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Guzman wins five on the loss side to take Tri-State stop at Steinway

(l to r): Juan Guzman & Omar Hulse

Three years ago, Juan Guzman, who competes these days as an A+/A player, had what was, according to our records, his best earnings year to date. He won two events each on the Predator Pro Am and Tri-State Tours that year (2016) and was runner-up in the Ginky Memorial that’s run by both tours. He had a couple of slim years after that, but he appears to be returning to form. He’s unlikely to match his 2016 earnings before this year ends, but he has already this year, won a stop on the Predator Pro Am and on Sunday, November 10, he won his second stop on the 2019-2020 Tri-State Tour. He won five on the loss side and in the finals, downed hot seat occupant Omar Hulse to claim the event title. The $1,000-added event drew 48 entrants to Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY.
Alberto Estevez sent Guzman to the loss side 7-4 in a winners’ side quarterfinal and advanced to a winners’ side semifinal against the tour’s #1 A/A+ player, Max Watanabe. Hulse, in the meantime, squared off against Raul Calderon in the other winners’ side semifinal.
Watanabe sent Estevez over to what proved to be an immediate rematch against Guzman, while Hulse was busy surviving a double hill match versus Calderon. Hulse, a C+ player, downed Watanabe 8-6 and waited in the hot seat for Guzman to finish his loss-side run.
Guzman launched his loss-side run with a 7-5 victory over Shawn Basdeo Sookhai, and followed it with a 7-5 win over Jose Estevez, to draw a rematch against Alberto Estevez. Calderon picked up Bianca Martinez, who’s the tour’s #2 female and #2 C player (behind Michelle Brotons, who’s the tour’s #1 female and #1 C player). Bianca Martinez had defeated Luis Lopez 6-2 and Jonathan Martinez to pick up Calderon.
Guzman didn’t get to play the rematch against Estevez. Instead, he leapfrogged right into the quarterfinals, when Estevez forfeited. He was joined by Bianca Martinez, who’d ended Calderon’s day 6-4.
Guzman, in turn, ended Bianca’s day 10-5 in those quarterfinals, and then, from his position as the tour’s #7 A+/A player met up with the tour’s #1 A+/A player, Watanabe in the semifinals. Guzman sent Watanabe to the showers (so to speak) 7-4 and advanced to the finals against Hulse.
Coming from the loss side, Guzman had to reach 9 ahead of Hulse in the finals for the opportunity to extend the match to 11 games. Otherwise, it would end if Hulse reached 9 games first. They battled back and forth to an 8-8 tie before Guzman won his 9th to extend the race. He never looked back and finished things at 11-8 to earn his second win on the Tri-State’s 2019-2020 tour.
Tour representatives thanked Manny Stamatakis and his Steinway Billiards staff for their hospitality, 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 Tri-State event, scheduled for Sunday, November 17, will be hosted by Shooter’s Family Billiards in Wayne, NJ.

Bozigian goes undefeated to capture Eastern States Amateur Championships

(l to r): Tony Ignomirello, Gary Bozigian, Matt Klein & Ryan Dayrit

He came in search of his first 2019 event victory and found it. Gary Bozigian, making only his fourth appearance on the 2019 Predator Pro Am Tour, went undefeated in the Amateur division of the Eastern States Championships over Labor Day weekend (August 31-Sept. 2). With limited points in the tour standings as a B player (#24 on the list), Bozigian defeated the tour’s top-ranked B+ player, Matt Klein, twice to claim the title. The $1,500-added Amateur event drew 83 entrants to Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY.
Bozigian and Klein clashed first in a winners’ side semifinal, as Tony Ignomirello, the tour’s top-ranked C+ player (11 appearances) and Ryan Dayrit, the tour’s 3rd-ranked C player (12 appearances), met in the other one. Bozigian and Klein locked up in a double fight that eventually sent Klein to the loss side. Tony “Iggy” sent Dayrit to the loss side 7-4 and joined Bozigian in the hot seat match. Bozigian claimed the hot seat 7-2 over Ignomirello and waited on the return of Klein.
On the loss side, Klein and Dayrit met up with the Estevez brothers. Klein drew Alberto Estevez, who’d defeated Yomaylin “Smiley” Feliz, double hill, and Max Watanabe 7-4 t reach him. Dayrit picked up Ambi Estevez, who’d recently eliminated Jonathan Martinez 7-2 and Amanda Andries 7-3.
The brothers Estevez went down to identical 7-4 defeats to Klein and Dayrit, who advanced to the quarterfinals. Klein then eliminated Dayrit 8-3 and got a second shot at Bozigian with a 7-4 victory over Ignomirello in the semifinals.
Klein may have had the momentum from loss-side action, but it didn’t improve his game play in the finals against Bozigian. Bozigian downed him a second time, this time 7-4 to claim the Amateur Eastern States Championship title.
Tony Robles thanked Manny Stamatakis and his Steinway Billiards staff for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Predator Cues, Ozone Billiards,, The DeVito Team,, Capelle (, AZBilliards, Pool & Billiard Magazine, Billiards Digest and his own Predator Pro Am team, to include his lovely wife, Gail. Robles also acknowledged the work of UpstateAl and his AZBTv crew for the streaming of selected matches throughout the event weekend. The next stop on the Predator Pro Am Tour, scheduled for the weekend of Sept. 14-15, will be a $1,000-added, double points event, hosted by Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY.

Watanabe, DaBreo come from the loss side to win Predator Pro Am Amateur, Pro events

(l to r): Raphael Dabreo & Joey Korsiak (Photo courtesy of Erwin Dionisio)

Three days after downing their share of Thanksgiving cheer in whatever form it took for them, Max Watanabe and Raphael Dabreo had cause to give further thanks for their respective victories on the Predator Pro Am Tour. During the tour’s annual Thanksgiving Day weekend get-together, Watanabe navigated his way through a 76-entrant field, in the $750-added Amateur event, winning five on the loss side to meet and defeat Jose Estevez in the finals. Raphael DaBreo in the 14-entrant, $250-added Open/Pro event, recovered from a double hill loss in the hot seat match and returned to defeat Joey Korsiak. Both events, as well as a Second and a Third Chance event were hosted, as they are every year, by Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY.
In the Amateur division, Watanabe, who pretty much evenly splits his time between the Predator and Tri-State Tours, was looking for his first victory in five attempts on the 2018 Predator Pro Am Tour. He’d been defeated in the finals of an Open/Pro event by Tour Director Tony Robles in September and had chalked up a win on the Tri-State Tour back in June. In this event, he worked his way through to a winners’ side quarterfinal before running into Eddie Kunz, who sent him to the loss side 7-5. Kunz advanced to a winners’ side semifinal against Estevez. Jonathan Martinez, in the meantime, squared off against Joe Morace. Estevez sent Kunz to an immediate re-match against Watanabe with a 7-4 win, as Martinez downed Morace 7-4. Estevez claimed the hot seat 8-5 and waited on Watanabe’s return.
On the loss side, Watanabe had survived a double hill match against Marco Dy and one game shy of double hill, defeated Jaydev Zaveri 7-5 to earn his re-match against Kunz. Morace picked up Erick Carrasco, who’d eliminated Nick Croce 7-5 and Debra Pritchett, double hill, to reach him.
Carrasco got through a second straight double hill match, downing Morace, and advanced to the quarterfinals. Watanabe joined him after giving up only a single rack to Kunz in their re-match. Watanabe then leap-frogged over the quarterfinals when work-related commitments forced Carrasco to forfeit.
Watanabe had his hands full in the semifinals, as Martinez put up a double hill fight for a second shot against Estevez. Watanabe prevailed, and then, in the finals, won the extended race to 9 to claim the event title.
DaBreo and Korsiak replay March matchup with the same result
Squaring off in the finals of the Open/Pro event, Raphael DaBreo and Joey Korsiak replayed a scene that had played out for the both of them in March. In that event, DaBreo had to win three on the loss side, two of which went double hill, to face Korsiak in the finals. He did so to chalk up his first Open/Pro victory on the tour. This time, they battled in the hot seat and finals.
Korsiak had downed Tony Robles 7-4 to get in to the hot seat match, while DaBreo had sent Alfredo Albay over 7-3. They battled to double hill in the hot seat match, until Korsiak prevailed.
On the loss side, Robles picked up Gary O’Callaghan, who’d defeated Jud Parker 7-2 and benefited from a double hill, deciding-game miss at the 10-ball by Joe Torres to advance. Albay drew Frankie Hernandez, who’d eliminated Zion Zvi 7-3 and Stephen Motilal 7-4.
Robles had sent O’Callaghan to the loss side in an earlier double hill match, but it was O’Callaghan who came out on top 7-4 in their re-match. Hernandez shut Albay out to advance to the quarterfinals against O’Callaghan. Hernandez then eliminated O’Callaghan 7-4.
In the semifinals, Hernandez and DaBreo battled to double hill before DaBreo three-fouled Hernandez to earn his second shot against Korsiak. In another modified race-to-9 final, DaBreo claimed the event title over Korsiak 9-3.
A 15-entrant Second Chance event was won Abel Rosario, with Jose Kuilan as runner-up. Duc Lam and Nick Croce finished in the tie for 3rd place. An 8-entrant Third Chance event, saw Miguel Laboy take home the top prize with Julia Ha in second place.
Tour director Tony Robles thanked Manny Stamatakis and his Steinway staff for their Thanksgiving Day weekend hospitality, as well as his own Predator Pro Am staff and sponsors Predator Cues, Ozone Billiards,, The DeVito Team,, Cappelle (Billiards Press), AZBilliards, Pool & Billiard Magazine and Billiards Digest. The final stop of the Predator Pro Am Tour’s 2018 season will be its annual Tour Championships. Open to players who’ve participated in a minimum of five events during the year, the potentially $11,000-added, 2018 Predator Tour Championships will be hosted by Raxx Sports Bar & Grille in West Hempstead, NY.