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Gilsinan and Burden come from deep on the loss side to win FL State Amateur 9-Ball events

Tony Crosby, Jerry Arvelaez, Michael Zingale, Justin Gilsinan and Mike Lear

Between the Main and Second Chance events on the Florida Pool Tour’s $5,000-added Florida State Amateur 9-Ball Championships this past weekend (Jan. 15-16), 183 players (with duplication) came to Zingale’s in Tallahassee to play some 9-ball. It had to be the most heavily-attended event in the state in the last two years. And both events featured winners who’d lost early matches and came back on the loss side to claim a title.

After being awarded an opening-round bye (along with 122 others in the 256-player bracket), Justin Gilsinan lost his third winners’ side match (double hill to Nick Applebee) and then won 10 in a row to claim the $4,000-added, 134-entrant Main Event. Jordan Burden lost his opening match (5-1 to Stacy Harrell) in the $1,000-added, 49-entrant Second Chance event and also won 10 straight to claim that title.

The events were designed to accommodate players at a certain handicap ranking and below. While Fargo Rate was employed to determine a lot of the handicaps (699 and under), co-tour directors Tony Crosby and Mike Lear used that and personal knowledge of players to determine eligibility.

With the eventual winner already at work on the loss side in the main event, it was Jerry Arvelaez and Trenton White who, in races to 7, advanced through the 9-ball field to reach the hot seat match. Arvelaez started his trip with a double hill win over Jason Richko and then advanced through Frankie Bourgeois (3), Josh Hillard (0), Desi Derado (5) and Ben Smith (4) to arrive at his winners’ side semifinal match against White. White had sent Billy Pelkey (5), Lincoln Seiffert (0), Bobby Moore (3), Aidan Rigsby (1) and Jesse Middlebrooks (5) to the loss side to arrive at his winners’ side semifinal against Kelvin Holliman.

Arvelaez and Applebee battled to double hill before Arvelaez prevailed, advancing to the hot seat match. White joined him after sending Holliman over 7-2. Arvelaez and White came within a game of double hill, before Arvelaez edged out in front to claim the hot seat 7-5.

On the loss side, Applebee picked up Roderick Rentz, who’d lost a winners’ side quarterfinal match, double hill, to Holliman and then, given up just a single rack to Joselito Martinez and none at all to Desi Derado to reach Rentz. Holliman had the misfortune of drawing Gilsinan, who was six matches into his loss-side trip, which had consisted of three matches that came within of game of double hill (5-3), two straight double hill wins and a shutout of Josh Hillard.

Rentz chalked up his second straight shutout, downing Applebee and advancing to the quarterfinals, with the possibility of a rematch against Holliman ahead of him. Gilsinan joined Rentz, spoiling the rematch, with a 5-3 win over Holliman. 

Gilsinan put an end to Rentz’ loss-side run 5-1 in the quarterfinals and chalked up loss-side win #9 in the semifinals, eliminating White 5-3. Gilsinan completed his improbable loss-side run in the finals. He downed Arvelaez 8-5 to claim the Florida State Amateur 9-Ball Championship.

Burden comes back from opening-round loss to win Second Chance tournament

The only thing missing from Jordan Burden’s equally improbable, 10-loss-side-win performance to claim the Second Chance victory was what would, no doubt, have been a satisfying ‘So there!’ rematch against Stacy Harrell. It didn’t happen.

It was Jason Jones and Chris Campos who worked their way through the 39-entrant, Second Chance field to square off in the hot seat match. Jones claimed the hot seat 5-2, unaware that his six-match run through the winners’ side was about to come to an end.

On the loss side, Burden’s sixth win came at the expense of Billy Burke, who’d lost his winners’ side semifinal match against Jason Jones. Burden defeated Burke 5-3, advancing to the quarterfinals, where he eventually shut out David Uwate. 

The last piece of Burden’s loss-side puzzle was Campos in the semifinals. A 3-1 victory over him put Burden into the finals, where he defeated Jason Jones 5-3 to claim the Second Chance title. 

Tour directors Tony Crosby and Mike Lear thanked the ownership and staff at Zingale’s, as well as sponsors Aramith Billiard Balls, Outsville, Simonis Cloth, Salotto Pro, Digital Pool, Fargo Rate, Crosby’s Billiards and Darts Supply, Straight Shooter Gear,, Sniper and XL Press Co. The Florida Pool Tour will return to Zingale’s next month for the $5,000-added Florida State Open 10-Ball Championships, scheduled for the weekend of Feb. 26-27.

In celebration of its 5th anniversary, Sunshine State Predator Pro Am Tour hosts double events

Randall McLuckie, Che Mvros and Kyle Bova

Bova goes undefeated in Amateur 9-Ball and is runner-up in Open 10-Ball, won by Meglino 

By any measure, the last five years have been tumultuous, no matter what your politics or job or your Fargo rate as a pool player. Five years ago, apparently not engaged enough with a full-time job as an office manager for a dentist and having run the USA Pool League franchise in Central Florida for about four years, Janene Phillips established the Sunshine State Pro/Am Pool Tour.

Initially designed for Amateur 8-Ball events and restricted to Central Florida, the tour organized six stops in its 2016 debut year. There were 10 stops in 2017 and they’d picked up some sponsors. There were 12 stops in 2018, by which time the tour was playing host to 300 different pro and amateur players. By 2019, they’d found themselves a title sponsor, became the Sunshine State Predator Pro Am Pool Tour and were able to offer incentives for Player, Junior and Lady of the Year awards.

And then . . . well, we all know how 2020 went, pretty much for everybody. . . the year that wasn’t, so to speak.

“We survived COVID,” wrote Phillips on the tour’s Web site, “and our tour managed to have seven stops, including a One Pocket event and a Ladies Only Open event.”

This year, its fifth, they’ve got 14 events scheduled, and along the way, have begun dual events in places that can accommodate them, as well as special, ‘no tour-point’ events like their “575 and under Fargo rate” events, which, according to Phillips, “sell out within 48 hours.”

So, overall, while it’s been as tumultuous for the Sunshine State Predator Pro Am Pool Tour as it has been for the general populace, Phillips and her tour partner, Bobby Garza are not complaining. Garza joined the tour in its first season, is responsible for providing the streaming services that the tour utilizes and was instrumental in attaining the title sponsorship of Predator Cues (and, one would be remiss in failing to add, is a good pool player, too).

“Honestly,” said Phillips, “I’m happy with the position we’re in.”

“We’ve had goals since the beginning,” she added, “and the only one we haven’t hit was to have a large, added-money Pro event. I still have it on the list, though.”

This past weekend, at Brewlands Carrollwood in Tampa, FL, the tour celebrated its 5th anniversary by holding one of its ‘dual events.’ They held a $1,000-added ($500 from Brewlands and $500 from a Predator raffle) Amateur 9-Ball event that drew 64 entrants and an $800-added ($400 from Brewlands and $400 from the Central Florida USA Pool League) Open 10-Ball event that drew 32 entrants. The two winners – Kyle Bova in the 9-Ball event and Anthony Meglino in the 10-Ball event – went undefeated to claim the tour’s 5th anniversary title.

Kyle Bova, who came into the Amateur 9-Ball event, having already finished as the runner-up in the concurrently-run 10-Ball Open event, went undefeated through the 64-entrant field. His opponents chalked up an average, few-percentage-points-above three racks against him throughout the tournament. With four notches on his match-belt, of the six he needed to win, he faced Joselito Martinez in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Randall McLuckie and Che Mvros, who’d end up being Bova’s last two opponents, squared off in the other one.

Bova downed Martinez 7-4, as McLuckie was busy surviving a double fight against Mvros. Bova claimed the hot seat 7-2 over McLuckie and awaited the return of McLuckie.

On the loss side, Mvros picked up Jomax Garcia, who eliminated Dale Stanley and Jerry Arvelaez to reach him. Martinez drew Desi Derado, who was in the midst of a four-match, loss-side streak which had recently knocked out Edward Porter and Serafin Serrano. By the same 7-3 score, Mvros defeated Garcia and Martinez downed Derado.

Mvros took the quarterfinal over Martinez 6-3 and, in his rematch versus McLuckie in the semifinals, wreaked his vengeance 7-4 for a place in the finals. Bova, though, completed his undefeated run with a 9-4 victory over Mvros. 

Donny Mills, Anthony Meglino and Kyle Bova

Meglino chalks up second Open win on the tour, Bova is runner-up

Back in April, Anthony Meglino came from winning a single, semifinal match on the loss side to defeat Bobby Emmons in the final of one of the tour’s Open event, held in conjunction with one of its “Fargo-rate-defined” events; in that case, it was 600 and under. This time, the Open 10-Ball event which drew Meglino was in conjunction with the Amateur event detailed above and this time, Meglino went undefeated to claim the title. Kyle Bova, finished as runner-up, and went on to win the 9-ball event. 

Meglino faced separate opponents in the hot seat and finals of this one; Donny Mills in the hot seat match and in their second match, Bova in the finals. Meglino, whose opponents averaged between two and three racks against him throughout the tournament, advanced to a winners’ side semifinal versus Bova, as Mills was battling Tommy Kennedy.

Mills downed Kennedy 7-4. Meglino sent Bova to the loss side 7-2. Meglino gave up only a single rack to claim the hot seat and wait in it for Bova’s return.

On the loss side, Bova picked up Mike Delawder, who’d been defeated in a winners’ side quarterfinal by Tommy Kennedy and subsequently defeated Carlos Gomez 5-2 and Alec Saputo 7-2. Kennedy drew Joselito Martinez, who was working on a four-match, loss-side winning streak that had recently eliminated Derrick Santos, double hill, and Anthony Fisher 7-2. 

Bova downed Delawder 7-5, as Martinez dropped Kennedy 7-3. Bova ended Martinez’ streak in the subsequent quarterfinals 7-4. Bova defeated Mills in the semifinals 7-4 for a shot at Meglino, waiting for him in the hot seat. Meglino completed his undefeated run with a 9-5 victory over Bova in the 10-Ball Open finals.

The thanks of Janene Phillips and Bobby Garza extended this past weekend to include all who had come within their sphere of influence over the past five years. As usual, they thanked the ownership (Larry Wathal) and staff at this weekend’s venue, Brewlands Carrollwood, for their hospitality and noted the title sponsorship of Predator Cues. They also thanked sponsors Kamui, AZBilliards, Diamond Products, Stitch It To Me Embroidery, and the Central Florida USA Pool League. Phillips thanked Bobby Garza for his since-the-beginning support and for this past weekend’s stream with fellow commentator Jimmy Antonietta. They gave further thanks to Nicolle Cuellar for her assistance and to Dain Cirilo, and Nick and Gia Fiore for their assistance with the raffles.

“Most of all,” they said (together, in two-part harmony, with feeling), “we want to send our love and appreciation out to all of the players and spectators for coming out and supporting our tour and celebrating 5 years with us!!”

The next stop on the Sunshine State Predator Pro Am Pool Tour, scheduled for the weekend of July 31-August 1, will be hosted by Stroker’s in Palm Harbor, FL.

Richko goes undefeated in Predator Sunshine State Pro Am Tour season opener

Jose Del Rio, Kyle Bova, Jason Richko and Joselito Martinez

Cirilo, Cuellar and White awarded Player of the Year honors and prizes

Before this past weekend, the last (reported) time that Jason Richko cashed in a pool tournament was almost exactly one year ago. It was the 2020 season opener for the Predator Sunshine State Pro Am Tour on the weekend of February 1-2 and though he would go undefeated to the hot seat, he was defeated in the finals by the competitor who would go on to become the tour’s 2020 Player of the Year, Obbie Cirilo. On Super Bowl weekend (Feb. 6-7), Richko joined 59 competitors for the tour’s 2021 season opener and once again, he made it to the hot seat. This time, though, he did not get to compete against Cirilo, who lost his second round match and chalked up two on the loss side before being eliminated. Instead, Richko squared off against separate opponents in the hot seat (Kyle Bova) and finals (Joselito Martinez) and finished undefeated. The $1,500-added event drew its 60 entrants to Stroker’s in Palm Harbor, FL.

In addition to the scheduled tournament, the Predator Sunshine State Pro Am Tour took time out to celebrate its annual Players of the Year. As noted above, Cirilo took home the Player of the Year honor, which earned him $300, a plaque, Predator jacket and a variety of Kamui products (bridge, chalk, etc.). As the tour’s top Lady of the Year, Nicolle Cuellar got the same package, except for her cash prize of $75. For the second year in a row, Trenton White picked up cash as the tour’s top Junior Player.

“We want to thank Predator and Kamui for their product donations to our players of the year,” said tour directors Janene Phillips and Bobby Garza.

Jason Richko’s path to the title had its share of ups and downs, but among the ‘ups’ were three shutouts out of seven total matches; his opener versus Nick Lewis, and two in a row that put him in the hot seat. After Lewis, he gave up one rack to Derrick Santos and three to Anthony Rotenberry before facing what proved to be his toughest opponent all weekend, Majkell Pacuka, who chalked up more racks against him than all three of his previous opponents combined (5). The victory put Richko into a winners’ side semifinal match against Derrek Laprarie. Kyle Bova, in the meantime, arrived at his winners’ side semifinal match against Alec Saputo, having recorded an equally impressive set of four matches. He had an aggregate score over those four matches of 28-6, including a shutout over Randall McLuckie. 

Bova sent Saputo to the loss side 7-4, as Richko was busy recording his second shutout, over Laprarie. Richko then added a third shutout, over Bova, and claimed the hot seat.

On the loss side, Laprarie picked up Monthep Hongsyok, who’d been responsible, earlier, for knocking out the tour’s Player of the Year (Obbie Cirilo) and had most recently eliminated Michael Xiarhos 7-2 and survived a double hill battle versus the 2020/2021 Junior of the Year, Trenton White. Saputo had the misfortune of drawing the event’s eventual runner up, Joselito Martinez, who’d been sent over by Xiarhos and was in the midst of a seven-match, loss-side winning streak that would take him all the way to the finals. He’d most recently defeated Majkell Pacuka and co-tour director Bobby Garza, both 7-4.

Laprarie and Hongsyok locked up in a double hill fight that did, eventually, send Laprarie to the quarterfinals. He was joined by Martinez, who gave up only a single rack in sending Saputo to the figurative ‘showers.’ 

Both of his next two opponents put up double hill fights against him – first, Laprarie in the quarterfinals and then, Bova in the semifinals – but Martinez proved equal to the task and got by them both for a shot at Richko in the hot seat.

Richko, though, proved equal to the undefeated task he needed to complete. He took the final 9-3 over Martinez to claim the season opening title.

Tour directors Janene Phillips and Bobby Garza thanked Jose and Lyshia Del Rio and their Strokers’ staff for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor Predator Group, Kamui, Diamond Products, USA Pool League, Stitch it to me Embroidery and AZ Billiards. They also added a shout out to Jimmy Antonietta and Rob McLaren for their help on Saturday. The next stop on the Predator Sunshine State Pro Am Tour, scheduled for the weekend of Feb. 27-28, will feature a 9-Ball Open event and Ladies Open 9-Ball event. Both will be hosted by Brewlands in North Lakeland, FL.

Martinez wins seven on the loss side to win Invitational 10-Ball tourney in FL

Joselito Martinez, Tommy Kennedy and David Grossman

Seven of Joselito Martinez’ nine recorded cash payouts have come on the Predator Sunshine State Pro Am Tour, dating back to 2018, including what was previously his only win; a Scotch Doubles title he shared with Marcos Burgos in what was an inaugural Scotch Doubles event on the tour in October, 2018. The two that came outside the realm of the Sunshine State tour were a stop on Tommy Kennedy’s SE Open 9-Ball Tour and a Predator Tour 10-Ball Open, held in Martinez’ home territory of Puerto Rico, both in 2019. On Saturday, January 2, at Park Avenue Billiards in Orange Park, FL, Martinez won his first official ‘single’ win, competing in a non-points, special event on the Predator Sunshine State Pro Am Tour. He earned the event title by winning seven on the loss side to meet and defeat hot seat occupant, David Grossman in the finals. The $750-added, 10-Ball event drew 25 invited entrants to Park Avenue Billiards. 

The weekend also featured an Amateur 9-Ball event on Sunday, Jan. 3, which drew 32 players, Fargo-rated at 575 or below. Won by local cue maker, Nick Osborne, that event is detailed in a separate report in our News section.

Martinez won a single match on the loss side, downing Michael Kayrouz 9-3, before being defeated by Ray Linares in the second round 9-6. Linares joined him on the loss side, one match later, when David Grossman sent him over in a winners’ side quarterfinal 9-3. This sent Grossman to a winners’ side semifinal against Donny Mills. Tommy Kennedy, in the meantime, back into the swing of things after a prolonged illness, followed an opening round bye with victories over Mike Moxley 9-3 and Derek Laprairie 9-6 to draw Mike Delawder in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Grossman advanced to the hot seat match 9-7 over Mills, as Kennedy got by Delawder 9-6. Grossman grabbed the hot seat 9-4 over Kennedy.

On the loss side, Martinez, headed back to the finals, defeated John Sounders 7-4, Benjie Estor 7-1 and both Laprairie and Jordan Burden 7-3 to draw Mills. Delawder drew Anthony Meglino, who, like Martinez, had won a single match on the winners’ side of the bracket before Mills defeated him in a winners’ side quarterfinal. Meglino downed Jimmy Garza and Ray Linares, both 7-5, to reach Delawder.

Martinez chalked up loss-side win #5, eliminating Mills 7-5 and advancing to the quarterfinals. Meglino joined him by extending his loss-side streak to a third match; 7-1 over Delawder.

Martinez put a stop to Meglino’s bid 7-2 in those quarterfinals, before meeting up with Kennedy in the semifinals. A fierce, double hill fight ensued, won eventually by Martinez, who turned to face Grossman in the hot seat.

In the single, extended-to-11 race in the finals, Martinez and Grossman stayed close for a while. Martinez pulled out in front and claimed the title 11-7.

Tour directors Janene Phillips and Bobby Garza thanked the ownership and staff at Park Ave. Billiards, as well as title sponsor Predator Group, Kamui, Central Florida USA Pool League, Stitch It To Me Embroidery, Diamond Products, AZBilliards, and all of the players who compete in their events. The season-opening, points-earning stop on the 2021 Predator Sunshine State Pro Am Tour, scheduled for the weekend of Feb. 6-7, will be hosted by Stroker’s Billiards in Palm Harbor, 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.

Cirilo downs veteran Richko in finals to win Sunshine State Pro Am Tour’s season opener

(l to r): Jason Richko, Nick Applebee & Obbie Cirilo

Rose, White and Mitchell announced as 2019 Player of the Year, Top Junior and Top Female
By all accounts, Obbie Cirilo doesn’t get out on the tables much. As of this past weekend, February 1-2, he’s chalked up exactly two cash finishes in his (recorded) pool career, which began, as far as we know in January, 2018. Both cash finishes were event victories and both, including this past weekend, were on the Sunshine State Pro Am Tour. His opponent in the hot seat and finals of this Sunshine State Pro Am season opener, Jason Richko, hasn’t been at the tables much recently either. He entered the tournament with only five cash finishes in the same amount of time; no event wins, but all on the Sunshine State Pro Am Tour. Richko, however, has a history that dates back 20 years to what’s been recorded in our database as his first cash finish anywhere; 13th at the Planet 9-Ball Intergalactic Open in Tampa that year (2000).
So. .  the newcomer and seasoned veteran battled twice in the $1,450-added event which drew 64 entrants to Stroker’s Billiards in Palm Harbor, FL. Richko won the first of the two, but Cirilo came back from a semifinal win to defeat him in the finals and claim the title.
Victories over Hayleigh Scarberry, Mark Nowicki, Joe Scarborough and Mitch Keiser brought Cirilo up to a winners’ side semifinal match against Nick Applebee. Richko, in the meantime, got by Gregory English, Marvin Llamas, Joselito Martinez and Raymond Linares to arrive at his winners’ side semifinal match versus Justin McNulty.
Cirilo downed Applebee 7-2 to earn his spot in the hot seat match. Richko earned his with a 7-1 victory over McNulty. In their first of two, Cirilo and Richko battled to double hill before Richko prevailed to claim the hot seat.
Applebee moved to the loss side and picked up Bobby Garza, who’d been sent over in the event’s second round and was in the midst of a six-match, loss-side winning streak that was about to end and had most recently included back-to-back, double hill victories over Linares and Llamas. McNulty drew Nicholle Cuellar, who’d been defeated in a winners’ side quarterfinal by Applebee and gone on to defeat Dave Stern 5-2 and Trenton White, double hill, in a match that featured the event’s top female finisher (Cuellar) and top junior (White).
McNulty downed Cuellar 6-3, and was joined in the quarterfinals by Applebee, who’d ended Garza’s streak 5-2. Applebee and McNulty locked up in a double hill fight that eventually did send Applebee to a semifinal matchup against Cirilo. Cirilo put a stop to Applebee’s short, loss-side run 5-3 and turned his attention to a rematch against Richko in the hot seat.
Cirilo was battling for his second victory on the Sunshine State Pro Am Tour, and only his second cash finish in two years. He completed the task, downing Richko 9-6 in the finals to claim the season opening title.
Tour awards 2019 Player of the Year, Top Junior and Top Female Player
[photo id=51590|align=right]The event also featured awards for the tour’s 2019 best players. Nathan Rose, who finished at the top of the 2019 tour standings was named Player of the Year. Trenton White, who finished second in the standings was the tour’s Top Junior player, while Stephanie Mitchell finished as the tour’s top female, 6th in the overall standings.
Tour directors Janene Phillips and Bobby Garza thanked Jose and Lyshia Del Rio and their Stroker’s Billiards staff for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor Predator Cues, who donated the cue, the raffle of which – won by Ethan Tinsley – added $450 to the prize fund, and $300 worth of gloves. They also thanked sponsors Stitch It To Me Embroidery, Central Florida USA Pool League, Diamond Products, Kamui, AZBilliards and Kodi Allen “for always helping to sell the tickets.”
The next stop on the Sunshine State Pro Am Tour, scheduled for the weekend of March 7-8 at Rack’s Billiards in Sanford, FL, will feature two non-point events. There will be an Open One Pocket event and a 9-Ball Amateur event for competitors with Fargo Rates of 600 or under.  

Edwin Garcia wins 1st Predator Caribbean 10 Ball Open with undefeated run

This past weekend (Jan 26-27, 2019) Pool Players Factory in Puerto Rico hosted their first major event of the year with 5k added money thanks to the sponsorship of Predator Cues.  The event was open to all Puerto Rican, Caribbean and Latin American Players. 
Among those in attendance were Ruben Bautista (Mexico), Julio Burgos, Joselito Martinez, and Ricardo Joel Rodriguez, all Puerto Rican players currently living in the USA.  Other tournament notables were Alan Rolon, Efrain Morales, Edwin Toro, Anthony Perez, Jomax Garcia, Geovanni Serrano, Wilbert Ortiz, Wilfredo Camacho, Juan Poventud, Nelson Hernandez, Shooter Pagan, Miguel “Pito” Batista, among many others.
Sixty-four (64) players showed up for the two-day tournament with many of the top Islanders not disappointing their fans with brilliant plays throughout the event.  Format was two races to five with a sudden death match if necessary.  Much to the surprise of the tournament directors was the fact that 42 of the 126 matches (33%) went to a sudden-death game.  Obviously endurance and/or fatigue was a factor within the tournament.  Nonetheless by the end of the first day we had 16 of the best tournament players ready to chalk-up for the first-place prize of $ 4,000.
The last four players in the event were Edwin Garcia and Julio Burgos in the winner’s side and Reinaldo Dendariarena and Ruben Bautista in the one-loss side.  Reinaldo was sent to the one-loss side by Edwin Garcia, and Ruben Bautista was sent by Julio Burgos.  Both matches were decided by sudden death wins. 
Reinaldo and Ruben Bautista then met for the 4th place prize with a fairly easy win for Bautista.  Edwin Garcia and Julio Burgos were now setup to meet each other to see whom was to claim the hot seat of the tournament.  Edwin Garcia won the first set 5 to 3.  Julio Burgos won the second set 5-2.  Sudden death went to Edwin Garcia with a break and run.
A rematch between Julio Burgos and Ruben Bautista was now in play.  Everyone was excited since Julio (Puerto Rico) had won against Ruben (Mexico) in their previous match.   After the dust was cleared, Ruben had ousted Julio with two wins by score of 5-1 and 5-1 with Julio Burgos obtaining third place in the event.
For the Championship Match between Edwin Garcia and Ruben Bautista, more excitement was built-up.  Ruben Bautista had been determined to be the tournament favorite at the get-go, and obviously there was a sense by some people that Bautista could snatch the event.  Edwin Garcia is one of the best top 2 players in Puerto Rico and everyone was certain that Edwin would not go down easily; and that he too had a great chance of success.
On the last match of the night, Ruben took the first set 5-2.  Edwin came back with a 5-3 win, and now the outcome of the event relied on the 42nd sudden-death match of the tournament.  Edwin won the lag but came up with a dry break, Ruben played a safety on the one, Edwin returned the safety. Ruben had to jump the cue-ball leaving the one open.  Edwin pocketed the one but tried to leave a safe on the two returning the table to Ruben.  Ruben proceeded to pocket the two, three, and four ball.  The five was straight-in to the upper right corner, a makeable ball but somehow Ruben rattled the 5 and that was it for Ruben’s performance.  Edwin cleared the table and claimed the tournament Championship.
Jose Garcia and Alejandro Rodriguez, proud owners of Pool Players Factory, the largest pool hall in the Caribbean with (14) Diamond Pro Tables and six (6) 7ft Smart Tables greeted players and fans alike.  Also on a very special and surprise appearance, Mr. Karim Belhaj, CEO of Predator Cues addressed the crowd on day two with encouraging words as to a sponsored tour for the Island, with future Predator sponsored events like this one.  Needless to say, Mr. Belhaj made the day for all of us whom have been dreaming of something like this to happen.  We thank Jose Garcia, Alejandro Rodriguez and Karim Belhaj for the great news and their combined willingness to help establish a Puerto Rican Tour.

Burgos goes undefeated to take J. Pechauer Southeast Open 9-Ball Tour stop

(l to r): Julio Burgos, Tommy Kennedy, Steve Voucher & Raymond Linares

According to our records, Julio Burgos hasn’t been around for long, but he’s certainly been around a lot. In his first and only year (2018) in our database of active and cash-earning competitors, he won a stop on Florida’s AllOutPool Tour, and cashed in events in California (the 6th Annual Cole Dickson Memorial), Texas (Texas 10-Ball Championship) and Indiana (Derby City Classic’s One Pocket Division). He opened his 2019 efforts on the weekend of January 19-20, when he added a victory on the J. Pechauer Southeast Open 9-Ball Tour, going undefeated, and downing Florida and Seminole Tour veteran, Raymond Linares, twice. The $1,000-added event drew 62 entrants to Rack’s Billiards in Sanford, FL.
Burgos and Linares advanced to the final four on the winners’ side of the bracket and faced Steve Voucher (for Burgos) and Bobby Garza, co-tour director of the Sunshine State Pro Am Tour (for Linares). On Sunday, Burgos downed Voucher 9-6, as Linares was busy sending Garza over 9-7. Burgos claimed the hot seat 9-7 over Linares and waited on his return.
On the loss side, Voucher picked up the tour’s director, Tommy Kennedy, who’d defeated Bee Hyzinga 7-4 (on Saturday) and Joselito Martinez 9-6 (on Sunday). Garza drew Cristobal D. Barrows, who’d eliminated Dennis Brown, double hill, and Rhyan Hunter 9-5.
Voucher and Garza got right back to work, handing Kennedy and Barrows their second loss; Voucher over Kennedy 9-2 and Garza over Barrows 9-6. Voucher took the quarterfinal match over Garza 9-4, and put up a double hill fight against Linares in the semifinals. Linares dropped the last 9-ball, though, and advanced to a rematch against Burgos in the finals.
Burgos and Linares played the same number of games in the race-to-11 final that they’d played in the hot seat match. Burgos won 56% of the games he won in that hot seat match (9-7), but 69% of the games he won in the final (11-5), completing his undefeated run to claim his first 2019 event title.
Tour director Tommy Kennedy thanked the ownership and staff at Rack’s Billiards, as well as title sponsor J. Pechauer Custom Cues, Simonis Cloth and Mueller Recreational Products. He also extended a thanks to Janene Phillips, co-tour director with Bobby Garza of the Sunshine State Pro Am Tour, who ably assisted him with the event. The next stop on the J. Pechauer Southeast Open 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for March 2, will be hosted by Doodles Billiards in Hinesville, GA. 

Rodriguez comes back to down Langford in finals of Sunshine State Pro Am

(l to r): Robbie Langford, Ricardo Rodriguez & Joselito Martinez

Ricardo Joel Rodriguez came back from a hot seat loss against Robbie Langford and downed him in the finals of the next-to-last stop on the Sunshine State Pro Am Tour, the 10-Ball Bar Box Amateur Championships, held on the weekend of November 17-18. It was Rodriguez’ second win of the season, having defeated top-rated Sunshine State Pro Am veteran Dale Stanley in the finals of an event back in March. This most recent, $2,000-added event drew 84 entrants – 67 men and 17 women & juniors –  to Rack’s Sports Bar & Billiards in Sanford, FL.
Rodriguez and Langford trod similar, though not identical paths to the winners’ side semifinals, facing challengers who chalked up about five racks against them, on average. Rodriguez drew Moe Fattah in his winners’ side semifinal match. Langford faced Chris Gentile.
Rodriguez improved his game winning average by shutting Fattah out, as Langford advanced to face him in the hot seat match with a 9-6 win over Gentile. Langford claimed the hot seat 9-5 and waited for Langford to get back from the semifinals.
Gentile ran into Joselito Martinez on the loss side, who’d been sent over by Langford in the fourth round and was in the midst of a six-match, loss-side winning streak that would take him as far as the semifinals. He’d most recently defeated Jason Sheerman 7-2 and Bobby Conner, Jr. 7-1. Fattah picked up Donny Branson, making his own five-match, loss-side mark that included recent wins over Eric Roberts 7-1 and Mike Griffin 7-4.
Fattah downed Branson, double hill, and in the quarterfinals, facEd Martinez, who’d eliminated Gentile 7-4. Martinez then defeated Fattah 7-4 and was a single match away from a re-match against Langford. Rodriguez spoiled his bid for that re-match, defeating him 10-6 in the semifinals to earn his own re-match.
Happy with his score in the semifinals, Rodriguez opted to repeat it in the finals. He defeated Langford 10-6 to earn his second 2018 Sunshine State Pro Am title and become the 2018 10-Ball Bar Box champion.
Eric Roberts took home some cash as the event’s top finishing junior. Nikki Cuellar and Jessica Barnes did, as well, as they shared rewards in a tie for top finishing female.
Tour directors Janene Phillips and Bobby Garza thanked Rack’s owners Pedro Botta and Anthony Digiacomo and their staff, as well as Seminole Harley Davidson, Cyclop Balls, Diamond, Kamui, Jacksonville Roofing, Inc., Play the Game Clothing Co., Bill Katchusky Photography, Alvin Nelson and Inside Pool. The next stop on the Sunshine State Pro Am Tour, scheduled for December 1-2, will be the tour’s season finale, hosted by Park Ave. Billiards in Orange Park, FL.

Sunshine State Pro Am holds inaugural Scotch Doubles event – Battle of the Billiards

(l to r): Joe Zinkhan, Tim Baron, Joselito Martinez & Marcos Burgos

Martinez and Burgos down Baron and Zinkhan to claim inaugural title
Looking to create a little friendly competition among the multiplicity of pool rooms in Florida, Sunshine State Pro Am Tour directors Janene Phillips and Bobby Garza launched an inaugural event called Battle of the Billiards Big Dawg Scotch Doubles on the weekend of Oct. 27-28 at Stroker’s Billiards in Palm Harbor, FL. While 19 two-player teams participated in the $500-added, Scotch Doubles event, not all were sponsored by pool rooms. It is Phillips’ and Garza’s hope that as the event progresses in its annual schedule, more and more rooms will opt to send players to compete.
This first year’s winners (Joselito Martinez and Marcos Burgos) and runner-ups (Tim Baron and Joe Zinkhan) were independent teams. The two teams played three times, vying for the title. Baron and Zinkhan got into the hot seat, but Martinez and Burgos came back from the semifinals to defeat them in a true double elimination final.
Their first match, battling for the hot seat, followEd Martinez and Burgos’ 7-4 victory over the team of Les Duffy and Anthony Fisher, sponsored by Don Kreischer’s Boulevard Billiards. Baron and Zinkhan, meanwhile, faced off against Larry Wathal’s team from Brewlands (Dale Stanley and Mubarak Suleiman) and defeated them 7-5. Baron and Zinkhan claimed the hot seat 7-5 over Martinez and Burgos and waited on their return from the semifinals.
On the loss side, Duffy and Fisher picked up Sam Kantar and David Jacobs from Boynton Billiards, as Stanley and Mubarak drew the team of Trey Jankowski and Mitch Nelson. Both matches finished at 5-3, advancing Kantar/Jacobs and Jankowski/Nelson to the quarterfinals.
Kantar and Jacobs won the quarterfinal match by the same 5-3 score and then, in the semifinals, were defeated by that same score by Martinez and Burgos, who earned themselves a second, and as it turned out, third shot at Baron and Zinkhan in the hot seat.
Martinez and Burgos took the opening set of the true double elimination final 7-4. In a shortened race to 5 in the second set, Martinez and Burgos won again 5-3 to claim the inaugural Battle of the Billiards Big Dawg Scotch Doubles title.
Tour directors Phillips and Garza thanked Jose Del Rio and his staff at Stroker’s Billiards for hosting the event, as well as the owners of all of the venues who sponsored teams, including Stroker’s (which sponsored two teams), Capone’s, Trick Shots (Orlando, FL), Park Avenue Billiards, and the rest of the teams mentioned in the narrative above. They also thanked sponsors Cyclops Balls, Diamond, and AZBilliards.
The next regular stop on the Sunshine State Pro Am Tour, scheduled for the weekend of Nov. 17-18, will be the amateur-only, $1,000-added Sunshine State Pro Am 10-Ball Bar Box Championships, to be hosted by Rack’s Billiards in Sanford, FL.