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Francisco comes from the loss side, again, to win his first on Predator Tri-State Tour

John Francisco & Carlos Duque

Four years ago, during a stop on Tony Robles’ Predator Pro Am Tour at Amsterdam Billiards, New York’s John Francisco, in the midst of what is still his best recorded earnings year (2108), was sent to the loss side in a winners’ side quarterfinal and came back to face and defeat in the finals, the man who’d sent him there, Ehmunrao Toocaram. It was Francisco’s first recorded win and this past weekend (May 21-22), he chalked up his second, this time on the Predator Tri-State Tour. He once again took a loss-side route to the winners’ circle, although it was a considerably shorter route than the one he’d taken in 2018. The $1,000-added event drew 33 entrants to Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY.

Francisco made it to the hot seat match in this event, his first (that we know about) since 2017, when he was denied the hot seat and eliminated in the finals of a stop on the Tri-State Tour. He duplicated all but the last step of that end-game maneuver this time out. He got by Kevin Shin and Abel Rosario to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal versus Jason Goberdhan. In the meantime, his eventual hot seat and final opponent, Carlos Duque navigated his way through Brian Schell (double hill), Amanda Andries and Tom Crane to arrive at his winners’ side semifinal matchup with Mike Pruitt. 

Francisco moved into the hot seat on the heels of a 7-4 victory over Goberdhan and was joined by Duque, who survived his second double hill match, against Pruitt. Duque took a commanding lead in the hot seat match and held on to it, sending Francisco to the semifinals 8-3.

On the loss side, Goberdhan picked up Adrian Daniel, who’d eliminated Thomas Schreiber 7-4 and survived a double hill match against Jaydev Zaveri, to reach him. Pruitt drew Euryel Castillo, who’d knocked out Bob Toomey 7-1 and Tom Crane 9-5.

Daniel gave up only a single rack to Goberdhan and advanced to the quarterfinals. Pruitt and Castillo battled to double hill before Pruitt advanced to join Daniel. In a somewhat surprising turn of events, Daniel advanced to the semifinals after shutting Pruitt out. Francisco came within two racks of doing the same to Daniel in the semifinals, earning himself a second shot at Duque with a 7-2 win.

In the extended-race final, Francisco reached his ‘magic number,’ extending the race to 8. In the end, it proved to be a double hill battle for the title, with Francisco winning it 8-7. 

Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Cue Bar, as well as title sponsor Predator, Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui Tips, Phil Capelle, Pool & Billiards, Professor Q Ball, Bender Cues, Paul Dayton Cues, Bloodworth Ball Cleaner, Joe Romer Trophies and Quick Slick. The next stop on the Predator Tri-State Tour, scheduled for Memorial Day weekend (May 28-30), will be the $2,000-added, 10th Annual George “Ginky” Sansouci Memorial, hosted by Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY. 

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Sossei takes two out of three over Kiamco to win Joss NE 9-Ball Tour stop on Long Island

Warren Kiamco, Raxx Owner Holden Chin and Jeremy Sossei

It was Jeremy Sossei’s third, and second straight, win in four attempts on the 2021-22 Joss Northeast 9-Ball Tour this past weekend (May 14-15). It was Warren Kiamco’s first appearance on the tour this year, and with it being a long way from the man’s ‘first rodeo,’ he got as close to winning it as possible; facing Sossei three times, battling to double hill twice, but winning only the first set of the true double elimination final. The $1,500-added event drew 42 entrants to Raxx Pool Room, Sports Bar & Grill in West Hempstead, NY.

Going into Stop #14, Bucky Souvanthong and Ron Casanzio were the tour’s top two points leaders (#1 & #2), way out in front of the field, based on the number of times they’ve competed in the 2021-22 season and on their finish positions each time they did so. They didn’t compete in Stop #14, which left a door open for Sossei, who obligingly walked in, won his second straight stop on the tour and promptly moved himself into third place in the tour-point standings. Kiamco was probably a ‘wild card’ that Sossei had not expected in the deck.

Sossei ran into some immediate trouble when he opened his run in a double hill battle against Ron Piontkowski. Once over that hurdle, he downed Chuck Allie 9-5 and shut out Chris Lazaravitch, before facing Mhet Vergara in a match that came within a game of double hill. He survived that to draw John Francisco in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Kiamco drew a bye in his opening round and went on to send Troy Deocharran (4), Alex Osipov (2) and Ray Lee (2) to the loss side, picking up Mike Renshaw in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Kiamco got into the hot seat match with a shutout over Renshaw, while Sossei sent Francisco to the loss side 9-4. In his first of three versus Kiamco and the first of two straight double hill matches, Sossei claimed the hot seat.

On the loss side, Francisco drew a rematch against Yesid Garibello, whom he’d sent to the loss side in a third-round, double hill fight. Garibello moved over to engage in a four-match winning streak that had recently eliminated Lazaravitch 7-2 and Caroline Pao, double hill. Renshaw drew Mhet Vergara, who’d followed his winners’ side quarterfinal loss to Sossei with wins over Jay Plonski and Mike Salerno, both 7-4.

Garibello wreaked his vengeance on Francisco 7-5, while Vergara was eliminating Renshaw by the same score, and, as it turned out, by the same score that Vergara eliminated Garibello in the subsequent quarterfinals.

Vergara was one step away from a rematch against Sossei, who’d sent him to the loss side, five matches ago. Unfortunately, for him, it was Warren Kiamco who was in his way in the semifinals that followed. Kiamco was the one who earned the rematch, downing Vergara 7-4.

For the second time, Sossei and Kiamco locked themselves up in a double hill fight, in the opening set of the true double elimination final. This time, though, it was Kiamco who won. The ‘wild card’ was on the table and very much in play. Sossei, though, had his own hand to play and did so in the second set, defeating Kiamco 7-3 to claim title to the 14th stop on the 2021-22 Joss NE 9-Ball Tour.

A $500-added Second Chance tournament drew eight entrants and was won by Raxx Pool Room, Sports Bar & Grill’s owner, Holden Chin. Chin shut out Sly Vachiro in the hot seat match and in the true double-elimination final, faced Mike Callaghan, who’d lost his opening match to Vachiro, won two straight double hill matches to begin his four-match trip back to the finals and then shut out Vachiro in their semifinal rematch. He then took the opening set of the true double elimination final, before Chin came back to shut him out in the second set. 

The next stop on the Joss NE 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for the weekend of June 4-5, will be a $1,500-added event, hosted by Snookers Sports Billiards, Bar & Grill in Providence, RI. The season finale of the 2021-22 season – Turning Stone Classic XXXV 9-Ball Open – is scheduled for September 1-4 at the Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, NY.

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