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James Aranas Latest Player To Be “Deported” and Banned from Entering USA

James Aranas

Roy Francisco has confirmed on his Facebook page that James Aranas was detained and deported back to the Philippines in the same manner that Dennis Orcollo was detained and deported earlier this year. 

In his Facebook post, Francisco said that he feared that Aranas might be on a list of flagged players and his fears were proven true when Aranas was detained at LAX on February 3rd. 

Aranas informed Francisco that he was being held in a room with a number of athletes and artists from outside of the United States who were on tourist VISAs. Most of them being from Europe. He was held and questioned for twenty seven hours before having his VISA revoked, a citation issued and being informed that he was banned from entering the United States for the next five years. 

Additionally, Aranas was informed that participating in tournament in the US on a tourist VISA was what he had done wrong and that he would need to obtain an Athletes VISA or a Working VISA.

At least for now, Aranas will be in the same position as countryman Orcollo as they attempt to fight this ban and obtain the required paperwork to re-enter the United States in order to compete. 

Francisco expressed his concerns that Orcollo and Aranas will not be the last Filipino players to have these same tourist VISA issue’s and warns any other Filipino players entering the country to make sure they have the proper paperwork, or are prepared for a quick trip back home.

International Open Down to its Final Four; Van Boening, Ouschan, Orcollo & Aranas

James Aranas (Karl Kantrowitz)

JI Championships will play 18 & Under Boys and Girls finals on event’s last day

Pat Fleming’s 2021 International Open began its sixth day with eight competitors. By 5 p.m., when the annual BCA Hall of Fame banquet commenced, one floor below the playing fields, that field of players was down to six. Once Kelly Fisher and Thorsten Hohmann were duly inducted into the Hall of Fame, the remaining four returned to the tables to close out the day.

The early match of the day (Friday, Oct. 29) saw James Aranas, who’d eliminated Dee Adkins 10-3 and Alex Kazakis 10-7 in the opening rounds of the single-elimination Phase 2, take on Omar Al-Shaheen. Aranas advanced to Saturday’s semifinals 10-6. Dennis Orcollo, who began Phase 2 by coming within a rack of being eliminated by Alex Pagulayan, persevered to take out Fedor Gorst 10-7 and drew Denis Grabe in the second Day Six match. The match stayed relatively close, until near the end, Orcollo pulled out in front to win it 10-7. Orcollo and Aranas will play their semifinal match at 4 p.m. tomorrow (Saturday). 

Back from dinner, Shane Van Boening and Ruslan Chinahov drew a capacity crowd to the Accu-Stat arena, drawing steady applause, along with a few audible gasps of both appreciation and sympathy for the occasional misses. Though throughout the match, Ruslan drew his fair share of audience support and appreciation for a variety of shots, Van Boening was in command from the outset. He established a lead, held on and expanded it, advancing to the semifinals 10-4. 

The evening’s final match, which began just before 10 p.m. pitted Albin Ouschan against The Iceman, Mika Immonen. Being the same kind of after-dinner crowd, it was as enthusiastic and appreciate of the solid play of both players as they’d been with Van Boening and Chinahov. Immonen scratched twice on the break in the first five racks, allowing Ouschan to run out. An early lead for Ouschan grew. And kept growing, until Ouschan finished things just after 11 pm., advancing 10-3. Van Boening and Ouschan will compete at 6:30 p.m., with the finals scheduled for 9 p.m. 

Hollingsworth/Tate in 18 & Under Boys JIC final; Meyman/Cutting in girls’ final

Both finals in the Junior International Championships’ Boys and Girls 18 & Under divisions will be a rematch. Landon Hollingsworth bested Joey Tate in the boys’ hot seat match and will face him again at 1 p.m. on Saturday. It was Meyman over Cutting in the girls’ hot seat battle and they’ll play the early (11 a.m.) match tomorrow.

The winners’ side hot seat match for the boys was among three that were occurring simultaneously as Day Six played out for the juniors. It was the first to finish, just ahead of 2 o’clock, leaving Hollingsworth in the hot seat, as Tate awaited the outcome of the quarterfinals to face what turned out to be Trenton White.

Nathan Childress and Payne McBride had moved to the loss side on the heels of losses in the winners’ side semifinals that had sent Hollingsworth and Tate into the hot seat match. Childress drew White, working on a five-match, loss-side winning streak that had started with his 8-6 loss to Hollingsworth in the opening round of play; a loss that set him on fire, so to speak. McBride drew Lazaro Martinez, who’d downed his brother Gabe 8-5 and Riley Adkins, double hill, to reach him.

McBride downed Martinez 8-6 and was joined in the quarterfinals by White, whose 8-5 victory eliminated Childress (the junior player who’d advanced to the opening round of the Open’s single-elimination Phase 2 where Joshua Filler defeated him). White advanced one more step, downing McBride 8-6 in those quarterfinals, before Tate, determined for a second shot at Hollingsworth, stopped his loss-side run (cold) 8-2.  

Kennedy Meyman and Tatum Cutting played their girls’ hot seat match in the early afternoon on Saturday. Meyman claimed the hot seat just after 2 p.m., downing Cutting 8-5.

On the loss side, Skylar Hess and Sofia Mast were coming off of their winners’ side semifinal losses to Cutting and Meyman, respectively. Hess drew Precilia Kinsley, who’d defeated Savanna Wolford 8-4 to reach her. Mast  picked up Bethany Tate (sister to Joey Tate), who’d recently eliminated Hayleigh Marion 8-3. 

Mast downed Tate 8-5, while Hess was eliminating Kinsley 8-4. In one of the junior competitors’ more entertaining rivalries that’s been ongoing since January, Mast and Hess battled to double hill in the quarterfinals before Mast prevailed. Mast ended up on the wrong side of her second straight double hill fight, advancing Cutting to a second showdown versus Meyman, which will get the final day of the 2021 International Open underway at 11 a.m.

Follow all of the action with Live Scoring and online brackets for the 9-Ball, Boys Junior 9-Ball and Girls Junior 9-Ball. AzBilliards is working along with digitalpool.com to help put those brackets online.

The International 9-Ball Open will continue play can be viewed online as part of the online PPV for this event at https://www.onsitepool.com/accustats/. For the first time in the history of this event, fans can watch action on any table as part of the PPV coverage.

Final Eight set at International Open

Dennis Orcollo (Karl Kantrowitz)

JIC Boys & Girls, 18 & Under, down to Super Six

As Pat Fleming’s 2021 International Open in Norfolk, VA has dwindled down to a Final Eight in its Phase Two, single-elimination rounds, it has retained its international flavor, advancing players from seven different countries to its winners’ side quarterfinals. Day Five of the event saw 11 different countries represented by 16 competitors battle it out for advancement to the Final Eight.

Also on Day Five, Ra Hanna’s On the Wire Media brought two of his Junior International Championships (JIC) to the stage, whittling down the fields of 15 Boys (18 & Under) and 8 Girls (18 & Under) to six in each division. All of the JIC competitors hail from the US of A.

All matches today (Saturday) are being scheduled around the annual Hall of Fame banquet, where this evening, both Kelly Fisher and Thorsten Hohmann will be indicted into that Hall of Fame after a dinner at 5 p.m.

First up in the eight matches that brought the Open field down to eight players were Japan’s Naoyuki Oi and Estonia’s Denis Grabe, who checked in mid-afternoon with the first of four 10-7 matches in the single elimination phase’s top half of the bracket. Grabe won it. Originally scheduled for late morning, the match between the Philippines’ Dennis Orcollo and Fedor Gorst was moved to be the final match of the day, and as it turned out, they’d apparently saved the best for last. 

Tied at 7-7, the match featured a number of short exchanges between Orcollo and Gorst that made note of each other’s more prominent unforced errors; balls rattling in holes, excellent shots that drew applause from the packed-house audience in the Accu-Stat arena, that turned into gasps, as a number of good shots from both of them were followed by cue-ball rolls that put them in the unenviable position of being unable to see their next shot. They were both more amused than annoyed as the match progressed. At the 7-7 juncture, Orcollo pulled out in front with two racks and though Gorst made a bid in rack #17, a scratch put the cue ball in Orcollo’s hand and he closed it out. Orcollo and Grabe are scheduled to face each other at 2:30 this afternoon (Oct. 29).

Two early evening matches rounded out the 10-7 scoring. Kuwait’s Omar Al-Shaheen downed the Philippines’ Lee Van Corteza, and the Philippines’ James Aranas defeated Greece’s Alex Kazakis. Aranas and Al-Shaheen are scheduled to meet just after noon today.

In the lower bracket, USA’s Shane Van Boening kept himself in contention for the top prize by defeating Poland’s Wiktor Zielinski 10-6. Russia’s Ruslan Chinahov, who was knocked out late trying to defend his 14.1 Straight Pool Championship title by fellow countryman Fedor Gorst last week, remained in the running here, after downing Kuwait’s Bader Al-Awadhi 10-8. Van Boeing and Chinahov are scheduled to meet at 7:30 p.m. today.

Austria’s Albin Ouschan advanced to the Final Eight with a 10-6 victory over last week’s 14.1 Straight Pool Champion, Germany’s Joshua Filler. Finland’s Iceman, Mika Immonen rounded out the final field of eight by defeating Austria’s Max Lechner, also 10-6. Ouschan and Immonen are scheduled to square off at around 5:20 p.m.

Junior championships come down to final six boys and girls

In what is a championship invitational set of matches, following a year-long season of qualifiers which began in January, and a pair of double elimination brackets, which began early today, six boys and six girls (18 and under) will meet today to determine a male and female winner of On the Wire Creative Media’s 2021 Junior International Championships.

In the 18 & Under Girls Division, a total of eight competed. Scheduled to meet in the hot seat match today, Kennedy Meyman, who got by Savanna Wolford and Sofia Mast, both 8-6, will face Tatum Cutting, who defeated Bethany Tate and Skylar Hess, both 8-4. On the loss side, Precilia Kinsley eliminated Savanna Wolford and will face Hess, scheduled for around 8:30. Tate downed Hayleigh  Marion 8-3 and will meet Hess.

In the 18 & Under Boys division, which drew 15 entrants, Joey Tate got by Gabe Martinez, double hill, Brent Worth 8-3 and Payne McBride 8-5 to earn a spot in today’s hot seat match. He’ll be joined by Landon Hollingsworth, who, following victories over Trenton White 8-6, Riley Adkins 8-3 and a long-standing rivalry, 8-5 win over Nathan Childress, who’d defeated him in a loss-side battle in the Open event.

Tate, Childress and Hollingsworth, having finished as the top three competitors in the JIC’s Pro Am division, were awarded entry into the International Open. Hollingsworth and Tate were defeated in the opening winners’ side round in the double elimination Phase 1 of the event. Childress won his opener against Raphael DaBreo before joining them.

They all won their opening loss-side matches. Tate lost his second loss-side match to Tony Robles 10-8. Hollingsworth won his first and second loss-side match, eking out a double hill win in the second one against Brandon Shuff. He lost his third to Childress.

Hollingsworth was Childress’ second loss-side match. He also won his third against Konrad Juszczyszyn. The three loss-side wins allowed him to advance to the opening round of the single elimination Phase 2, where he had the misfortune to run immediately into Josh Filler, who allowed him only a single rack to win 10-1.

On the loss side for the boys, at noon today (Saturday, Oct. 29) McBride will compete against Lazaro Martinez, who defeated his brother Gabe 8-5 and Riley Adkins, double hill to reach him. Childress will square off against Trenton White, who eliminated Ivo Linkin 8-6 and Brent Worth 8-5.

By the end of the day, either Tate or Hollingsworth will be in the hot seat. The one who isn’t will face the quarterfinal winner tomorrow (Saturday, Oct. 29); either Lazaro Martinez, Payne McBride, Trenton White or Nathan Childress. 

Good rolls, guys and gals!!

Follow all of the action with Live Scoring and online brackets for the 9-Ball, Boys Junior 9-Ball and Girls Junior 9-Ball. AzBilliards is working along with digitalpool.com to help put those brackets online.

The International 9-Ball Open will continue play all of this week and can be watched as part of the online PPV for this event at https://www.onsitepool.com/accustats/. For the first time in the history of this event, fans can watch action on any table as part of the PPV coverage.

 

The young, the middle and the old(er) meet in final matches of Brendan Crockett Memorial

Tyler Styer, James Aranas, John Morra and Oscar Dominguez

The ‘middle’ wins it, stopping the old(er)’s loss-side streak, which eliminated the youngster

At the 3rd Annual Brendan Crockett Memorial, the Philippines’ James Aranas (the middle) went undefeated, downing Canada’s John Morra (the old-er), who’d eliminated two-time USA Mosconi Cup competitor, Tyler Styer (the younger) in the semifinals. The event is held annually to commemorate the passing of former BEF Junior National Champion Brendan Crockett and his brother, Jefferson, who died in a car accident in 2016. A portion of the entry fees were designated for contributions to the Brendan Crockett Memorial Scholarship, which awards $2,000 to a junior player headed into either their junior or senior year in college. The $5,000-added, 10-Ball event drew 157 entrants to Hard Times Billiards in Sacramento, CA.

After being awarded an opening round bye, Aranas began what turned out to be his undefeated run by having to survive a double hill battle (7-6) versus Jeff Franco. He gave up only five racks over his next three – Spencer Ladin (3), Matt Hardwick (1), Chris Wedekind (0) – and then downed fellow countryman Carlo Biado 7-5 to draw Omar Al Shaheen in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Styer, in the meantime, arrived at his winners’ side semifinal matchup against Warren Kiamco after tallying an aggregate score of 35-8, giving up half of those 8 to Jason Williams in the third round.

Aranas advanced to the hot seat match with a 7-2 win over Al Shaheen. Styer joined him after a hard-fought double hill win over Kiamco. Styer ended up on the wrong end of his second straight double hill match, falling to Aranas, who claimed the hot seat. 

Over on the loss side, Kiamco picked up Carlo Biado, who’d followed his loss to Aranas with victories over Ian Costello and Corey Deuel, both 7-2. Al Shaheen had the misfortune of running into a ‘hot’ John Morra, who’d lost his third winners’ side match to Chris Gentile and embarked on what would turn out to be an eight-match, loss-side winning streak that would take him into the finals against Aranas. Morra had already notched five of those wins into his loss-side belt, to include his recent elimination of Roberto Gomez 7-2 and Shane Van Boening 7-1.

Morra chalked up his 6th loss-side win 7-3 over Al Shaheen and was joined in the quarterfinals by Biado, who’d defeated Kiamco 7-2. Morra and Biado fought a double hill battle in those quarterfinals, but it was the old(er) Morra versus the young(er) Styer in the semifinals. Morra edged out in front 7-5, clearing his last hurdle for a shot at Aranas in the hot seat.

Aranas completed his undefeated run with an 11-7 victory over Morra in the finals.

Aranas wins two-stage, $10k-added 10-Ball Championships in Virginia

James Aranas

One of a personally-gathered group of professionals, semi-professionals and amateur pool players brought together by one Wayne Everhart, owner of TTMD (ThinkTechMD) Billiards Streaming of Maryland, to compete in a $10,000-added, two-phase 10-Ball Championship in Front Royal, VA this past weekend (June 25-27), James Aranas went undefeated through a field of 64 entrants, including Alex Pagulayan in the finals, to claim the event title.

It was a strong field that took to the 9-ft Blue Diamond Tables at On Cue Sports Bar & Grill in Front Royal over the weekend. Earl Strickland competed. So did Rodney Morris, Hunter Lombardo, Brandon Shuff, Brett Stottlemeyer, Joey Korsiak, Warren Kiamco, Tyler Styer and recent-junior player, Shane Wolford, just to mention about 15% of the field. It began as a straight double elimination tournament, which worked its way down to eight players on the winners’ side (winners’ side quarterfinals) and eight on the loss side (playing for the 13-16 slots). They redrew those 16 players into a single elimination field that eventually came down to Aranas and Pagulayan.

Aranas opened up with a victory over Tuan Chau and then, defeated Brian Brekke and Josh Burbul to secure his place among the winners’ side’s final eight. Pagulayan downed Warren Kiamco, Manny Chau, and Tyler Styer to secure his spot. Joining them were Brandon Shuff and Hunter Lombardo, Kyle Dilly (who would have faced Aranas in a winners’ side quarterfinal), Logan Harrington, Joey Korsiak and Rodney Morris (who would have played Pagulayan in a winners’ side quarterfinal).

From the loss side, Rick Scarlato and Jeremy Sossei had eliminated, between them, Scott Roberts, Manny Chau and five others to join the final eight on the loss side. Demetrius Jelatis and Jesse Engel joined the loss side group; Engel having played only a single opponent on the loss side. Jesus Atencio and Tyler Styer were scheduled for a 13/16 match, when they joined the loss-side’s final eight. Both had played only a single match on the loss side; Atencio eliminating Stottlemeyer and Styer defeating Brian Bekke. Warren Kiamco had defeated Scott and Thomas Haas, as well as Mark Nanashee and was poised to face Shane Wolford, who’d put an end to Earl Strickland’s time at the tables, when they both joined the loss-side final eight.

The single elimination matchups went like this: Joey Korsiak faced Demetrius Jelatis, Hunter Lombard vs. Jeremy Sossei, Logan Harrington and Shane Wolford, Pagulayan and Kiamco, Morris and Engel, Brandon Shuff and Jesus Atencio, Kyle Dilly and Rick Scarlato, and at the bottom of the single elimination bracket, Aranas squared off against Tyler Styer.

When the dust settled at the end of the first, single elimination round, only Jelatis/Sossei, Wolford/Pagulayan, Atencio/Engel and Dilly/Aranas remained. Sossei and Jelatis battled to double hill before Sossei advanced to the semifinals. Pagulayan defeated Wolford 11-4 to join him in their semifinal match. Atencio eliminated Engel 11-4, as Aranas ended Dilly’s day 11-7.

Pagulayan got into the finals with an 11-4 win over Sossei. Meanwhile, Atencio and Aranas were engaged in a double hill fight that eventually did send Aranas into the finals against The Lion.

Aranas completed his undefeated run with a 13-6 victory over Pagulayan to claim the TTMD Billiard Streaming 10-Ball Championships.

Event organizer Wayne Everhart thanked the ownership and staff at On Cue Sports Bar & Grill for their hospitality, as well as sponsors THINKTECHMD, On Cue Sports Bar and Grill, The New Green Room Billiards, On the Hill Productions, Queens of the Green, Military Family Relief Fund Mid Atlantic, WEBROOT + CARBONITE, Gina Cunningham, Big Money Billiards, Lambros Cues, Element Risk Management, Baltimore City Cues, Charlie’s Pro Shop, American Billiard Covering and H & H Landscaping.

Though presently scheduled only to conduct next spring’s Bob Stock’s Memorial ahead of the annual Super Billiards Expo, TTMD Billiards Streaming is looking to expand its reach to any number of venues and is in the process of trying to “bring in dollars from the technology sector to inject cash into the sport (and in so doing), find a way to make an income for the players who sign on.” It has a familiar ring to it because Everhart and his company are not the first entity to attempt a means by which to grow and develop the sport. His plans are extensive and if his recent efforts with the TTMD Billiards Streaming $10,000-added 10-Ball Championships are any indication, we will likely be hearing from him and his organization real soon.

Justin Hall Wins US Open One Pocket Crown

Justin Hall and Mark Griffin

The 2021 US Open One Pocket Championships took place over the weekend of June 5th – 6th at Griff’s pool hall in Las Vegas. Mark Griffin, Gary Lutman, Griff’s staff & Tournament Director Jack Murray rolled out the red carpet for the players and fans. The professional One Pocket title is coveted by pool players worldwide who have an appreciation for this unique discipline. The game of One Pocket has become more popular over the years and a player has to combine shotmaking and skill with chess like strategy.

Stand out players in the event featured big names in the game like Tony Chohan, Justin Hall, Warren Kiamco, James Aranas, John Morra and local fan favorite Ronnie Wiseman. While there were many big names that came out to play, up and coming players such as Evan Lunda, Sergio Rivas and Rudy Alameda had stand out performances.

One of the most impressive surprise performances was put together by Bob Herchick who had an amazing run. Bob defeated John Peck 4-0, John Morra 4-0, Mike Grimm 4-2, Tony Chohan 4-3 before losing to Justin Hall 4-3 and Warren Kiamco 3-0 finishing a solid 5/6th.

Veteran grinder Justin Hall from Florida played amazing pool the entire event and went through the field undefeated. His road to the finals was a difficult one going through a gritty field. Justin defeated Mike Massey 4-0, Ronnie Wiseman 4-3, James Aranas 4-2, Bob Herchick 4-3 and Dennis Orcullo 4-1.

After losing to Justin 4-1, Dennis played stellar to defeat Warren Kiamco 4-0 to earn a spot in the finals.

The finals was a race to 5 games for the Championship, and Justin Hall put together another dominant set including capping off the match with an impressive final game – showing off his shotmaking and deep knowledge of the game. The. Final score was 4-2 Justin, who earned the new US Open One Pocket trophy along with $7,500 1st prize.

The equipment at Griff’s is world class featuring all Diamond tables, Simonis cloth and Amamith balls.

Online Brackets were provided by Digital Pool and can seen here: https://digitalpool.com/tournaments/2021-us-open-one-pocket-championship/bracket

Special thanks to all sponsors and supporters of the event including Simonis, Aramith, & OB Cues.

Special Thanks to Ben Sutherland and BBTV for producing a quality live stream with commentary for the fans.

The US Open 10 Ball starts on Sept 12, through the 15th. The US Open 8-Ball will immediately follow the 10-ball.

The US Open Banks Championship immediately follows the One pocket and starts June 8th and 9th. It’s free for spectators to watch and fans can find the Live Stream and follow the event by visiting Griff’s Facebook page for the info.

Iron City Open in Birmingham This Week

The eyes of pro pool fans in the states are focused this week on Iron City Billiards in Birmingham, Alabama for the Iron City Open. This event features $10,000 in added prize money across multiple divisions. 

Things kicked off on Thursday with a $1,000 entry / $5,000 added One Pocket event that features some of the biggest names in the game. The field includes such notables as Dennis Orcollo, Tony Chohan, Scott Frost, Billy Thorpe, John Morra, Warren Kiamco, Omar Alshaheen and the return of fan favorite Charlie Bryant. 

Friday afternoon matches will feature the final four on the winners side, with Jason Brown and John Morra already waiting for opponents. Brown will face the winner of Orcollo and Justyn Cone, while Morra waits on the winner between Kiamco and Bryant. 

On the one loss side, Josh Roberts waits on the loser between Kiamco and Bryant. Other notables still fighting on the left side of the board include Chohan, Frost, Thorpe and Alshaheen. 

Thursday will see the $1,000 added Ladies 9-Ball event kicking off. While Ming Ng will certainly be one of the favorites in this one, the rest of the field that includes Courtney Peters, Betty Lea and Janeen Lee Gardner to name just a few, will be gunning for her all weekend. 

The $4,000 added open 9-ball event will get started on Friday with a ton of top talent. Early favorites in this one will include Orcollo, James Aranas, Thorpe, Jeffrey De Luna, Kiamco, Shane McMinn, Morra, Frost and Nick De Leon. 

TvMike’s Billiardnet.tv is streaming three separate tables from this event as part of their coverage. Check out the event package at the website. Fans can sign up for the broadcast coverage at www.billiardnet.tv

“Jawz” Joins Team Break Out

BreakOut Apparel would like to welcome our newest member to the family, D’Angelo “Jawz” Spain! We can’t say enough about this young man. At only 9 years old, he is an absolute beast on the table. He not only competes against other juniors but adults as well. He learned how to play pool at the young age of 4 years old. He is currently coached by his father, Frank Spain, and we are excited to see what the young man can do. He’s poised, confident, respectful, and a fierce competitor on the table. Check out his list of accomplishments at only 9 years old.

TOURNAMENT ACCOMPLISHMENTS
2020 – Brews and Cues 9 Ball Tournament (Glen Burnie, MD)
• 1st Place
2020- TAP Short Stack 8 Ball Tournament (Glen Burnie, MD)
• 1st Place
2020 – Joss North East 9 Ball Juniors Event (Amsterdam, NY)
• 1st Place 12 & Under
2019 – APA Junior Nationals Tournament Skill Level 5’s (St. Louis, MO)
• 49th place out of 101 players
2019 – Summer Classic Scotch Doubles Tournament (Baltimore, MD)
• 1st Place
2019 – APA Juniors National Qualifier (Laurel, MD)
• 1st place – Advanced to Nationals in St. Louis in July
2019 – Maryland State Juniors BEF 9ball Tournament 12&U (Laurel, MD)
• 3rd Place
2019 – Billiards Education Foundation Nationals Qualifier (Greenville, SC)
• 5th Place

His other SPONSORS include:
• Jacoby Custom Cues • Risky Shotz Billiards

Please welcome “Jawz” to the #BreakOutFamily. Jawz is the second junior player to join the Break Out Family, joining Skylar Hess. The complete roster of Break Out players is Allison Fisher, Loree Jon Hasson, James Aranas, Shaun Wilkie, Del Sim, James Blackburn, Ashley Burrows, Manny Perez, Clint Palaci, Steve Fleming, Tina Malm, Chuck Sampson, Dylan Spohr, Shanna Lewis, Skylar Hess and D’Angelo Spain.

We have more exciting news in the works, so stay tuned to your news feed!

You can follow Jawz on Facebook & Instagram:
@JawzSpain

Roy’s Basement with April Larson, Pia Filler and a pair of ghosts

 

Over the past week or so, Roy’s Basement in Maryland has been playing host to the Fillers; Joshua and his wife, Pia. On a nightly basis, Joshua has been stepping to the table in the basement and playing almost continuous pool games against the ‘ghost,’ with Ariel Roy Francisco and Pia Filler doing commentary on a live stream broadcast on the Roy’s Basement Facebook page. Viewers are checking in on a chat screen to choose which ‘ghost’ game they want to see Josh Filler play, and then, after deciding whether Filler or the ghost is going to win the chosen game, are pledging to donate money if they turn out to be right. Viewers are literally lining up in the virtual chat lobby to participate.
“They want to see the best pool player in the world play the ghost with them controlling what games he plays,” said Francisco. “It’s also a chance to win Josh’s ‘junky’ stick; the one he used to win the World 9-Ball and the US Open 9-Ball.”
“He surprised us,” Francisco added of Filler’s quality of play during these ghost matches, “and surprised himself, too. Nobody knew. The more he plays, the better he gets.”
The ghost games, being what they are (watching one person shoot), are not drawing anywhere near the virtual crowds that an earlier match, a couple of weeks ago, drew, when Filler and James Aranas played a match in the basement and a record Roy’s Basement viewing crowd of 7,600 was on-hand to watch. That said, though, the player versus ‘ghost’ matches are drawing respectable, albeit virtual crowds to the Facebook page, and ever-ready to take advantage of an opportunity, Francisco has announced plans for a double screen, double player set of ghost matches between April Larson, playing in the basement of her home in Minnesota, while Pia Filler plays her ghost from Roy’s basement.
From their separate locations, April and Pia will square off against their ‘ghost,’ in an attempt to reach 50 wins, with a winner determined by which of the two reached that 50 plateau, having played the least amount of games. It won’t end when one of them reaches 50. It’ll end when they’ve both chalked up 50 wins. The winner will be the player who’s given up the fewest games to the ghost.
Early ‘money’ was appearing on April Larson’s side of the ledger, but as she headed for home this weekend, after visiting a relative, she was quick to point out that Pia Filler is a lot more than just Joshua Filler’s wife.
“I think everybody is underestimating her,” said Larson. “She’s no slouch. Roy’s not stupid. He’s not just going to put anybody up.”
“I’m going to have to play really well to beat her,” she added.
Larson has been on a bit of a hiatus from her school work these days. She switched her Lindenwood University classes from actual to accelerated virtual (on-line) in December and is out of school now until August, giving her time to pursue this, and presumably, other activities. According to Larson, while she has certainly played games against the ‘ghost’ before, doing so in a way that’s preparing her for a formalized contest is a new kind of challenge.
“I’ve played the ghost, but not religiously,” she said. “Now that I’ve been playing by the actual rules, I’ve discovered the actual number of times that I run out and it’s been humbling.”
“When you’re playing the ghost,” she added, “you have to take all the shots, regardless of your comfort level. If you’re playing regular 9-ball, you can play safe or try to hide somebody, but with the ghost, the shots you normally duck, you have to make.”
For her part, Pia Filler is looking to step out of the accidental shadow that’s been cast by her husband’s emergence as a world class player, one of the best in the world (he’s presently #2 in WPA rankings behind Taipei’s Ko Ping-Chung). She points out that she and her future husband met as seven-year-olds, competing in German youth championships.
“We knew that one day, we both wanted to become professionals,” she said. “He’s been the most successful and won the most titles, but I think we’re kind of special; always together, always working as a team. We’ve known each other so long. We’re each other’s coach and do everything together.”
As for the upcoming match. . . .
“I haven’t just been watching Joshua,” she explained. “I’m spending a lot of time practicing with him, as well. We’re both working very hard.”
“I’m feeling pretty confident and looking forward to Sunday,” she added.
So, tune in. Sunday afternoon, 1 p.m EDT. Go to Facebook, find the Roy’s Basement page and click on the ‘Live” screen. Join the chat and learn how you can donate to keep the streams going during this time of forced isolation.

Chang Takes Advantage of Aranas Mistakes to Win Diamond Las Vegas Open

Chang Jung-Lin (Courtesy JP Parmentier – Cue Sport International)

Jung-Lin Chang stood at the table Saturday night, clinging to a 6-5 lead. His opponent, James Aranas of the Philippines, had won four of the last five racks to shave Chang’s lead down to a single game. With Chang controlling the break, he could either increase his lead or let Aranas all the way back into the match. 
 
“I didn’t think too much because it was my break,” Chang said. “After that, I had a chance to run out.” 
 
Chang took full advantage of the opportunity, as the powerful player from Chinese Taipei ran out and then used a handful of unforced errors by Aranas down the stretch to win the four of the final six games and claim the Diamond Las Vegas Open championship at Rio Hotel and Casino. Chang’s 9-5 victory in the finals avenged an earlier 7-4 loss to the previously unbeaten Aranas the finals on the winner’s side of the bracket.  
 
“(Aranas) made a lot of mistakes on some easy shots and that allowed me to get more points,” Chang said after the match. 
 
The Filipino opened the title match by using a victorious safety exchange to run out and take an early lead. Aranas appeared positioned to tack another rack onto his lead in the second game but misplayed position on the 9 ball, rolling the cue ball into the blocking 10 ball. He missed a kick shot on the object ball and Chang seized on the opportunity, using two breaks and runs along with an Aranas scratch on the break to build a 5-1 lead in a race to nine. 
 
“In the final I wasn’t comfortable,” Aranas said. 
 
The Filipino broke and ran in the seventh game to cut the deficit to three games and closed the gap even more when Chang missed a jump shot on the 4 ball in the following rack. Aranas appeared to be on the verge of slicing the lead down to one game but missed a makeable 8 ball in the corner pocket. 
 
“That was the chance for me to get closer,” said Aranas. “I was thinking about the shot clock and I was kind of like rushing and I missed it.” 
 
Chang cleared the table to push the lead to 6-3 but the Filipino continued to battle, taking advantage of a dry break by his opponent and adding a break-and-run to again narrow the gap to one game. Chang, who won the 2018 International Open, broke and ran in the 12th game, gutted out a win in the following game and closed out the match in the 14th rack when Aranas overran position on the 3 ball and ultimately overcut the shot. 
 
“The most important thing of all is mentality. You have to go through the pressure,” said Chang. “The last thing is the gods. The gods give you something, you take it.” 
 
The second-place finish is one of Aranas’s best in a 128-player tournament with an international field. The Filipino, who is reigning Super Billiards Expo 10 ball champion, opened the event with three consecutive 7-5 victories against Rory Hendrickson, Chris Melling and Maximillian Lechner. After defeating Ian Costello, 7-3, Aranas worked his way past Justin Bergman, 7-5, then jumped out to a 6-1 lead against Ralf Souquet only to see the German battle back and cut the lead to one. During a lengthy safety exchange with Souquet in the final game, the Filipino jumped in the 1 and 2 balls then ran out the rack to secure the match. 
 
“Ralf is such a great player, he’s a legend to me,” Aranas. “It’s hard to give him a chance to get back on the table.”  
 
Aranas then advanced to face Chang in their first matchup of the way, using two breaks and runs and a dry break from his opponent to jump out to an early 4-0 lead. After Chang used two breaks and runs and a scratch on the break by the Filipino to narrow the gap to 4-3, Aranas cleared the table in the eighth game then took advantage of two dry breaks by Chang to close out the match. 
 
“I’m proud of myself for what I’ve done,” said Aranas. “This is probably the first time I’ve come this close in an event like this. This was a big opportunity for me.”  
 
Justin Bergman is adamant that he didn’t play well during the event. Whatever game he did have was good enough for third place, as the young man from Illinois gutted his way past opponents until fatigue took its toll.
After a 7-4 decision against Kengo Suzuki in the opening round, Bergman took down John Morra, 7-5; Ta-Li Lin, 7-1 and Ko Pin-Yi, 7-5. After falling to Aranas 7-5 late early Saturday morning around 2 a,m., Bergman grabbed about an hour of sleep and was back at the table Saturday morning at 10 a.m. He gutted out back-to-back hill-hill matches against Corey Deuel and Poland’s Karol Skowerski before taking down Chris Robinson, 7-4. Now playing in the quarterfinals on the one-loss side, Bergman split the first six games with Souquet before a missed 5 ball by the German in the seventh game opened the floodgates. 
 
“I changed my mind right before the shot,” said Souquet. “That basically threw me off completely afterwards. It wasn’t a tough runout, I just needed good shape on the 6 ball and, for whatever reason, I changed my mind.”
Bergman cleared the table to take a 4-3 lead, then took advantage of a couple additional missed shots by Souquet to close out the match, 7-3. His luck – and energy – would run out in the next round against Chang as he failed to pocket a ball on the break in his first three attempts. Chang built a commanding 6-0 then held off a late rally by his opponent, ultimately winning 7-3. 
 
“I wasn’t comfortable and he’s such a great player, you have to do everything perfect to beat him,” Bergman said. 
 
It was a turn-back-the-clock weekend for the 51-year-old Souquet, who used his first trip to American soil in 2020 to land a fourth-place finish. After an opening round forfeit by his opponent, the German rattled off four straight wins to reach the final four on the winner’s side before falling to Aranas. Souquet then defeated Ko Pin-Yi on the one-loss side of the bracket before falling to Bergman. 
 
The Diamond Las Vegas Open is a presentation of Cue Sports International and sponsored by Diamond Billiard Products, an industry leader in pocket billiard table manufacturing. The event is being hosted by the Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino and broadcast live on YouTube by CSI Media, a subsidiary of Cue Sports International. For more information, visit www.world10ball.com 
 
CueSports International (CSI) is an international billiards organization which produces the United States Open 8-ball, 10-ball, one pocket, bank pool and straight pool championships. CSI, which also operates national amateur pool leagues, has three divisions: CSI leagues, CSI events and CSI media. CSI leagues manages the BCA Pool League and USA Pool League, the events division produces numerous amateur and professional events and the media department creates live video billiards content. For more information about CSI, visit www.playcsipool.com or find CueSports International on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Twitter.
 
The Diamond Las Vegas Open is sponsored by: Predator Group, Omega billiard supplies and Kamui cue tips.