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Alicea goes undefeated to capture his first Tri-State Tour title at Clifton Billiards

(l to r): Frank Sieczka & Mark Alicea

The last time Mark Alicea cashed in a Tri-State Tour stop was his debut on the tour, seven years ago. He was runner-up to George Osipovitch in that debut. Now, seven years (and five months) later, Alicea has chalked up what according to our records indicates, is his first tour victory. Mark is the brother of the late John Alicea, known as a protégé of George “Ginky” Sansouci and winner of numerous stops on both the Tri-State and Predator Tours, before passing away in November of 2012. Brother Mark went undefeated at a $1,000-added event, held on Saturday, November 26. The event drew 35 entrants to Clifton Billiards in Clifton, NJ.
Alicea advanced to the hot seat match after a 5-3 win over Mac Jankov in a winners’ side semifinal. He was joined by Pashk Gjini, who’d sent Frank Sieczka to the loss side 5-4. Alicea claimed the hot seat 5-2 over Gjini, and waited on the return of Sieczka.
On the loss side, Sieczka opened his three-match march back to the finals against Jowen Picardo, who’d defeated Daniel Feliciano 5-2 and Michelle Brotons 6-3 to reach him. Jankov drew Mike Mele, who was on a seven-match, loss-side run that would take him as far as the quarterfinals. He’d shut out Gil McGrath and survived a double hill fight against Matt Klein to face Jankov.
Mele advanced one more step with a 5-2 win over Jankov, and was joined in the quarterfinals by Sieczka, who’d eliminated Picardo 5-1. Sieczka brought an unceremonious end to Mele’s loss-side run with a shutout over him in the quarterfinals.
Sieczka and Gjini fought to double hill in the semifinals that followed, with Sieczka dropping the last ball and advancing for a shot against Alicea, waiting for him in the hot seat. Alicea completed his undefeated, first-tour-win run with a 5-2 victory over Sieczka in the finals.
Tri-State representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Clifton Billiards for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui Tips, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, Human Kinetics, Pool & Billiards, Professor Q Ball, Bender Cues, and DIGICUE OB. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for Sunday, December 10, will be a $1,000-added event, hosted by Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY.

Chen gets by Duddy twice to go undefeated on Tri-State Tour

Emily Duddy and Quin Y Chen

Though he finished undefeated, at around 4 a.m. on a Sunday morning, Quin Y Chen’s journey to the winner’s circle of the Tri-State Tour stop on March 3, was not without its challenges; specifically, Emily Duddy, who met him, first, in the hot seat, and chalked up as many racks in the double hill battle against him as three of Chen’s four previous opponents combined. She’d return to challenge him again in the finals, and again, he prevailed to capture the event title. The $500-added, A-D handicapped event drew 55 entrants to Castle Billiards in East Rutherford, NJ.

After an opening round bye, Chen (racing to 6) faced four opponents to get into the hot seat match against Duddy, and didn’t give up more than three racks against any of them. He gave up two each to Eddie Perez and Cory Sohlman, before Michael Rodriguez managed three against him. He gave up two more among the winners’ side final four versus William Zarzour and moved into the hot seat match. Duddy, by contrast, (racing to 7, and in one case, 8) opened strong with a 7-1 victory over Chris Peralta, but got locked up in a second round, double hill fight against Bogie Uzdejcyzk. She survived that battle and then downed two Tri-State regulars, Ed Culhane (7-4) and Scott Simonetti (8-4), to join Chen among the winners’ side final four. She survived a second double hill fight against Steve Way 7-6 to face Chen in the battle for the hot seat. They faced each other for the first time, with an aggregate score total of 24-9 (Chen, 72%) to 36-21 (Duddy, 63%). 

Chen took an early lead in the hot seat battle, but Duddy fought back to knot things at double hill. A fateful decision on a 6-ball in the final game (difficult bank, or safe; she chose safe), left Chen with a difficult shot. A kick-bank dropped the 6-ball, and he ran out from there to claim the hot seat.

On the loss-side, Michael Rodriguez was in the midst of a four-game winning streak that would propel him into the semifinals versus Duddy. He got by George Osipovitch and Eddie DaCosta, both double hill, to draw Zarzour, coming over from the winners’ side final four. Steve Way drew Joe Palone, who’d defeated Culhane 7-3 and Simonetti 8-6. Rodriguez downed Zarzour 6-4, as Palone was eliminating Way 7-5. Rodriguez got his shot against Duddy with a 7-5 victory over Palone in the quarterfinals.

Rodriguez got off to a quick start in the semifinals against Duddy, advancing to the hill at six games, before Duddy mounted a comeback that eventually tied the match and then, won it. It was already 3 a.m. on Sunday morning, but Chen and Duddy opted to tough it out and play the final match. Chen won it 7-4 to take top honors.

Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Castle Billiards, as well as sponsors Sterling-Gaming, Ozone Billiards, Ron Tarr Cues, Kamui Tips, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, and Human Kinetics.

Gabia goes undefeated on Tri-State Tour

Ron Gabia went into the Saturday, January 14 stop on the Tri-State Tour, third in the 2011-2012 tour rankings in his B+ class. He went undefeated when, by mutual agreement, he did not have to face Ed Culhane in the finals. Culhane, who entered the tournament in first place in those B+ rankings, had been sent west by Joe Palone in the opening round, and won nine straight before agreeing to a split of the top prizes, and ceding the first place finish to Gabia. The $500-added, A-D handicapped event drew 47 entrants to Castle Billiards in East Rutherford, NJ.

With Culhane battling in the west bracket, Gabia advanced to the winners’ side final four to face Palone, who’d sent Culhane over. Cory Sohlman, in the meantime, squared off against George Osipovitch. Palone battled Gabia to double hill before giving way to send Gabia to the hot seat match, as Sohlman defeated Osipovitch 6-1. Gabia, in what proved to be his final match, didn’t give up a single rack in his hot seat victory over Sohlman.

Palone’s first opponent on the loss-side was a re-match versus Culhane, with four victories behind him, including a 7-4 win over Brian Jeziorski and a 7-5 victory over Annie Flores. Osipovitch drew Ed Dacosta, who’d gotten by Bernie Vogelsang 6-2 and Rick Shellhouse 6-5. Culhane made it five straight with a 7-5 rematch victory over Palone, while Dacosta moved to join him in the quarterfinals with a 6-2 win over Osipovitch. 

Culhane defeated Dacosta 7-6 and in his last match of the day, downed Sohlman 8-5 in the semifinals. It was early AM Sunday when Gabia and Culhane opted to split the top prizes, and award Gabia the 1st place finish.

Tour representatives thanked the staff and management of Castle Billiards for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Sterling-Gaming, Ozone Billiards, Ron Tarr Cues, Kamui Tips, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, and Human Kinetics. The Tri-State’s next stop, a $750-added, double points event, is scheduled for Saturday, January 28 at the Port Richmond Billiard Club on Staten Island, NY.