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Panzarella stops loss-side run by Ramirez to claim Predator title

Ray Feliciano, Lidio Ramirez, Mike Panzarella and Eugene Ok

Two A+ players squared off in the finals of the June 17-18 stop on the Predator Tour. One of them, Mike Panzarella, was looking for his first win on the tour since last September. The other one, Lidio Ramirez, who, on the basis of seven appearances, entered the event at #2 on the A+ list, was looking for his first win on the tour since May, 2016. They'd faced each other in a winners' side semifinal in the September event, with Panzarella advancing to the hot seat and eventually, the win. They came within a match of meeting each other in a winners' side semifinal again in this one, but Ramirez was sent to the loss side, where he mounted a three-match, loss-side campaign that put him into the finals. Panzarella, appearing in only his fourth event on this year's tour, defeated Ramirez to claim the title. The $1,000-added event drew 57 entrants to Raxx Billiards in West Hempstead, NY.
It was Ricky Motilal who faced Ramirez in the winners' side quarterfinals, and advanced to a winners' side semifinal against Panzarella. Eugene Ok, in the meantime, who entered the tournament atop the tour's B-ranked players, advanced to meet Abel Rosario (#2 in that B class). Ok sent Rosario to the loss side 7-4, while Panzarella was busy surviving a double hill battle against Motilal. Panzarella downed Ok 8-5 and sat in the hot seat, waiting on Ramirez.
Ramirez opened his loss-side run with a 7-5 win over Duc Lam, and followed it with a double hill win over Raphael Dabreo, who'd won last week's (June 10-11) stop on the tour. That set Ramirez up for a re-match versus Motilal. Rosario drew Ray Feliciano, who'd defeated George Floriden 7-3 and Thomas Schreiber 7-5 to reach him. Ramirez and Feliciano advanced to the quarterfinals; Ramirez successfully navigating his re-match over Motilal 8-6, and Feliciano eliminating Rosario 7-5.
Ramirez then downed Feliciano 9-5, and then, Ok 8-5 in the semifinals. Panzarella completed his undefeated run with a double hill win over Ramirez in the finals. The win moved Panzarella up a few notches from his #14 slot on the Predator Tour's A+ list, while Ramirez' runner-up finish inched him closer to the A+ leader, Elvis Rodriguez.