but Zvi came back with two, the second of which entailed a 1-10 combination that Immonen had literally handed to Zvi by attempting the combination himself and missing it. Immonen, known to have a bit of a temper, was visibly unhappy. Over the course of games #8 and #9, they both started missing relatively easy shots, and at the end of game #10, Zvi was ahead by two (6-4).
Immonen used a 2-10 combo to pull within one, and then used a 6-10 combo that Zvi had given him to knot things at 6-6. They traded racks to 7-7, Zvi reached the hill first and The Iceman followed suit. Zvi completed his undefeated run in the case game to claim his first 2016 title, at the 6th Annual George "Ginky" Sansouci Memorial.
In addition to thanking everyone who came down to Steinway Billiards to honor George "Ginky" Sansouci, Tony Robles thanked both the Tri-State and Mezz Tours for their cooperation and assistance, along with Steinway Billiards' owner, Manny Stamatakis, and his staff. He also extended his thanks to sponsors Predator Cues, National Amateur Pool League, Ozone Billiards, Delta-13 racks, Gotham City Technologies,, The DeVito Team, Billiards Press, AZ Billiards, Billiards Digest, and Pool & Billiard Magazine. He also thanked William Finnegan, Mandy Wu, and Irene Kim for their assistance with the tournament, as well as his wife, Gail Robles.

Faraguna goes undefeated to win Amateur Predator stop

Fernando Paulino, Manny Stamatakis, Abel Rosario, Dan Faraguna and James Stevens

Two out of three of Dan Faraguna's final three matches at an April 23-24 stop on the Predator Tour went double hill. He won them both, and the hot seat match to complete an undefeated run on the $1,500-added Amateur Predator Tour stop that drew 70 entrants to Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY.
Faraguna's opponent in both the hot seat match and finals was Fernando Paulino. Faraguna had sent Abel Rosario to the loss side in the first of two double hill matches he needed to secure the event title. Paulino had defeated James Stevens 8-6. Faraguna claimed the hot seat over Paulino 9-7.
On the loss side, Rosario picked up Andrzej Kaldan, who'd defeated Akiko Taniyama 7-5 and Dany Recinos 7-4 to reach him. Stevens drew Steinway Billiards' owner, Manny Stamatakis, who was on a six-match, loss-side ride that began when Stevens had defeated him in a winners' side match. Stamatakis picked up loss-side wins #3 and #4 against Koka Davladze 7-3 and Basdeo "Shawn" Sookhai 7-4. 
Stamatakis won his re-match against Stevens 7-5. He was joined, in the quarterfinals, by Rosario, who'd given up only a single rack to Kaldan. Stamatakis then defeated Rosario 8-6, before ending his loss-side run with a 7-1 defeat at the hands of Paulino in the semifinals.
Paulino's second shot at Faraguna in the finals went double hill. Faraguna won it to complete his undefeated run and claim the event title.

Paulino comes back from semifinals to down Greibesland and claim Tri-State title

Jessica-Lynn Greibsland and Fernando Paulino

It looked for a while there, near the end, as if Jennifer Lynn-Greibesland was going to go undefeated and claim her first Tri-State Tour title. She got off to a hot 5-0 start in the finals against Fernando Paulino, whom she’d defeated previously in the hot seat match, but Paulino rallied and took the last three games of the match to claim his own first Tri-State title. The $1,000-added event, held on Saturday, August 15, drew 46 entrants to Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY.
Following wins over Stewart Warnock, Duc Lam (double hill), Kapriel Delimelkonoglu, and Richard Ng (double hill), Paulino squared off against Alex Osipov in a winners’ side semifinal. Lynn-Greibesland, in the meantime, faced Nevine Lepovac. Paulino advanced to the hot seat match 7-4 over Osipov, and was joined by Greibesland, who’d sent Lepovac west 6-4. Greibesland grabbed the hot seat 10-7 and waited on Paulino’s return.
Osipov and Lepovac moved over and picked up Richard Ng and Gary Serrano, respectively. Ng had survived a double hill fight against Rhys Chen and defeated Thomas Rice 7-5 to draw Osipov. Serrano had eliminated Brian Dorfman 6-3 and Mike Figueroa 6-2 to face Lepovac. 
Osipov downed Ng 7-5, as Serrano was busy eliminating Lepovac 6-5. Osipov took the subsequent quarterfinal match over Serrano 8-5 to earn himself a re-match versus Paulino in the semifinals. Paulino defeated him a second time by the same 7-4 score to earn his own re-match against Greibesland.
In spite of the wait, Greibesland came out gunning, chalking up five straight to open the finals. Paulino, though, fought right back with five of his own, at which point they battle back and forth, one game at a time to a 7-7 tie. Paulino closed it out with another five-rack run to claim his first Tri-State title.
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Steinway Billiards, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui Tips, Ron Vitello, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, Human Kinetics, and Bloodworth Ball Cleaners. The next Tri-State event, scheduled for Saturday, August 29-30, will be hosted by Amsterdam Billiards in Manhattan.