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Hugo Patino Wins Fifth Career USBA National Championship

Hugo Patino

In what turned out to be a rematch of last year’s finals, Hugo Patino defeated Pedro Piedrabuena in the finals of the 2024 United States Billiard Association National Championship. 

The event was held at The Billiard House in Modesto, California on April 25th – 28th, and started with sixty one players competing in round robin twenty five point matches. With Patino and Piedrabuena finishing as the top two players in the group stages, they ended up on opposite sides of the final twenty four player bracket, with both players seeing a path to face off in the finals. 

Both players took advantage of first round byes on the final board (due to their top finishes in group stages) and then both players turned in very similar looking wins in the round of sixteen. Patino defeated Kang Shin 40-22 in 37 innings, while Piedrabuena defeated Jesus Corona 40-20 in 37 innings. Both Patino and Piedrabuena averaged 1.081 points per inning. 

The next two rounds saw dominating performances from both players with Patino defeating Carlos Mario Villegas and Harry Pena by identical 40-16 scorelines, and Piedrabuena beating Jim Semerci 40-6 and then 2020 National Champion Tae Kyu Lee 40-25. 

Between Patino and Piedrabuena, they own seventeen USBA National Championship titles with Piedrabuena having won the event for the last three years. 

The final match was described on the USBA website: “In the 24th inning in the final match it was Hugo Patino ahead 36 to 24 in 24. Pedro put together a run of 7 to close the gap to make it 36-31. Hugo answered with 2 points needing only two more, but has to sit down after a miss leaving an opening for Pedro, but Pedro misses a sensitive ticky shot! Hugo scores one, but the tension gets the best of a short angle shot as he misses to close out the match. Pedro plays into a kiss and Hugo finishes, capturing his 5th USBA National Championship title.”

In the playoff for third place, it was Tae Kyu Lee scoring a 40-38 win in 41 innings over Harry Pena. 

As would be expected, Patino had the highest total average for the event, with a 1.404 Grand Average. Piedrabuena scored the events best game with 40 points in 23 innings against Semerci (1.739 average) and Tae Kyu Lee had the event’s highest run with 13 consecutive points. 

Fans can watch all of the matches on YouTube ( with English commentary or on Facebook with Spanish commentary ( Full details from the event are available at the USBA Website at

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Young Kyu Lee Upsets Patino, Daniel Jeong & Harry Pena Win 3 Cushion Scotch Event At Carom Cafe

Carom Cafe in Flushing, New York was the place to be on the weekend of March 18 – 21 for back to back United States Billiard Association (USBA) 3-Cushion Pro events. 

First up, was a sixteen team scotch doubles event with teams separated into four groups of four team in round robin play with the top two teams from each group advancing into a single elimination bracket. While Carom Cafe has historically kept with traditional 3-cushion competition formats, this event was their first foray in Scotch Doubles. With the overwhelming positive response by the players, look for more events like this at Carom Cafe in the future. 

The top team in the group stages was Sonny Cho & Mike Chen, who won all three matches (90 total points) and allowed 55 points against. Two other teams turned in undefeated group records, Daniel Jeong & Harry Pena and Mark Ahn & Young Kyu Lee. The final group winner was Eric Kwon & Sang Jin Lee, who won two matches and lost a nail biter to Carlos Mario & John Guldali 30-28. 

Kwon & Lee got the opportunity to avenge that close loss in the first round of the single elimination bracket, as they faced Mario & Guldali right out of the gate. It was an even closer match this time, with Kwon & Lee scoring a 30-29 win. All three of the other group winners pairs won their first round matches in single elimination play. 

The semifinals were both close matches, with Kwon & Lee defeating Cho & Chen 30-28, and Jeong & Pena over Ahn & Lee 30-25. 

The finals were expected to be another close match, but it turned out to be the biggest blowout of the event, with Jeong & Pena running over Kwon & Lee 30-16 for first place. 

Jeong & Pena collected $2200 for first place, with Kwon & Lee settling for $1800. Cho & Chen and Lee & Ahn finished tied for third and earned $1000 for each team.

After crowning the scotch doubles winners, a thirty two player singles event got underway, with eight groups of four players each. To no one’s surprise, the top players from the scotch doubles event also flexed their 3-cushion muscles in the single event. Five of the final eight scotch doubles players qualified for the single elimination singles board with Young Kyu Lee leading the way. 

Lee continued his strong play from the group stages and defeated John Park 30-22 and then Harry Pena 30-25, to make his way to the semifinals. He went on to win his semifinal match against Carlos Mario 30-20, to earn his spot in the finals against Hugo Patino. 

On paper, the final match did not look attractive for Lee. The former US Nationals runner up was facing a 4 time USBA Nationals Champion in Patino. Patino came out on fire and quickly led the match 7-1. While Lee tried to stay with him, Patino pushed that lead to 11-3. Patino looked to be in complete control as he led 14-6, but that was when Lee started his comeback. Lee fought back to tie the score at 19-19. Lee held a small 21-19 lead, but Patino hadn’t won six Pan American Games titles by giving up when an opponent shoots back at him. Patino regained the lead at 22-21, but that would be his final lead of the day. Lee scored the next two points and then extended his lead to 28-23. Patino fought back to 28-26, but Lee then took the match 30-26. 

Lee earned $2400 in first place prize money, with Patino taking home $1500 for second place. Carlos Mario and Kang Lee finished in a tie for third and won $1000 each.

Fans who are interested in the matches from these two events can watch over fourteen hours of top level 3 cushion with full commentary on YouTube. Singles Matches (YouTube) / Doubles Matches (YouTube).

The tournament director, Charles Brown, co-operated the event remotely with Michael Kang, the owner of Carom Cafe, who ensured a safe environment to hold this 3-cushion competition. HighRock produced the livestream.

Event organizers Michael Kang and Ira Lee would like to thank Predator CRM carom cues, Predator Arena Billiard Light,, and the USBA for making this event possible.

Predator launched the Revo CRM 3-cushion carbon fiber shafts in March 2020, at the beginning of the pandemic. Perhaps, not coincidentally, the two players that have switched from wood to the Predator Revo CRM shafts, both made it to the final table in this first Carom Cafe event since the start of the pandemic. When asked about the new Predator carbon technology, Champion Young Kyu Lee said “It’s only been a month since I was practicing with the new Revo cue – I think it’s great… I think it helps me a lot with my game.”

Harry Pena Wins Carom Cafe Master’s Tournament

Harry Pena

Thirty billiard players gathered, with masks on face and cues in hand, to compete in the 2020 Carom Café Masters Tournament from December 3 to 6, 2020. Harry Peña, who survived Covid-19 earlier in the year, ended up on top, besting a field that included four USBA National Three-Cushion Champions, including the reigning crown holder.

The tournament began on December 3rd with the drawing of the five groups. Play commenced and ran through late Sunday afternoon. John Park of Houston won Group A with a 5-0 record. Hugo Patiño, a multiple-time USBA national champion, finished second with a 3-2 record. Group B proved to the be the surprise of the tournament, with Won Sik Kang finishing first, undefeated. Reigning USBA national champion Tae Kyu Lee finished second. Miguel Torres, a two-time USBA national champion, prevailed in Group C. Harry Peña finished second, losing to Torres 25-23. Carlos Mario Villegas proved the best in Group D with Tyler Ma, a young player form Houston, the runner up. Former national champion Sonny Cho won Group E with a 4-1 record, losing to Eric Kwon, 25-24, who finished second. The top two from each group advanced to the final round robin along with two third-place finishers George Karam from Group B and Sang Jin Lee from Group E.

The twelve players were then placed in two groups of six. Tae Kyu Lee found his championship form, winning Finals Group A with a 4-1 record. Sonny Cho finished second. Eventual champion Peña had a perfect 5-0 record in Finals Group B. Sang Jin Lee placed second. The first and second place winners from the finals group advanced to the four man knock-out round.

Ira Lee, Harry Pena, Tae Kyu Lee and Carom Cafe Owner Michael Kang

Peña continued his dominance in the semi-final round, crushing Sonny Cho by the score of 40 to 15. In the other semi-final Tae Kyu Lee outlasted Sang Jin Lee, 40 to 31. In the finals, Peña, the charismatic Colombian dazzled. He rushed to a 9-1 lead, playing fast and with confidence. He added a run of 10 and raced to the finish, doubling up Lee, 40 to 20, in 25 innings to capture the crown and the $2500 first-place prize. Sang Jin Lee took third, defeating Sonny Cho 40 to 17.

Click a link here to see all the charts and results:

Preliminary Rounds

Finals and Prize Fund

Jim Watson (2nd from right)

In a touching tribute before the start of play, Michael Kang, the owner of Carom Café, and the other players held a moment of silence for Jim Watson, who died suddenly in September. Watson, seen below (2nd from right) in a picture from days gone by, was a local player of both pocket and carom games and is remembered by all as a gentleman and sportsman.

With his victory, Harry Pena’s 2020 ended on a happy note. Earlier in the year, he had to be evacuated from Carom Café via ambulance after he felt ill. He was later diagnosed with Covid-19. His play is proof of his full recovery, and the billiards world looks forward to post-Covid-19 tournaments in 2021.

This article originally appeared on the United States Billiard Association website and is used with their permission.