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Rodriguez goes undefeated, chalks up ‘anniversary’ win on the Sunshine State Pro Am Tour

Les Duffy, Jerry Arvelaez & Ricardo Joel Rodriguez

When Ricardo Joel Rodriguez stepped to the tables this past weekend, Oct. 3-4, to compete on the Sunshine State Pro Am Tour, he was looking to repeat his performance on the weekend of Oct. 5-6, 2019, when he won on the same tour, at the same location (Brewlands Bar & Billiards in Lakeland, FL) and collected the same 1st place prize of $1,000. This year’s $1,400-added event on the tour ($1,000 from Brewlands owner, Larry Wathal and $400 from the raffle of a Predator Cue) drew a full field of 64 entrants with 16 players on a waiting list.

Rodriguez had to get by Les Duffy twice to complete his undefeated run. The two had distinctly different trips to the winners’ side semifinal when they met for the first time. Rodriguez, racing to 8, faced four opponents (Jacob Songer, Anthony Fisher, Trenton White and Marcos Bielostozky) and played 50 games, winning 64% of them (32-18). Duffy, racing to 7, faced four opponents, as well (Francisco Serrano, Joselito Martinez, Kyle Fee and Alberto Perez), but only played a total of 34 games. He won 82% of those games (28-6), bolstered by back-to-back shutouts over Fee and Perez. 

In the meantime, Jerry Arvelaez worked his way to the other winners’ side semifinal against David Singleton. Arvelaez’s trip was (statistically) about halfway between Rodriguez and Duffy; four opponents (Micah Daughtery, Monthrep Hongsyok, Jimmy Antonietta & Enrique Gamez), 40 games, a 77% game-winning percentage (31-9) and one shutout, over Antonietta. Singleton, just to complete what turned out to be the event’s top four finishers, got by Nick Lewis, Derek Laprairie, Chris Filippelli and what ended up being the event’s top finishing female, Nicole Cuellar. Singleton rounded out the percentage ‘game’ at 70%; winning 29 of the 41 that had gotten him as far as the winners’ side semifinal. 

The four arrived at the winners’ side semifinals, in game-percentage winning order as 1) Duffy, 2) Arvelaez, 3) Singleton and 4) Rodriguez. Rodriguez would, in two matches, jump four steps to win it, as the other three maintained the relative positions they held going into those winners’ side semifinals.

Singleton downed Arvelaez 8-3, as Rodriguez was busy sending Duffy to the loss side 8-4. Rodriguez claimed the hot seat 7-4 over Arvelaez and waited on Duffy’s return.

On the loss side, Duffy picked up Sam Kantar, who was working on a six-match, loss-side winning streak that was about to end and had recently included victories over Gamez 7-2 and a shutout over Cuellar. Singleton drew Bielostozky, who, following his defeat at the hands of Rodriguez, had survived two straight double hill matches and eliminated Joselito Martinez and Ameet Kukadia.

Singleton and Duffy got right back to winning ‘work.’ Singleton downed Bielostozky 7-2 and in the quarterfinals, faced Duffy, who’d stopped Kantar’s winning streak 7-3. Duffy then dropped Singleton 7-5 in those quarterfinals and left Arvelaez in 3rd place with a 6-4 victory that earned him his second shot against Rodriguez, waiting for him in the hot seat.

Duffy began the final race to 10 with one ‘bead on the wire’ and got out to a lead that at the 7-4 mark, looked fairly grim for Rodriguez. But Rodriguez fought back, winning five of the next six games to bring the match to a double hill, final game. Duffy broke the final rack into what looked like a winning layout. He played to the 5-ball and scratched. Rodriguez took the ball in hand and completed the rack to claim the event title.

Tour directors Janene Phillips and Bobby Garza thanked Larry Wathal and his Brewlands staff, as well as title sponsor The Predator Group, Kamui, Central Florida USA Pool League, Stitch It To Me Embroidery, Diamond Products, and AZBilliards. The next event on the Sunshine State Pro Am Tour, scheduled for the weekend of November 14-15, will be the tour’s Amateur 9-Ball Bar Box Championships, to be hosted by Racks Sports Bar & Billiards, in Sanford, FL.

Arvelaez and Martinez split top prizes on Sunshine State Pro Am

Raymond Linares, Jerry Arvelaez and Joselito Martinez

At 3 a.m. on Sunday morning, September 13, at Boulevard Billiards in Ocala, FL, Jerry Arvelaez and Joselito Martinez opted out of a final match at the 4th stop on the Sunshine State Pro Am Tour. They were prepared for one, but the venue was closing. As the occupant of the hot seat at the time, Arvelaez was declared the official winner and according to our records, it was his first major win. The $1,250-added, Open 10-Ball event ($750 by Boulevard Billiards’ owner Don Kreischer and $500 by Predator for cue raffle) drew 64 entrants.

Though the event was won by relatively new talent, the full field was not without its share of top-notch Florida (or anywhere else, for that matter) talent. Raymond Linares made it to the hot seat match. Donny Mills, Tony Crosby, James Sandaler, Obie Cirillo, and co-tour director Bobby Garza were in the mix, as well.

Arvelaez, though, went 6-0 and defeated three of those – Cirillo, Sandaler and Linares. He opened with a victory over Malcom Dodson before facing and sending Cirillo to the loss side 7-5. He survived a double hill fight versus Jon Gore, before sending his eventual and just potential opponent in the finals Joselito Martinez to the loss side 7-3, which set him up to face Sandaler in one winners’ side semifinal. Raymond Linares, in the meantime, had defeated John Souders, Justin Toye, Ameet Kukadia, and Donny Mills 7-3 to face Joel Rodriguez in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Linares moved into the hot seat match on the heels of his 7-5 victory over Rodriguez. He was joined by Arvelaez, who’d defeated Sandaler 7-3. In what proved to be his last match, Arvelaez claimed the hot seat by giving up only a single rack to Linares in the match.

On the loss side, Sandaler picked up Jon Gore, who, after his double hill loss to Arvelaez, won three in a row, including two rather significant wins over Donny Mills 5-1 and Tony Crosby, double hill. Rodriguez picked up Martinez, who’d also lost to Arvelaez, and then survived a double hill battle versus Ameet Kukadia and eliminated junior player Trenton White 6-4.

Sandaler and Gore locked up in a double hill fight, eventually won Gore. Martinez downed Rodriguez 5-3 to join Gore in the quarterfinals. Martinez ended Gore’s loss-side winning streak 5-3 in those quarterfinals, and then, like Arvelaez in the hot seat match, gave up only a single rack to Linares in the semifinal.

Arvelaez and Martinez agreed to the split. Everybody went home.

Tour directors Janene Phillips and Bobby Garza thanked title sponsor The Predator Group, Kamui, Central Florida USA Pool League, Stitch-It-To-Me Embroidery, Diamond Products & AZ Billiards. They also gave a shout out to Don Kreischer and his Boulevard Billiards staff, in particular for the effort Kreischer and John Souders put into re-covering the tables, which at the time of the event “looked and played great.” The next stop on the Sunshine State Pro Am Tour, scheduled for the weekend of Oct. 3-4, will be a $1,000-added Amateur 9-Ball event, hosted by Brewlands North in Lakeland, FL.