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Castillo goes undefeated, downs Laboy twice to win 1st Predator Pro Am Tour title

(l to r): Euryel Castillo, Mike Callaghan & Miguel Laboy

The nature of pool lends itself to showdowns between long-time veterans and so-called ‘young guns,’ although not all of them are necessarily young. The finals of this past weekend’s (Feb. 15-16) stop on the Predator Pro Am Tour was a case in point, when newcomer Euryel Castillo, with only six cash finishes and one event victory (*) on his ‘resume,’ all recorded within the past year, faced off against Miguel Laboy, with cash finishes and multiple event victories, dating back 15 years, to his first appearance at the 2005 US Open 9-Ball Championships, at which he finished 33rd (along with Tony Robles, by the way). The ‘young gun’ Castillo came out on top in this one, going undefeated and taking Laboy down twice at the $1,000-added event that drew 84 entrants to Raxx Billiards in West Hempstead, NY.

Their first get-together was in the battle for the hot seat. Castillo had defeated Monika Callaghan (whose husband was already toiling away on the loss side) 7-3, while Laboy was involved dispatching George Poltorak to the loss side 9-5. In their first of two, they battled to double hill before Castillo prevailed to claim the hot seat.

On the loss side, George Poltorak picked up Eli Trajceski, who’d recently defeated Jaydev Zaveri 7-3 and survived a double hill battle against Troy Deocharran. Monika Callaghan drew her husband, Michael, which is always the kind of match that draws speculation about how their relationship will proceed immediately after one of them wins; the standard speculation which follows a husband victory is usually about the husband spending at least one night sleeping on a couch. Michael had defeated Katie Baker 6-3 and Mikhail Kim 7-3 to reach his wife.

Poltorak and Trajceski locked up in a double hill fight that eventually sent Poltorak to the quarterfinals. He was joined by Michael Callaghan, who’d sent his wife home (figuratively) 6-3, his assumed night on the couch possibly avoided by the eventual $1,000 in cash they managed to bring home as a team.

Michael advanced a step further, downing Poltorak in the quarterfinals 7-4. His loss-side run was stopped by Laboy who downed him 11-9 in the semifinals, to earn a second shot at Castillo in the hot seat.

The odds in the final match were likely on Laboy’s side. Castillo, though, did not apparently get that memo, as he defeated Laboy 10-4 to capture his first non-asterisk (meaning, played a final match) title.

A Second Chance event which drew 16 entrants was won John Francisco, who pocketed $160 for the win. Sean DaCosta was runner-up ($100), with Debbie Buyukdeniz and Erick Toledo finishing in the tie for 3rd ($30 each).

Tour director Tony Robles thanked Josh and Holden Chin and their Raxx Billiards staff for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor Predator Cues, Ozone Billiards, PlayNAPL.com, The DeVito Team, PoolOnTheNet.com, Cappelle (BilliardsPress.com), AZBilliards, Pool & Billiard Magazine and Billiards Digest. He also thanked his own Predator Pro Am staff to include his lovely wife, Gail. The next stop on the Predator Pro Am Tour, scheduled for March 14-15, will be hosted by Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY.

The Iceman goes undefeated to win Predator Pro Am Open/Pro Championships

Robles wins 7 on the loss side and is runner-up for second straight year 

(l to r): Mike Salerno, Jorge Rodriguez, Mika Immonen & Tony Roble

Ten years ago, in what was reportedly his best earnings year ever, Finland’s Mika Immonen (aka The Iceman) cashed in a total of 29 events all over the world, 21 of which he finished as either the winner (13), the runner-up (4; to include his appearance on Europe’s Mosconi Cup team) or in third place (4). Six of his 13 victories that year were chalked up in the state of New York; he won a stop on the Tri-State Tour, two on the Joss NE 9-Ball Tour, and three on the Predator Pro Am Tour. Many of the cash winners in those three 2009 Predator events were present for the 2019 Tour Championships held on the weekend of December 14-15 at the event’s traditional location, Raxx Billiards in West Hempstead, NY. They included Jorge Rodriguez, Frankie Hernandez, Mhet Vergara and Tour Director Tony Robles, who, in the 2009 events won by Immonen, finished third in February, 5th in July and 9th in October. Notable, as always, in his absence from this year’s event was George “Ginky” Sansouci, who was 5th in that 2009 February event, 13th in July and tied with Robles for 9th in October.

The Predator Pro Am Tour’s defending Open/Pro Tour Champion and the 2018 runner-up met in this year’s semifinal; Jorge Rodriguez and Tony Robles, respectively. It was, though, Mika Immonen who became the 2019 champion, going undefeated through a field of 24 entrants, on-hand for the $1,000-added, 10-ball event at Raxx Billiards.

A concurrently-run, $9,930-added A/B/C/D Amateur event (separate story), which drew 93 entrants, was won by Pascal Dufresne, one of the tour’s 18 event winners this year. Sent to the loss side early, Dufresne won seven in a row before meeting and defeating hot seat occupant Ryan Dayrit in the finals.

For the second year in a row at the Open/Pro Championships, Rodriguez battled for the hot seat; last year, versus Robles, this year, against The Iceman. This year, Robles was sent to the loss side by Frankie Hernandez and like Dufresne in the Amateur event would win seven on that side of the bracket for the right to face Immonen in the finals.

Immonen advanced through the field to draw Joey Korsiak in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Rodriguez, in the meantime, faced Mike Salerno in the other one. Immonen gave up only a single rack to Korsiak and moved on to the hot seat match. He was joined by Rodriguez, who’d sent Salerono west 7-4. The Iceman and Rodriguez battled to a somewhat predictable double hill battle that eventually sent Rodriguez to the semifinals.

On the loss side, Robles chalked up wins #3 and #4 against John Francisco (7-2) and Mhet Vergara (double hill) to draw Korsiak. Salerno picked up Frankie Hernandez, who’d eliminated Jimmy Conn 7-2 and Jonathan Smith 7-3 to reach him. A potential rematch between Hernandez and Robles loomed in the shortly-distant quarterfinals.

Robles did what he could to affect that rematch with a 7-5 victory over Korsiak in the event’s first money round. Salerno, though, ended Hernandez’ weekend 7-4.

Robles downed Salerno 7-5 in the quarterfinals, setting up a repeat of the 2018 hot seat match and final; Robles versus Rodriguez. They split those two matches last year. Robles, winning the first one and Rodriguez, claiming the title in the finals. Robles earned his shot against The Iceman with a 7-2 win over Rodriguez in that semifinal matchup, guaranteeing himself at least a repeat, runner-up finish and a certainly possible finish as the Open/Pro Champion.

According to Robles, he lost that final matchup, early. He missed an early shot that he says he shouldn’t have missed and The Iceman used the resultant momentum to move on and win the match 7-4.

“I made one mistake in that final match,” said Robles later, “and it cost me.”

Robles thanked Holden Chin, Matthew Harricharan, Troy Deocharran, and Joshua Friedberg’s Raxx staff for their hospitality, his own Predator Pro Am staff (to include his lovely wife, Gail) and title sponsor Predator Cues, Ozone Billiards, PlayNAPL.com, The DeVito Team, PoolOnTheNet.com, Cappelle (BilliardsPress.com), AZBilliards, Pool & Billiard Magazine and Billiards Digest. The Predator Pro Am Tour will open its 2020 season at Amsterdam BIlliards with an event scheduled for the weekend of January 18-19, 2020

Rosario returns from hot seat loss to chalk up third 2019 regional win on the Predator Pro Am

(l to r): Alberto Estevez, JC Iglesias, Abel Rosario & Jason Goberdhan

Abel Rosario, #3 on the Predator Pro Am Tour’s B+ standings list, won his third 2019 regional tour victory on the weekend of November 16-17. Last month, he went undefeated in the Mixed Advanced division of Michael Fedak’s  NYC 8-Ball Championships, while earlier this year (August), he came from the loss side to win a rematch victory over (at the time), relative newcomer Euryel Castillo in a Tri-State Tour stop at Steinway Billiards. As he’d done in August, Rosario gave up the hot seat in this most recent event, this time to another relative newcomer JC Iglesias. Rosario returned from the semifinals to down Iglesias in the finals. The $1,000-added event drew 73 entrants to Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY.
 
Their first meeting followed victories in their respective winners’ side semifinals. Rosario had defeated Russell Masciotti 7-3, as Iglesias was at work on a 7-4 win over Carlos Duque. Iglesias, on the basis of five appearances, is the #30-ranked C+ player on the Predator Pro Am Tour’s standings list. He downed the tour’s #3-ranked B+ player 7-5 and sat in the hot seat awaiting his return.
 
On the loss side, Duque and Masciotti ran right into their second straight loss. The tour’s #2 C+ player, Jason Goberdhan, who’d defeated Zain Sundaram 7-5 and Juan Melendez 7-3, eliminated Duque 7-4. Alberto Estevez, who’d gotten by John Francisco 7-3 and the tour’s #1 A player, Lidio Ramirez, also 7-3, defeated Masciotti 7-5.
 
Goberdhan then eliminated Estevez 7-2 in the quarterfinals, before having his bid for a title ended 7-4 by Rosario in the semifinals.
 
In the extension-to-9 finals, Rosario reached his ‘7-spot’ first. He added two more to defeat Iglesias 9-4 and claim the event title.
 
A 15-entrant, single elimination Second Chance event was won Euryel Castillo with a double hill final victory over Thomas Schreiber. Castillo pocketed $160 for the win, Schreiber took home $100. Shawn Sookhai and Irene Kim each won $20 for their third place tie.
 
Tour director Tony Robles thanked the owner and staff at Cue Bar for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor Predator Cues, Ozone Billiards, PlayNAPT.com, The DeVito Team, Poolonthenet.com, Capelle (BilliardsPress.com), AZBilliards, Pool & Billiard Magazine, Billiards Digest and his own Predator Pro Am team, to include his lovely wife, Gail. The next stop on the Predator Pro Am Tour, scheduled for the weekend of November 30-Dec. 1 will be the tour’s annual Thanksgiving Classic, hosted by Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY. Two weeks later, the tour will host its final event of the 2019 season, the Predator Pro Am Tour Championships, scheduled for the weekend of Dec. 14-15, and hosted by Raxx Billiards in West Hempstead, NY.

Daniele and Lapadula split top prizes on the Tri-State Tour

(l to r): Teddy Lapadula & Marco Daniele

Marco Daniele’s first win anywhere, and on the Tri-State Tour specifically, comes with a common asterisk, awarded when an individual claims an event title without benefit of a final match, opting, instead, to split the top two (sometimes, three) prizes with his/her opponent in the finals. It’s been Daniele’s first year in the AZ database and he’s cashed in three separate events. He finished 9th on a Tri-State stop back in June, 17th a month later on the Predator Pro Am Tour and just last month, finished 3rd in the NYC 8-Ball Championships (Mixed Open division). He capped that with an official win, earned by going undefeated to the hot seat and, with Teddy Lapadula, opting out of a final match. The $1,000-added, 10-ball event drew 25 entrants to Clifton Billiards in Clifton, NJ.
 
Daniele’s path to the winners’ circle went through Bianca Martinez, Sung Lee and Anthony Nasta to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal match against the opponent with whom he would ultimately split the top two cash prizes, Teddy Lapadula. Shivam Gupta, in the meantime, after an opening round bye, downed Tri Chau and Luis Jimenez to draw Paul Madonia in the other winners’ side semifinal.
 
Daniele defeated Lapadula 5-3 and in the hot seat match, faced Gupta, who’d sent Madonia to the loss side 6-4. What proved to be Daniele’s last match of the day was a double hill battle for the hot seat, which he eventually won 8-7.
 
On the loss side, Lapadula opened his loss-side campaign against Brian Schell, who’d defeated Mike Strassberg 5-2 and Anthony Nasta 5-1 to reach him. Madonia drew Dave Shlemperis, who’d eliminated Steve Kalloo, double hill (6-5) and John Francisco 6-4.
 
Madonia advanced to the quarterfinals with a 6-2 win over Shlemperis and was joined by Lapadula, who’d defeated Schell 5-2. Lapadula then downed Madonia 6-3 and advanced to his last match, facing Gupta in the semifinals.
 
Lapadula finished the night with a 7-5 victory over Gupta, before entering the negotiations with Daniele that would lead to the split of the top two cash prizes. As the undefeated occupant of the hot seat, Daniele claimed his first event title.
 
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Clifton Billiards, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui, Phil Capelle, Bloodworth Ball Cleaner, Billiard Engineering, Pool & Billiards, Professor Q Ball, Bender Cues and Pool & Billiards. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for Sunday, November 10, will be hosted by Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY.

Mazzeo comes back from hot seat loss to win his first Tri-State title

(l to r): Joe Mazzeo & Alfredo Altimarino

Joe Mazzeo didn’t just come back from a hot seat loss in which he’d managed only a single rack, he roared back and returned the single-rack favor to Alfredo Altimarino to claim his first Tri-State Tour title on Sunday, December 6. The $1,000-added, 8-ball event, the Tri-State Tour’s first of 2019, drew 34 entrants to Clifton Billiards in Clifton, NJ.
 
Mazzeo worked his way through a number of Tri-State veterans to claim his first title, including, in order, Jaydev Zaveri 6-5 and Paul Spaanstra 6-4, to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal against John Francisco. Altimarino, in the meantime, vying for his first Tri-State title as well, got by his own list of Tri-State veterans, including Mike Strassberg 5-2, Andrew Ciccoria 5-4 and Artur Trzeciak 5-3 to arrive at the other winners’ side semifinal against Teddy Lapadula.
 
In their first of two, Mazzeo sent Francisco to the loss side 6-3. They would meet again in the semifinals. Altimarino shut out LaPadula and joined Mazzeo in the hot seat match. Altimarino claimed his first hot seat by allowing Mazzeo only that single rack.
 
On the loss side, Francisco picked up Fernando Galeas, who’d defeated Luis Jimenez 6-4 and Paul Spaanstra 6-1 to reach him. LaPadula drew Clint Pires, who’d recently eliminated Artur Trzeciak 5-1 and Ada Lio 6-4. Francisco advanced to the quarterfinals 6-3 over Galeas. He was joined by Pires, who defeated LaPadula 5-2.
 
Francisco earned his rematch against Mazzeo with a 6-4 victory over Pires in the quarterfinals, but reckoned without Mazzeo’s determination for his own rematch against Altimarino. Over the next 15 games in two matches, Mazzeo gave up only a single rack. He shut Francisco out in the semifinal rematch and then, gave up just one against Altimarino in the finals to claim his first Tri-State title.
 
Tour 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 Saturday, January 12, will be hosted by Shooters Family Billiards in Wayne, NJ.

Gupta comes from the loss side to nail down his third 2018 Tri-State Tour title

Shivam Gupta and Ricky Deng

 

Shivam Gupta had recorded two previous victories on the Tri-State Tour this year, when he stepped to the tables to compete in a tour stop at BQE Billiards in Jackson Heights, NY on Sunday, September 30. Overall, Gupta had captured three Tri-State titles, although the first two were recorded with an ‘asterisk,’ because while he had advanced to the hot seat, he hadn’t played and won a final match. This past April, he changed that by going undefeated and winning a final match against Jaydev Zaveri. On Sunday, September 30, Gupta chose a different route, the loss side, from which to capture his third 2018 title (his first in the 2018-2019 Tri-State Tour season).
The $1,000-added event drew 36 entrants to BQE Billiards.
 
This was only Gupta’s second appearance on the 2018-2019 tour, playing in the B+ class. He  advanced on the winners’ side of the bracket, past John Francisco 7-2 and Lidio Ramirez, double hill, to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal against Bob Toomey. Ricky Deng, in the meantime, looking for his first win on the Tri-State Tour, met up with Daniel Decker.
 
Toomey sent Gupta west 7-4 and in the hot seat match, faced Deng, who’d defeated Decker 7-2. Deng claimed the hot seat over Toomey 6-1 and waited on the return of Gupta.
 
On the loss side, Gupta picked up his nemesis from the earlier finals matchup in April, Jaydev Zaveri, who’d defeated Ramirez 7-2 and Jerry Almodovar 7-3 to reach him. Decker drew Mike Garetta, who’d eliminated Luis LaPuente 6-3 and Nathaniel Raimondo 7-2.
 
Gupta defeated Zaveri 7-3, while Garetta was busy downing Decker 6-3. Gupta then won the quarterfinal match 7-4 over Garetta and earned his spot in the finals with a double hill win over Toomey in the semifinals.
 
Though Deng jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the finals, Gupta came back to tie and then move ahead, 3-2. From that point, Gupta stayed in control, winning it 9-7 to claim his third 2018 Tri-State title.
 
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at BQE Billiards, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui Tips, Phil Cappelle, Blue Book Publishing, Human Kinetics, Pool & Billiards, Professor Q Ball, Bender Cues and DIGICUE OB. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for Sunday, October 7, will be hosted by Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY. 
 

Osipov finishes 5th in Amateur event, goes undefeated to take Open/Pro division of Predator Pro Am

John Francisco, Ehmunrao Toocaram, Ron Bernardo, and Han Park

Francisco comes from the loss side to win Amateur division event
 
Alex Osipov had quite a weekend on the Predator Pro Am Tour. He made it to a winners’ side semifinal in the $1,000-added, 80-entrant Amateur event of the July 7-8 stop on the tour, before being sent to the loss side. He lost his first match on that side of the bracket and finished in the tie for 5th place. He moved on to compete in the $500-added Open/Pro event, with 18 presumably tougher opponents, and proceeded to go undefeated through the field to claim that event title. Both events were hosted by the Amsterdam Billiard Club in Manhattan.
 
Osipov advanced through the Open/Pro field to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal match against Matthew Harricharan. Raphael Dabreo, in the meantime, squared off against Jonathan Smith in the other winners’ side semifinal. Osipov defeated Harricharan 7-5 and in the hot seat match, faced DaBreo, who’d sent Smith to the loss side 7-2. Osipov claimed the hot seat 7-4 over DaBreo and waited on his return from the semifinals.
On the loss side, Smith picked up one of the New York Tri-State area’s hottest players at the moment, Joey Korsiak, who’d defeated Duc Lam and Michael Yednak, both 7-5 to reach him. Harricharan drew Hunter Lombardo, who’d recently eliminated Troy Deocharran 7-4 and Zion Zvi 7-5.
 
Korsiak and Lombardo advanced to the quarterfinals; Korsiak 7-5 over Smith and Lombardo 7-3 over Harricharan. Lombardo took the quarterfinal fight 7-4, but by the same score, had his loss-side streak ended by DaBreo in the semifinals. In their re-match DaBreo managed one rack more than he scored against Osipov in the hot seat match, but it wasn’t enough. Osipov completed his undefeated run 7-5 to claim the title.
 
Francisco wins five on the loss side to meet and defeat Toocaram in Amateur finals
 
Sent to the loss side by the eventual occupant of the hot seat, Ehmunrao Toocaram, John Francisco defeated five opponents on the loss side, including Alex Osipov, before meeting Toocaram a second time, in the finals. He defeated him to claim the Amateur event title.
 
Toocaram had advanced through the field of 80 to meet up with Osipov in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Ron Bernardo faced Corey Avallone in the other one. Toocaram sent Osipov to the loss side in a double hill battle, and in the hot seat, faced Bernardo, who’d given up only a single rack to Avallone (6-1). Toocaram won his last match, downing Bernardo 8-5 to claim the hot seat.
 
On the loss side, Osipov picked up what proved to be his final opponent in the Amateur event; the eventual winner, Francisco, who, following his defeat at the hands of Toocaram, had eliminated Chickie Romero, double hill, and Robert Mendoza 9-5. Avallone drew Han Clark, who’d defeated the recently-crowned Tri-State Tour Invitational Champion, Erick Carrasco 7-5, and Kunami Chau 7-4.
 
The loss-side opponents in the battle for advancement both prevailed. Clark downed Chau 7-4, as Francisco sent Osipov to the Pro event with a 9-5 win. In two straight 7-4 victories, Francisco then eliminated Han Clark in the quarterfinals, and Ron Bernardo in the semifinals.
 
Toocaram had sent Francisco to the loss side 7-4 in a winners’ side quarterfinal. In their battle for the event title, they went double hill before Francisco dropped the final ball to claim it.
 
A Second Chance event that drew 16 entrants saw Greg Myer defeat Rene Villalobos, double hill, to claim the $160 first-place prize. Duc Lam finished in third place, with Jay Choi, in fourth. Ambi Estevez took the 10-entrant Third Chance event, claiming the $130 first-place prize after defeating Chickie Romero 7-2 in the finals.
 
Tour director Tony Robles thanked the ownership and staff at the Amsterdam Billiard Club, as well as sponsors Predator Cues, Ozone Billiards, PlayNAPL.com, The DeVito Team, PoolOnTheNet.com, Billiards Press.com, AZBilliards, Pool&Billiards Magazine, and Billiards  Digest. The next stop on the Predator Pro Am Tour, scheduled for the weekend of August 11-12, will be hosted by Boardwalk Billiards in Brooklyn, NY. Robles also reminded potential players that the 2nd Annual New York City 8-Ball Scotch Doubles Championships, to be held under the auspices of his Silent Assassin Productions company, will be hosted by Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY on the weekend of August 4-5.
 

Shlemperis and Zaveri split top prizes on the Tri-State Tour

(L to r): Dave Shlemperis & Jaydev Zaveri

 

Dave Shlemperis and Jaydev Zaveri battled once to claim title to the $1,000-added, April 29 event on the Tri-State Tour. That battle, for the hot seat, was won by Shlemperis, and though Zaveri would make a successful comeback from the semifinals, the two opted out of a final match and split the top two prizes. The event, which drew 46 entrants, was hosted by Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY.
 
Following victories over Duc Lam, Abel Rosario, Basdeo Sookhai and Kirill Safronov, Shlemperis advanced to a winners’ side semifinal against John Francisco. Zaveri, in the meantime, met up with Juan Melendez. Shlemperis punched his ticket to the hot seat match with a 7-3 win over Francisco and was joined by Zaveri, who’d defeated Melendez 8-6. In what proved to be the ‘championship match,’ Shlemperis defeated Zaveri 7-2.
 
On the loss side, Mike Mele was working on a six-game, loss-side winning streak that would take him as far as the semifinals, and began when, following an opening round bye, he was sent to that side of the bracket by Francisco. Wins #2 and #3, against Adam Miller (6-1) and Mio Celaj, double hill, set Mele up for a re-match against Francisco. Melendez drew Ray Feliciano, who’d gotten by Christian Longo, double hill, and Jeffrey Rosen 9-4, to reach him.
 
Mele came out on the winning side of his second straight double hill match, exacting his revenge on Francisco. Feliciano joined him in the quarterfinal match with an 8-4 win over Melendez.
 
Tired, apparently, of double-hill drama, Mele shut Feliciano out in that quarterfinal match, onlya to be drawn into his third double hill match; this time, against Zaveri, in the semifinals that proved to be the event’s final match. Zaveri prevailed and then, in consort with Shlemperis, opted out of a final and split the top two prizes.
 
Tour representatives thanked Manny Stamatakis and his Steinway Billiards staff, 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, a $1,000-added, double points event, scheduled for Sunday, May 6, will be hosted by BQE Billiards in Jackson Heights, NY.
 

Gupta and Crescimanno split top prizes on the Tri-State Tour

(l to r): Vinnie Crescimanno & Shivam Gupta

It was Shivam Gupta’s second victory on the Tri-State Tour, although both of them have gone into the record books with an asterisk, labeled “No final match played.” In November of 2013, Gupta went undefeated through a field of 37, but he played his last match, against Chris Derewonski, battling for the hot seat. When Derewonski returned from the semifinals, they opted out of a final match, leaving the undefeated Gupta as the event’s official winner. On Sunday, February 18, at a $1,000-added, 10-ball event on the Tri-State Tour, which drew 54 entrants to Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY, Gupta came back from a loss to Vinnie Crescimanno in the hot seat match and by mutual agreement, they split the top two prizes. Though Gupta was willing to play the final match, issues related to employment led to Crescimanno’s decision to opt out of that match. Also by mutual agreement, they split the cash, with Gupta receiving the larger share (and related tour ranking points) as the official winner.
 
Following victories over Duc Lam, Jose Estevez, Brian Cap and Mio Celaj, Gupta moved into a winners’ side semifinal match against John Francisco. Crescimanno, in the meantime, squared off against Ralph Ramos, Jr. Gupta advanced to the hot seat match 6-4 over Francisco, while Crescimanno was surviving a double hill match against Ramos. Crescimanno claimed the hot seat 6-2.
 
On the loss side, Dave Callaghan, who’d been defeated by Francisco in a winners’ side quarterfinal, downed Jaydev Zaveri 6-2 and Dave Shlemperis 6-4 to earn himself a re-match versus Francisco. Ramos, Jr. picked up his father, Ralph Ramos, Sr., who’d defeated Kevin Chong and Jose Baez, both 5-1, to reach him.
 
Callaghan wreaked re-match vengeance on Francisco 6-1 to advance to the quarterfinals, as Ramos, Sr. downed Ramos, Jr. 5-3 to join him. Callaghan then allowed father and son to go home at more or less the same time with a 5-2 win over Ramos, Sr. in the quarterfinals.
 
Gupta played what proved to be the final match of the event, the semifinals, defeating Callaghan 6-3. The mutual agreement to split the top prizes, and award Gupta the official event title was reached, and it was over.
 
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Cue Bar, 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, February 25, will be a C/D 9-Ball event, hosted by Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY.

Hosang goes undefeated in his second win on the Tri-State Tour

(l to r): Eugene Ok & Geovani Hosang

Until this past weekend, it had been one week shy of three years since Geovani Hosang had won a stop on the Tri-State Tour. It was, according to our records, Hosang’s best earnings year at the tables (2013), with an undefeated win on the Tri-State Tour, a fifth on the Predator Tour and a 13th place finish in the Ginky Memorial’s Amateur tournament. Hosang chalked up his second victory on the Tri-State Tour on Sunday, November 5, once again, going undefeated, this time in a $1,000-added event that drew 20 entrants to Cue Bar Lounge & Billiards in Bayside (Queens), NY.
 
Hosang was challenged by separate opponents in the hot seat and finals in this one. He’d advanced to a winners’ side semifinal against John Francisco, as Mike Strassberg faced Bob Toomey in the other one. Hosang’s hot seat challenger proved to be Strassberg, who defeated Toomey 6-2, as Hosang sent Francisco west, double hill. In his second straight double hill match, Hosang sent Strassberg to the semifinals, where he’d run into the event’s runner-up, Eugene Ok, who’d end up winning eight on the loss side to meet Hosang in the finals.
 
On the loss side, it was Francisco who ran into Ok, who’d defeated Tony Cosenza and Jaydev Zaveri, both 7-5, to reach him. Toomey drew Esteban Morrell, Jr., who’d eliminated Irene Kim 7-2 and Allison LaFleur 7-3. Once Ok had defeated Francisco 7-4 and Morrell had downed Toomey 6-3, it was Ok and Morrell, who’d both lost in the event’s opening round, duking it out in the double hill quarterfinals that followed.
 
Ok advanced to the semifinals, where a 7-5 win over Strassberg gave him a shot at Hosang in the finals. Ok’s eight-match, loss-side winning streak came to an end with a double hill win by Hosang in those finals.
 
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Cue Bar, 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, November 12, will be a $1,000-added, Double Points event, hosted by Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY.