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Dufresne, from the loss side, breaks through to win his first stop on the Predator Pro Am Tour

(l to r): Nick Croce, Tony Ignomirello, Pascal Dufresne & Dave Shlemperis

Though he’d been runner-up on the Tri-State Tour twice and cashed in a number of tri-state New York area tournaments over the past couple of years, Pascal Dufresne came to the March 2-3 stop on the Predator Pro Am Tour in search of his first event title. He found it. He came back from a winners’ side semifinal loss to down the man, Dave Shlemperis, who sent him to the loss side and claim his first title. The $1,000-added event drew 55 entrants to The Spot in Nanuet, NY.
Dufresne advanced to the winners’ side semifinal against Shlemperis, while Nick Croce squared off against Naoko Faiki, a relative newcomer to the ranks of female Predator Pro Am competitors. Shlemperis sent Dufresne off 7-2 to a three-match trip on the loss side. Croce joined him in the hot seat match after sending Faiki over 7-5. Shlemperis and Croce fought back and forth to a double hill, deciding game, which eventually sent Croce off to the semifinals.
Dufresne opened his loss-side trip against Thomas Schreiber, who’d defeated Ocheign Carlos 7-3 and survived a double hill fight against James Stevens. Faiki faced Tony Ignomirello, who’d eliminated Carlos Duque 7-4 and Juan Melendez 7-2.
Three straight double hill matches (and almost a fourth) ensued. Tony Iggy and Dufresne forced deciding games against Faiki and Schreiber, respectively, and won them both to advance to the quarterfinals. Then they locked up in a double hill quarterfinal that eventually sent Dufresne to the semifinals.
Dufresne and Croce came within a single game of a fourth straight double hill match on the loss side. Dufresne, though, edged out in front at the end to win it 7-5 to earn a second shot against Shlemperis, sitting in the hot seat waiting for him.
In spite of what Heinz Ketchup tried to tell us in a campaign advertising slogan from the 1980s and Guinness Stout tried to tell us in their own advertisements a decade later, good things don’t always come to those who wait. Just ask Dave Shlemperis, waiting to chalk up his first win on the Predator Pro Am Tour since February of 2017. Pascal Dufresne denied him that title with a 9-6 win in the finals that gave him his first title.
Tour director Tony Robles thanked the ownership and staff at The Spot, as well as title sponsor Predator Cues, Predator Cues, Ozone Billiards, NAPL, The DeVito Team,, Billiards Digest, AZBilliards, Pool & Billiards Magazine and his entire staff, including his lovely wife, Gail. The next stop on the Predator Pro Am Tour, scheduled for the weekend of March 16-17 will be an ABCD, Double Points Amateur event, hosted by Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY.

Davis comes from the loss side to win 7th Annual Ginky Memorial

Junior Singh, Ramon Rodriguez, Amy Yu and Phil Davis

Phil Davis became the 7th different player to win the Amateur event of the Annual George "Ginky" Sansouci Memorial Tournament, held this past weekend – May 27-29 – at Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY. Held under the combined auspices of the Predator Pro Am, Tri-State and Mezz Tours, the event featured its usual array of amateur-status talent. Last year's winner, Tony Liang, was out of this one early, leaving the door open for Davis to go undefeated and follow (in order) Raj Vannala, Daniel Dagotdot, Mike Yednak, Kapriel Delimelkonoglu, Rhys Chen and Liang into the Ginky Memorial history book.
Attendance at this annual event has grown steadily over the years, although the numbers did drop a little this year; from 190 to 165 in the $2,000-added Amateur event, and from 54 to 44 in the $2,000-added Pro event, which, by the way, was won by Jayson Shaw (see separate story). Last year's winner, Zion Zvi, like Tony Liang in the Amateur event, was knocked out early. 
Both events were streamed live throughout the weekend by AZBTv, sponsored by Blatt Billiards, and featuring the commentary of Upstate Al and a host of guest commentators.
The 165-entrant Amateur tournament divided the players up into two separate brackets of A players and B-D players. They did not meet until the very end. Amy Yu won the B-D bracket, while Ramon Rodriguez won the A bracket. Davis, defeated early by Rodriguez, came back on the loss side to defeat him and advance to the finals against Yu.
As the event moved into the 9/12 matches, only one previous Ginky Memorial champion remained, Rhys Chen, who, after a 7-5 victory over James Conn, was knocked out by Koka Davladze 8-6. Davladze, who'd previously eliminated James Stevens 9-6 advanced to meet Davis in the 5/6 matches. Junior Singh, in the meantime, having defeated Neven Lipovac 7-4, and Benny Rosado 7-5, picked up Gary Bozigian.
Davis and Singh advanced to the quarterfinals; Davis 7-1 over Davladze, and Singh 7-5 over Bozigian. Davis took the quarterfinal match over Singh 9-5, and then, in a re-match against Rodriguez, downed him 7-5 for a shot at Amy Yu. 
He took full advantage. Giving six racks to Yu in a race to 13, Davis completed his loss side run with a 13-8 victory to claim  the 7th George "Ginky" Sansouci Memorial title.
Event director Tony Robles, as he is every year at this time, was demonstrably appreciative of the effort put forth by representatives from the Tri-State and Mezz Tours, as well as the ownership and staff at Steinway Billiards. In addition to thanks offered to Blatt Billiards ( for their sponsorship of the live stream, Robles also thanked sponsors Predator Cues, Ozone Billiards,,, Cappelle (, and the DeVito team. 

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.

Reyes stops loss side challenge by Villalobos and goes undefeated on Predator Amateur stop

Nayan Roy, Arturo Reyes, Riyadh Benghalem & Rene Villalobos

Arturo Reyes has chalked up a number of event victories on the Tri-State Tour over the past six or seven years, but until the weekend of March 5-6, this year, he had yet to win one (as far as our records indicate) on the Predator Tour. He came close last June, when he was runner-up to Tony Liang on a Predator stop, and had finished fourth in the 2015 Empire State Championships.
This past weekend, Reyes worked his way undefeated through of field of 72, on hand for the 'double (ranking) points,' $1,000-added event, hosted by the Cue Bar in Bayside, NY. He was challenged in the finals by Rene Villalobos, who, following a defeat at the hands of Nayan Roy, won five on the loss side for the right to face Reyes in the finals.
Nayan Roy moved on from his defeat of Villalobos to a winners' side semifinal versus Irene Kim, as Reyes was challenged by Omar Alli.  Reyes moved on to the hot seat match after a 7-5 win over Alli. He was joined by Roy, who'd dispatched Kim to the loss side 8-4. Reyes claimed the hot seat 7-5 and waited on what turned out to be the return of Villalobos.
On the loss side, Kim drew Villalobos, who'd opened his loss-side trek with a double hill win over Adrian Daniel and 7-4 victory over Jessica Lynn. Alli picked up Riyadh Benghalem, who'd eliminated James Stevens 7-3 and Elvis Rodriguez 7-2. Villalobos and Benghalem handed Kim and Alli their second straight losses; Villalobos double hill over Kim, and Benghalem, almost double hill (7-5) over Alli.
Villalobos then downed Benghalem in the quarterfinals 7-3. Roy gave Villalobos a run for his semifinal, re-match money, forcing a case game, but Villalobos prevailed for a shot at Reyes. Reyes completed his undefeated run with a 9-7 victory in the finals to claim his first Amateur Predator title. 
Tour director Tony Robles thanked Sammy An and his staff at the Cue Bar, as well as 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.

Meyer goes undefeated to claim Predator Amateur stop at Steinway Billiards

Brooke Meyer has been climbing the Predator Tour ladder, steadily. Last year, he finished in the money six times; once in 13th place, once in 7th, twice in 5th and twice as runner-up. On the weekend of April 11-12, he broke through to record his first victory on the tour, punctuating it by going undefeated. The $500-added Amateur event drew 68 entrants to Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY. A concurrently-run Open/Pro event (see separate story), won by Earl Strickland drew 19.
A trio of 7-4 wins left Meyer in the hot seat. Wilfredo Albay sent Jose Kuilan to the loss side, as Meyer was busy doing the same to Billy Santiago. In the last of the three 7-4 wins, Meyer sent Albay to the semifinals, from which, as it turned out, Kuilan would return.
On the loss side, Kuilan drew Ms. Akio Taniyama, who'd squeaked by Eric Carrasco, double hill and defeated Luis Jimenez by the recurring score of 7-4. Santiago picked up Kapriel Delimelkonoglu, who'd gotten by Dave Shlemperis 7-3 and James Stevens 7-1. 
Two more 7-4 scores sent Kuilan (over Taniyama) and Delimelkonoglu (over Santiago) to the quarterfinals, where Kuilan survived a double hill fight for his second shot against Albay. Though Albay would battle to within a game of double hill in the semifinals, Kuilan took it 7-5 and got a shot at Meyer in the hot seat.
To no avail, as it turned out. Kuilan brought Meyer to within a single game of double hill, before Meyer pulled out in front to win it 9-7, claiming his first Predator title.

Strickland and Delimelkonoglu take Open/Amateur stops on the Predator Tour

Earl Strickland

Earl Strickland, Tony Robles, Mika Immonen, Mike Yednak, Chad Bolling, Brian Singh, William Finnegan, and Anthony Chiappina got together on Sunday, April 13 and played a little pool on the Predator Tour. They signed on to the tour's $500-added Open event, and it was Earl the Pearl winning four in a row who went home with the top prize, defeating Mika Immonen in the finals. In the $500-added Amateur event, which drew exactly eight times as many entrants, it was Kapriel Delimelkonoglu, who went undefeated to capture the Amateur title. Both events were hosted by the Cue Bar in Bayside, Queens.
Strickland took care of Chiappina in the opening round and faced Yednak, who'd downed Singh, in a winners' side semifinal. Tour director Robles defeated his assistant Finnegan and drew Immonen, who'd defeated Bolling, in the other winners' side semifinal. Strickland sent Yednak west 8-4 and in the hot seat match, faced Robles, who'd sent Immonen over 8-6. Strickland defeated Robles 8-4 and waited for the return of Immonen.
On the losers' side, Bolling and Singh downed Finnegan and Chiappina, respectively; Bolling 8-6 over Finnegan and Singh in a forfeit by Chiappina. Immonen and Yednak switched opponents from the opening round and defeated them a second time; Immonen over Singh 8-1 and Yednak over Bolling 8-2. Immonen took the quarterfinal match against Yednak 8-1 and then elminated Robles 8-3 in the semifinals. Strickland completed his four-match, undefeated day with a 9-3 win over the Iceman in the finals.
In the Amateur event, it took Delimelkonoglu four matches just to reach the winners' side semifinal, where he squared off against Chickie Romero. In the meantime, Shawn Sookhai faced Laszlo Kovacs. Delimelkonoglu defeated Romero 7-6 and in the hot seat match, met up with Sookhai, who'd defeated Kovacs 7-4. In their first of two, Delimelkonoglu and Sookhai battled to double hill before Delimelkonoglu prevailed to sit in the hot seat.
On the loss side, Romero and Kovacs met up with Ron Mason and Tommy Hagan. Mason had gotten by Glenn Ramsey 7-5 and Meshak Daniel 7-2. Hagan, who was in the midst of a six-match, loss-side winning streak that would take him as far as the semifinals, defeated Stuart Warnock 7-5 and survived a double hill match versus James Stevens to draw Kovacs. Mason and Hagan handed Romero and Kovacs their second straight loss; Hagan 7-3 over Kovacs, Mason 7-4 over Romero.
A double hill quarterfinal eventually advanced Hagan to the semifinals, where his loss-side streak came to an end at the hands of Sookhai, who defeated him 7-4 for a second shot against Delimelkonoglu. Their second meeting was as hotly contested as the first. They fought to double hill again, and again Delimelkonogluu prevailed to capture the Amateur title.

Stevens goes undefeated on Predator Amateur stop; Open cancelled due to weather threat

James Stevens picked up his first win on the Predator Tour; in fact, based on information at our disposal, his first win in any tournament, with an undefeated run through 90 entrants, on hand for the $500-added, March 1-2 stop on the Predator Tour, hosted by Steinway Billiards, in Astoria, NY. Responding to concerns about the arrival of seriously inclement weather, the tour stop did not include an Open tournament.
Stevens faced different opponents in the hot seat and finals. Once he'd defeated Diana Rojas 7-5, among the winners' side final four, he faced Steve Wright, who'd just sent Stevens' eventual finals opponent, Victor Nau, to the losers' bracket 7-4. Stevens got into the hot seat with a 7-3 win over Wright and waited for Nau, who'd come later.
On the loss side, Nau picked up Luis Novas, who'd survived a double hill battle versus Dave Shlemperis, and defeated Roberto Mendoza 7-4. Rojas drew Chicky Romero, who'd gotten by Gus Iliotoulos 7-4 and Josh Friedberg 7-5. Nau and Rojas got right back to work, downing Novas (7-4) and Romero (7-3), and advancing to the quarterfinals.
Nau then navigated his way through two straight double hill matches; against Rojas in the quarterfinals, and then, Wright, in the semifinals. It gave him the shot at Stevens that he'd been looking for, although the end result was not what he'd expected. Stevens gave up only a single rack to Nau, completing his undefeated run with a dominating 8-1 performance to claim the event title.

Strickland wins short-field Predator Open; Grassman wins Amateur event

Earl Strickland

Jeremy Sossei and Earl Strickland played twice in the February 23 Open event on the Predator Tour, with Strickland winning both times. Eric Grassman faced two different opponents in the Amateur event over the weekend and won twice, as well; against Diana Rojas and Thomas Rice. The $500-added Amateur event drew 48 entrants, while the $500-added Open drew 10 to Gotham City Billiards in Brooklyn, NY.
Strickland and Sossei met first in the battle for the hot seat. Strickland had downed Jorge Rodriguez 7-5 in one winners' side semifinal, while Sossei defeated Tony Robles 7-3 in the other. Strickland moved into the hot seat with his first win over Sossei 7-3.
Rodriguez moved over to pick up Emily Duddy, who'd defeated Joe Gibbons 7-1 and Larry Ross 7-4. Robles drew Joey Korsiak, who'd gotten by Jerry Tarantola 7-3 and shut out Mike Esposito. Rodriguez and Korsiak met in the quarterfinals, once Rodriguez had downed Duddy 7-2 and Korsiak had defeated Robles 7-3. Rodriguez then shut out Korsiak and got a shot at Sossei in the semifinals. Sossei denied Rodriguez a re-match against Strickland with a 7-5 win, and then, in his own re-match, fell to Strickland in the finals 7-3.
On the Amateur side, the eventual winner, Grassman, met up with Steve Wright among the winners' side final four, as Diana Rojas faced Thomas Rice. Grassman and Rojas advanced to the hot seat match with identical 7-1 wins over Wright and Rice. Grassman sent Rojas to the semifinals 8-4.
On the loss side, Rice picked up James Stevens, who'd defeated William Finnegan 7-1 and Tony Ignomirello 7-4 to reach him. Wright drew Chris Derewonski, who'd gotten by Koka Davladze 7-3 and survived a double hill match against Roberto Mendoza. Wright and Rice got right back to work; Wright shutting out Derewonski, while Rice eliminated Stevens 7-2.
Rice took the quarterfinal match 7-5 over Wright, and successfully navigated his semifinal re-match against Rojas 7-3. Rice battled Grassman to double hill before Grassman prevailed to claim the Amateur event title.
Tour director Tony Robles thanked Gotham City Billiard owners, Kevin and Isabel Buckley, for their hospitality and continuing support of the tour. 

Strickland downs Can twice to take Predator Open; Hagan wins Amateur event

Earl Strickland

Earl Strickland got by Wang Can twice; once in the battle for the hot seat, and again in the finals, to go undefeated on the January 19 stop on the Predator Tour (Open/Pro event). In a concurrently-run Amateur event, Tom Hagan came back from a defeat in the hot seat match versus Bryan Toolsee to meet and defeat him in the finals. The $500-added Open/Pro event drew 15 entrants, while the $500-added Amateur tournament drew 61; both to the Cue Bar in Bayside, Queens, NY.
Strickland and Can's first meeting followed Can's shutout over Omar Alli among the winners' side final four, and Strickland's 7-2 over Tony Robles. Strickland got into the hot seat 7-4 and waited on Can's return.
Robles moved over and met up with Jayson Shaw, who'd defeated Emily Duddy 7-1 and Yuri Kisneresain 7-2 to reach him. Alli drew Zion Zvi, who'd survived two straight double hill matches, versus Mike Nikolaev and Mhet Vergara. Robles eliminated Shaw, double hill, while Zvi ended Alli's day 7-3. Robles then defeated Zvi 7-5, before having his loss-side bid for a Strickland re-match derailed by Can 7-4.
All business, Strickland took command of the final match against Can (who apparently couldn't). The Pearl gave up only a single rack to claim the Open/Pro event title.
In the Amateur event, like Strickland and Can, Tom Hagan and Bryan Toolsee met twice; hot seat and finals, only with a different result. They'd gotten by their winners' side semifinals opponents (Toolsee against Kapriel Delimelkonoglu and Hagan versus Victor Nau) by the same 7-4 score. Toolsee got into the hot seat 8-2, and waited on Hagan's return.
On the loss side, Nau ran into Dave Shlemperis, who'd gotten by Eddie Culhane and Annie Flores, both 7-4. Delimelkonoglu picked up youngster Thomas Rice, who'd defeated Dan Saraguna 7-5 and James Stevens 7-4. Delimelkonoglu got back on the winning track with a 7-2 win over Rice. Nau's day came to an end, when Shlemperis eliminated him 7-4.
Shlemperis then did likewise to Delimelkonoglu, eliminating him 7-4 in the quarterfinals. Shlemperis put up a fight, forcing a deciding 13th game in the semifinals, but Hagan prevailed for a second shot against Toolsee. He took full advantage, defeating Toolsee 10-8 to claim the event title.

Tamba comes from the loss side to win Predator Amateur stop; Robles goes undefeated in Open

Tony Robles

The Predator Tour, which spends a lot of its time in the Tri-State New York area, paid a visit to Rhode Island on the weekend of September 14-15, and (no surprise) was treated to a host of the New England area's top players. As the Red Sox were busy completing their sweep of the Yankees at Fenway Park, Ranulf Tamba, who's spent the past few years plying his trade primarily on the New England-based Rack 'Em Up, and J. Pechauer Ride the 9 Tours went to work in the Amateur division of the Predator stop, and came from the loss side to defeat the Tri-State New York area-based Stewart Warnock. In the Open division, another New England-based regular, Nelson Oliviera, was runner-up to Tony Robles, who he challenged in the hot seat and finals. The $1,000-added Amateur event drew 30 entrants to Snookers, in Providence, RI, while the $1,000-added Open event drew a short field of 12.
In the Amateur event, Tamba was sent to the loss side from among the winners' side final eight 7-1 by Abel Barriento, who advanced to face Warnock in one of the winners' side semifinals. Gail Glazebrook squared off against Irvin Simkins in the other. Warnock got into the hot seat match with a 9-6 win over Barriento, and was met there by Simkins, who'd sent Glazebrook west 7-5. Warnock and Simkins battled to double hill before Warnock prevailed to sit in the hot seat, unaware as he waited for Tamba, that he'd won his final match.
Tamba, in the meantime, went right back to work on the loss side, defeating Brooke Meyer 7-1 and James Stevens 7-5, to pick up Glazebrook. Justin Muller won a double hill match against Billy Santiago and downed Kevin Falco 8-4 to pick up Barriento. Barriento advanced 8-6 over Muller, but Tamba handed Glazebrook her second straight loss 7-4.
Tamba then defeated both Barriento in the quarterfinals and Simkins in the semifinals 7-5. He and Warnock fought tooth and nail to double hill in the finals, but Tamba sunk the final ball to claim the title.
Robles got into the hot seat match in the Open event after downing Tom D'Alfonso 8-4. Oliviera had defeated Justin Muller (tied for 5th in the Amateur event) 8-3 to meet him. Robles took the first of their two 8-4 and waited in the hot seat for the second.
Neither Muller, nor D'Alfonso made it out of their first loss-side match. Phil Davis, who'd gotten by Dan Cintron 8-5 and Clayton Rocha 8-4, beat Muller in a double hill match. D'Alfonso was defeated 8-5 by Ray McNamara, who'd eliminated Jay McCaughey 8-3 and won a double hill battle against Joey Dupuis. 
Davis took the quarterfinal match over McNamara 8-4, but was downed 8-5 by Oliviera in the semifinals. Oliviera took Robles right to the brink, but Robles completed his undefeated run through the short field of 12 to claim the event title.