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Watanabe goes undefeated, downs Martinez twice to claim Tri-State Tour title

Max Watanabe & Bianca Martinez

The headline story is about the Tri-State’s top-rated, #1 A player, Max Watanabe, doing battle twice with one of the tour’s top-rated females, Bianca Martinez, who’s currently at #3 in the women’s point standings and #4 in the tour’s overall C standings. The top three in both cases (women and C players) would have been the same (Allison LaFleur, Michelle Brotons and Martinez), had Juan Melendez not slipped into second place among the C players. Watanabe and Martinez battled twice during the $1,000-added, 10-ball event that drew 38 entrants to Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY on Sunday, Feb. 16. Watanabe won both encounters to claim the event title, but not before Martinez battled him twice to the necessity of a single, deciding game.

Watanabe’s trip to the winners’ circle went through Pascal Dufresne, Russell Masciotti and Steve Kalloo to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal against Julian Tierney. Martinez, in the meantime, sent Andre Holder, Naoko Saiki, and Juan Melendez to the loss side before coming up against Jason Goberdhan in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Watanabe downed Tierney 6-4. Martinez joined him in the hot seat match after surviving a double hill fight versus Goberdhan. In their first of two, they fought to double hill before Watanabe prevailed to claim the hot seat.

On the loss side, Tierney picked up Kevin Shin, who’d recently defeated Steve Kalloo, double hill and Sherwin Robinson 6-2. Goberdhan drew Qian Chen, who’d eliminated the aforementioned C player, Juan Melendez 5-1 and survived a double hill fight against Shweta Zaveri (#4 among the tour’s ladies) to reach him.

Tierney shut Kevin Shin out and was met in the quarterfinals by Chen, who’d survived Shweta Zaveri’s second straight double hill match. Tierney won the quarterfinal match 6-4 before having his short loss-side trip ended by Martinez 7-4 in the semifinals.

Second verse, same as the first, as they say. Watanabe and Martinez fought to a second, double hill deciding game. Watanabe prevailed a second time to claim the event title.

Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Cue Bar for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui Tips, Phil Capelle, Pool & Billiards, Professor Q Ball, Bender Cues, Paul Dayton Cues, Bludworth Ball Cleaner, Joe Romer Trophies and Quick Slick. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 23, will be hosted by Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY.

Klein wins 10 on the loss side to meet and spoil Dayrit bid for two in a row on Tri-State Tour

(l to r): Matt Klein & Ryan Dayrit

In looking to win two Tri-State Tour stops in a row in as many weeks, C+ competitor Ryan Dayrit (#4 on the C+ list) did pretty much everything right. Except win the second event. He came within a single match of pulling it off, making it all the way to the hot seat before being challenged in the finals by the tour’s second-highest rated A/A+ competitor, Matt Klein, who lost his opening match, won 10 on the loss side and defeated Dayrit in the finals of the Saturday, Feb. 1 tour stop. The $1,000-added event drew 55 entrants to Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY.
After defeating Klein 7-4 in the opening round of play, Shivam Gupta (#3 on that A+/A list) advanced through the field to eventually shut out Max Watanabe (the tour’s #1-rated A+/A competitor) in a winners’ side quarterfinal and face Emit Yolcu (B) in a winners’ side semifinal. Dayrit, in the meantime, advanced through the field to down Debra Pritchett 7-3 in another of the winners’ side quarterfinals and face Dementhris Hudson in the other winners’ side semifinal.
Dayrit got into the hot seat match with a 6-2 victory over Hudson. He was joined by Gupta, who’d defeated Yolcu 7-3. Dayrit claimed the hot seat with an 8-2 win over Gupta, more than likely feeling pretty good about his chances of chalking up that second straight win.
Meantime, on the loss side, Klein was at work. Half of his 10 loss-side matches went double hill, including the last three he played before his rematch against Gupta in the semifinals. By the time he got into the money rounds (9th-12th) to create the battle between the tour’s top two A+/A players (Klein and Watanabe), he’d already won two double hill matches, against Lidio Ramirez and Arturo Reyes. He eliminated Watanabe 7-5 and chalked up his third double hill win against Joe Mazzeo to draw Yolcu, coming over from the winners’ side semifinals. Hudson picked up Russell Masciotti, who’d eliminated Kevin Shin 7-5 and Debra Pritchett 8-5 to reach him.
Klein chalked up his fourth double hill, loss-side win against Yolcu and was joined in the subsequent quarterfinals by Masciotti, who’d sent Hudson home 7-3. Klein then recorded his fifth loss-side double hill win, eliminating Masciotti and earning an as-long-as-it-gets awaited rematch against Gupta in the semifinals.
Klein shut Gupta out in those semifinals, which likely gave Dayrit something to think about as the finals approached. In spite of the momentum on Klein’s side, Dayrit opened the finals with four straight racks. Klein had to reach 8 racks just to extend the match to 10, and he caught up to Dayrit in the 12th rack at the 6-6 tie. The 6th proved to be Dayrit’s last as Klein went on to win the next four and claim the event title.
Tour representatives thanked Manny Stamatakis and his Steinway Billiards staff for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui, Phil Capelle, Paul Dayton Cues, Pool & Billiards, Liquid Weighted Cues, JohnBender Cues, Billiards Engineering and Bloodworth Ball Cleaner. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 9, will be hosted by Shooter’s Family Billiards in Wayne, NJ.

Ramirez is undefeated on Tri-State stop

(l to r): Lidio Ramirez & Adrian Daniel

Coming off his best earnings year to date, Lidio Ramirez started the new year off right with an undefeated run through a field of 50 entrants to chalk up his first 2020 Tri-State Tour event title. Ramirez cashed in eight 2019 events; six on the Predator Pro Am Tour and two on the Tri-State Tour. He won a Predator stop and was runner-up twice, once on each tour. Runner-up Adrian Daniel was looking for his first win on the Tri-State Tour in three years, and his first cash finish anywhere since November 2018, when he finished 7th at the 2018 NJ State 8-Ball Championships. The $1,000-added event on Sunday, January 12 drew its 50 entrants to Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY.
Ramirez’ path went through Jose Mendez, Russell Masciotti and Kevin Shin to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal match versus Edwin Gutkin. Adrian Daniel, in the meantime, squared off against Qian Chen.
Ramirez sent Gutkin to the loss side 7-4 and in the hot seat match, faced Daniel, who’d defeated Chen 6-2. In his first Tri-State hot seat match in two years, Ramirez downed Daniel 9-6.
On the loss side, Gutkin picked up Shin, who, following his defeat at the hands of Ramirez in a winners’ side quarterfinal, had gone on to eliminate Ray Feliciano 7-5 and Eugene Ok 7-4. Chen drew a rematch versus Debra Pritchett, whom he’d sent to the loss side 7-5 in one of the other winners’ side quarterfinals.
Shin advanced to the quarterfinals with a 7-5 win over Gutkin. He was joined by Pritchett, who’d successfully wreaked her vengeance on Chen 7-4. Shin defeated Pritchett 9-7 in those quarterfinals and joined Daniel in a mutual semifinal quest for a second shot at Ramirez in the hot seat.
Daniel put an end to Shin’s four-match, loss-side streak 7-4 in those semifinals. With that intangible benefit of momentum, Daniel took what appeared to be a commanding lead in the finals that followed and was ahead by 4, when he reached the hill at 8. Ramirez, though, came back to win the four he needed to make it a double hill battle and sunk the final 9-ball to claim the event title.
Tour representatives thanked Manny Stamatakis and his staff at Steinway Billiards, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui Tips, Phil Capelle, Bloodworth Ball Cleaners, Paul Dayton Cues, Liquid Weighted Cues, Pool & Billiards, Bender Cues, Billiards Engineering, and Romer Trophies. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for Sunday, January 19, will be hosted by Shooters Family Billiards in Wayne, NJ.

Rosario comes from the loss side to win Tri-State stop at Steinway

(l to r): Abel Rosario & Pashk Gjini

On Saturday, March 31, for the second time in a little over a month, Abel Rosario advanced to a winners’ side quarterfinal before being sent to the loss side, and then, returned to challenge the hot seat occupant.  On February 3, he and Dimos Markopoulos opted out of a final match, and split the top two prizes, with Markopoulos, in the hot seat, going into the books as the official winner. This past weekend, Rosario was sent to the loss side by the eventual hot seat occupant and runner-up, Pashk Gjini. This time, though, Rosario came back from that initial loss to face Gjini in a re-match in the finals and was able to claim the event title. The $1,000-added event drew 50 entrants to Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY.
Rosario, who competes in both the Tri-State and Predator Pro Am Tours, had his best recorded earnings year to date last year. He cashed in eight stops on the Predator Tour and one on the Tri-State, and though he failed to chalk up a win on either tour, he did finish among the top 10 in eight of the nine events in which he cashed, including seven in which he finished among an event’s top five. A ‘B’ player on the Tri-State Tour, Rosario was under pressure a lot in this past weekend’s event. Six of his 10 total matches went double hill.
He opened the day’s proceedings with a double hill win over Ambi Estevez, downed Ada Lio 7-4, and then, in his second double hill battle, downed Amy Yu. It was at that point, in a winners’ side quarterfinal, that Rosario ran into Pashk Gjini, who sent him to the loss side 7-4. Gjini advanced to meet Lidio Ramirez in one of the winners’ side semifinals, as Suzzie Wong (currently third among the Tri-State’s best female players) faced Kevin Shin in the other one.
Gjini and Ramirez battled to double hill, before Gjini punched his ticket into the hot seat match. He was joined by Wong, who’d sent Shin to the loss side 8-4. Gjini claimed the hot seat 6-4 over Wong and waited on his re-match against Rosario.
Rosario, in the meantime, had added two double hill wins on the loss side to his credit (7-6 over Mac Jankov and Amir Rashad Uddin), to draw Ramirez. Shin picked up Allison LaFleur (currently the Tri-State’s best female player), who’d won two straight double hill matches over Bianca Martinez and Ray Feliciano to reach him.
The struggle for advancement to the quarterfinals entailed two matches that came within a game of going double hill. Rosario downed Ramirez 8-6, while Shin eliminated LaFleur 7-5.
In what surely must have seemed like a break for him, Rosario downed Shin 7-4 in those quarterfinals and then, got right back into tension territory with a double hill fight against Wong in the semifinals. Rosario won it to earn his re-match against Gjini. He took full advantage, winning the final match by the widest margin of his entire tournament run 9-4.
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, scheduled for Sunday, April 8, will be an 8-Ball event, hosted by Shooters Family Billiards in Wayne, NJ.

Osipov stops a bid by O’Callaghan and goes undefeated on the Predator Tour

Abel Rosario, Chickie Romero, Gary O’Callaghan, Not pictured – Alex Osipov

Alex Osipov has spent most of his pool career alternating between stops on the New York-based Predator and Tri-State Tours. According to our records, he’s chalked up two wins on the Predator Tour and cashed in 32 events on both tours over the past six years. His last win was recorded in January, last year. He added a third win on the Predator Tour on the weekend of September 16-17, navigating his way through a field of 73, stopping a loss-side bid by Gary O’Callaghan, and going undefeated to claim the event title. The $1,000-added event was hosted by Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY.
Advancing to a winners’ side semifinal, Osipov faced Brooke Meyer, who had just sent his eventual opponent in the finals, Callaghan, to the loss side. Chickie Romero, in the meantime, squared off against Kris Bisram. Osipov downed Meyer, double hill, and in the hot seat faced Romero, who’d sent Bisram west 7-3. Osipov sent Romero to a semifinal match against O’Callaghan 8-6, and waited in the hot seat for O’Callaghan to complete his loss-side run.
That five-match, loss-side run began with an 8-5 win over Omar Alli, and a double hill win over Mike Salerno, which set O’Callaghan up to face Meyer. Bisram drew Abel Rosario, who’d eliminated Xavier Romero 7-1 and Chris Kelly, double hill.
O’Callaghan and Rosario advanced to the quarterfinals; O’Callaghan, double hill over Meyer, and Rosario advancing by virtue of a forfeit by Bisram. O’Callaghan then downed Rosario 8-5 in those quarterfinals, before winning his third, loss-side, double hill fight, against Romero in the semifinals.
Osipov, though, stopped the run that would have given O’Callaghan his second September win on the Predator Tour (he won the September 2-3 stop at Steinway Billiards). Osipov claimed the event title with a 7-4 win in the finals.
The Predator Tour also hosted both a Second and Third Chance, single elimination tournament. The Second Chance drew 14 entrants and was won by Kevin Shin in a double hill final victory over Thomas Schreiber. Steven Molital and Eddie Kunz finished in the tie for third place. Mike Salerno picked up the win in the 12-entrant Third Chance tournament, downing Max Watanabe, double hill, in the finals. Erick Carrasco and Ambi Estevez finished in the tie for third place.  

Dany Recinos crowned the 2016-2017 Tri-State Tour Invitational Champion

Dany Recinos

The twentieth annual Tri-State Tour Invitational Tournament took place June 24 & 25, 2017, at Steinway Café and Billiards in Astoria, NY. The weekend was another huge success for the tour with 14 A & A+ Players, 30 B & B+ Players, 32 C & C+ Players and 16 D & D+ Players who earned their way in to compete in their respective classes and play for their chance to be named the Tri-State Tour Invitational Grand Champion. Steinway Café and Billiards hosted the event for the third year and once again provided a great atmosphere and playing environment for the players. Steinway Café and Billiards owner Manny Stamatakis and the staff including Anna and George were as always very professional, helpful and gracious. Manny donated the room and all the table time. Their generosity and support to the players and the event as always were exemplary. The staff and everyone at the room assured the events success. Steinway Café and Billiards, home of the World Pool Series, is an excellent venue for any event, it has professionally maintained tables, a clean fresh atmosphere and some of the most scrumptious food in NYC.  
As each day began, organizers John Leyman, Todd Fleitman, Rick Shellhouse & Daniel Cintron congratulated the players on reaching the top of their classes for the season and handed out awards to the top players of the year in each class. The Tri-State Tour added $4000 in cash prizes and the sponsors John Bender Custom Cues, Ozone Billiards, Kamui Tips, Sterling Gaming, Capelle’s Pool Books, OB Cues and the DIGICUE, Pool & Billiards, Professor-Q-Ball’s News, Blue Book Publications, Steinway Café and Billiards, Amsterdam Billiards, and Romer’s Trophies went out of their way to provide the event with excellent equipment and prizes. The sponsors as the Tri-State has always maintained are owed a debt a gratitude for their dedication to the game and the players, their efforts and generosity are what always make the event so special and such a great success and without their continued support of the sport and the players this event could not happen. 
Awards were presented to the top 3 players in each class, the Most Improved Player of the Year, and Sportsman of the Year. The most improved player went to Max Watanabe. Max has been a good B level player for years but his game leveled out and he appeared to have reached the top of his game but over the last year Max shattered the ceiling on his game making great strides in his consistency and abilities to become a very strong A class player. His game is still improving at an accelerated pace and it would not surprise the tour if he was back again next year as the most improved again.   Each year the tour awards one player the “Sportsperson of the Year” award. It is awarded to someone the tour believes exemplifies what a player should be and how they should act and this year’s award went to Mike Strassberg. This is Mikes second time winning the award which goes a long way in proving just how much of a true sportsman he is. His exemplary attitude at events no matter what is happening, from players with bad attitudes, to rooms with AC problems, to whatever comes up, proves time and time again what other players should strive to emulate. 
The top players of the year in their respective classes were Atif Khan in the A+/A class, Carl Yusuf Khan B+ player, last year’s Grand Champion Jaydev Zaveri winning the B class, the last 3 classes the C+, C and D+/D classes were all won by players who won for the second year in a row. Those players were Tony Ignomirello winning the  C+, Bob Toomey in the C player and Jim Gutierrez in the D+/D class. This year saw some new ladies rise to the top of the leader board with the Ladies Player of the Year being Allison LaFleur. For a full list of winners for all the classes and events, please see the web site
The action in the tournament got going around ten on Saturday morning, June 24 with the B+ and B class players along with the D+/D players kicking off the event.  The B+ class was won by some very strong play from Basdeo Sookhai, a former Grand Champion of the event. Basdeo got to the hot seat match against Kirill Safromov and lost to Kirill 7-2. On the one loss side, Basdeo played an exhausted Carl Yusuf Khan who had lost his first match of the day to Basdeo and then fought his way up the one loss side to once again challenge Basdeo. In the semi-final match Carl just could not keep up the pace and Basdeo beat him 7-4. This set up another rematch for Basdeo in the finals against Kirill where Basdeo played above his game and won the match 7-4. 
In the B-Class Kevin Scalzitti played extremely well all day and bested all comers to win the B-Class undefeated. In the hot seat match, Kevin Scalzitti beat Kevin Shin on the hill to send him to the one loss side where he met up with Thomas Schreiber, whom he had beaten in the first match of the day 7-5. Thomas played 5 matches on the one loss side to get back to the semi-finals and another shot at Kevin Shin. In the semi-finals Thomas won 7-5 and proceeded to the finals but Kevin Scalzitti was on a roll and beat Thomas 7-4 in the finals.
Kevin and Basdeo squared off in the B+ – B Class playoff and Basdeo continued to play well and sent Kevin home by beating him 7-5.
The D+/D class saw Carlos Serrano play well all day and he cruised to the finals. Carlos played Nancy Chung in the hot seat match and won impressively 6-2. Allison LaFleur, the Ladies player of the year, played her first two matches well but in the third match she came up against Carlos who got a good roll and won the set 5-4. Allison moved to the one loss side and won her next 3 matches to get to the finals and a rematch against Carlos. The rematch was a lot like the first match with each player trading games but ultimately Carlos came out on top for the win.
On Sunday, play resumed at 10 AM with the A+/A players and the C+ class and C class arriving to do battle. In the A+/A class, Jimmy Acosta dominated all day never letting his opponents get more than 3 wins against him and he arrived in the finals undefeated. In the hot seat match he crushed his opponent Elvis Rodriquez 7-1. Mike Panzarella who had lost his second match of the day to Atif Khan 7-3 fought his way up the one loss side getting stronger as the day went on. In the semi-final match he faced a tough opponent in Elvis and won a tight battle on the hill. Mike continued to get stronger and faced off against the dominating Jimmy and Mike fought hard and won the match 9-5.
In the C+ class Nathaniel Raimondo sent Dany Recinos to the one loss side in the hot seat match with a score of 6-1. Dany then battled back for a rematch with Nathaniel beating Kevin Chong on the hill. In the finals, Dany continued to play well and handed the undefeated Nathanial a loss and second place by beating him 8-6.
The C Class was taken over by Qian Chen who kept all opponents to 4 wins or less to win the division undefeated. In the how seat match Qian beat Pashk Gjini 6-3, Pashk went to the one loss side where he lost to David Grant 6-4. David arrived in the finals with his only loss of to the day to Qian 6-4 but Qian was just as good the second time and won 6-3
This left 2 winners from Saturday and 3 winners from Sunday to do battle for the Grand Champion title. The C+ versus C class final saw Dany Recinos continue to win as he bested Qian Chen 6-3. That set up the 2 overall semi-final matches. The first to be played was the A class versus the B class and both players played very well but Mike Panzarella was not going to be beaten no matter how well Basdeo Soohai was playing and Mike won the match 7-4. The C class versus the D class was almost a mirror image of the other semi-final match with the higher level player, Dany Recinos, playing stronger and the lower level player, Carlos Serrano just not able to keep up and he lost 7-5. This setup the finals of the event between A class Mike Panzarella and C+ Dany Recinos. Both players played well but the long day and tough matches obviously took its toll on both players as they traded games. As the set went on both players made some crucial mistakes by over rolling some positions and not making some game wining shots but then would come back and do exemplary runs to win games. In the end Dany Recinos would be the one to sink the final 9 and win the event to be crowned the 2016-2017 Tri-State Tour Invitational Grand Champion.

Bozigian dedicates undefeated win on the Predator Tour to his Dad

Matthew Harricharran, Gary Bozigian, Dan Faraguna and Troy Deocharran

It had been a month or so since Gary Bozigian's father passed away, when he signed on to the March 4-5 stop on the Predator Tour; a $1,000-added event that drew 51 entrants to Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY. He'd competed in events since his father had died, and before this particular stop on the tour, but it wasn't until he got into the hot seat of this one that the possibility of winning it led him to speak to Tour Director Tony Robles. Bozigian asked that in the event of his completing an undefeated run through the field of entrants, that his victory be dedicated to the memory of his father.
Bozigian chalked up two, back-to-back double hill victories (hot seat and finals) over Matthew Harricharan to claim the event title. The memory of his father will now live on in his memories of a first tour victory.
Bozigian got into the hot seat match, following a 7-2 victory over Troy Deocharran in a winners' side semifinal, as Harricharran was downing Dan Faraguna 7-3. Bozigian claimed the hot seat over Harricharan in their first of two straight double hill battles.
Deocharran moved over and picked up Kevin Shin on the loss side. Shin had defeated Irene Kim 8-6 and Carmine Andujar 8-3 to reach him. Faraguna drew Miguel Laboy, who'd eliminated Lidio Ramirez 7-3, and Max Watanabe 7-2. 
Two 7-4 wins sent Deocharran and Faraguna to the quarterfinals. Two 7-5 wins sent Faraguna (over Deocharran) to the semifinals, and Harricharan (over Faraguna) to a re-match against Bozigian in the hot seat. For the second time, Bozigian and Harricharran locked up in a double hill fight, with the same result. Bozigian won it to claim his first Predator title, and an ever-lasting tribute to his Dad.

Shlemperis chalks up his second straight, from-the-loss-side win, this time on Tri-State Tour

Dave Shlemperis and Lionel Oliver

Dave Shlemperis backed up a seven-on-the-loss-side win on the Predator Tour on the weekend of February 11-12, with another come-from-the-loss-side win on the Tri-State Tour, on Sunday, February 19. He spent a lot less time on the loss side of the Tri-State bracket, having been defeated by Lionel Oliver in the battle for the hot seat, and needing only the one loss-side win to return, challenge and defeat Oliver in the finals. The $625-added event drew 30 entrants to the Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY.
Following victories over Ray Feliciano, and Luis Jimenez, Shlemperis advanced to a winners' side semifinal against Kevin Shin. Oliver, in the meantime, squared off against Vijay Patel. Shlemperis downed Shin 6-4, as Oliver sent Patel west 5-3. Oliver claimed the hot seat 7-2 over Shlemperis and waited for him to get back.
On the loss side, Shin picked up Luis Jimenez, who'd gotten by Carl Yusuf Khan 6-1, and Jaydev Zaveri 6-3. Patel drew Andrew Cicoria, who'd eliminated Bob Toomey 5-1, and Jim Gutierrez 4-2. The loss-side combatants in the battle to determine the tie for 5th place defeated the newcomers from the winners' side semifinals. Jimenez ended Shin's day 6-3, while Cicoria was busy sending Patel home 5-3.
Jimenez won the quarterfinal match that followed, 6-3 over Cicoria. He put up a fight against Shlemperis in the semifinals, but Shlemperis took the final game and got himself a second shot against Oliver. Like Jimenez before him, Oliver put up a fight to claim the title, but it wasn't enough. Shlemperis pulled ahead to win it by two 8-6 and claim his second title in as many weeks.
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at the Cue Bar, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui Tips, Ron Vitello, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, Human Kinetics, and Bloodworth Ball Cleaners. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for Sunday, February 26, will be a C/D, Double Points, 8-ball event, hosted by Steinway Billiards, in Astoria (Queens), NY.

Fracasso-Verner comes from deep on the loss side to win Predator stop at Steinway

John Cullen, Lukas Fracasso-Verner and Atif Khan

Predator Tour Director Tony Robles had to scour his tour archives to determine whether 15-year-old Lukas Fracasso-Verner had become the youngest competitor to ever win a stop on the tour. He was not. As Robles discovered, Fracasso-Verner was the second oldest competitor to win a stop on the tour; the youngest being Thomas Rice, who at the age of 14, won a Predator stop in September, 2013. Fracasso-Verner's victory, which came at a Predator Tour stop on the weekend of January 28-29, was made all that more dramatic by the teenager's 13-match winning streak on the losers' side of the bracket. The $1,000-added event drew 80 entrants to Steinway Billiards, in Astoria (Queens), NY.
With Fracasso-Verner already at work on the loss side (he'd lost his opening match in a double hill fight against Eugene Ok), his eventual finals' opponent – Atif Khan – advanced to a winners' side semifinal match against Nick Liberatos. John Cullen faced Kanami Chau in the other winners' side semifinal. Cullen and Khan moved into the hot seat match, following Cullen's 8-6 win over Chau and Khan's 7-5 victory over Liberatos. Khan claimed the hot seat, double hill, over Cullen.
On the loss side, Fracasso-Verner edged past the halfway mark in his 13-match, loss-side odyssey and into the money rounds. He then got by Kevin Shin 7-3, and Junior Singh 7-1, to pick up Chau. Liberatos drew Duc Lam, who'd defeated Matthew Harricharan and Tom Hagan, both 7-4. Two double hill fights advanced Fracasso-Verner and Lam over Chau and Liberatos to the quarterfinals.
Fracasso-Verner eliminated Lam 8-5 in those quarterfinals, and then finished Cullen's weekend 7-3 in the semifinals. Khan and Fracasso-Verner were each looking for their first win on the Predator Tour, though Khan had two wins on the Tri-State Tour in his resume. Khan completed his unlikely, but strong loss-side run with a 9-6 win in the finals.

Panzarella stops loss-side bid by Harricharan to go undefeated on the Predator Tour

Eugene Ok, Mike Panzarella, Matthew Harricharan and Kevin Shin

Mike Panzarella, a regular on both the Predator and Tri-State Tours, followed a fifth place finish on the Tri-State Tour last weekend (Sept. 11), with an undefeated run on the Predator Tour this weekend (Sept. 17-18). To complete his run, he had to face and defeat Matthew Harricharan, who won seven on the loss side to face him in the finals. The $1,000-added event drew 52 entrants to the Cue Bar in Bayside, Queens, NY.
Panzarella advanced to the hot seat match, following a double hill win over Lidio Ramirez in one winners' side semifinal, as Kevin Shin defeated Michael Fedak 8-3 in the other. Panzarella claimed the hot seat 8-6 over Shin and waited on Harricharan.
On the loss side, it was Ramirez who picked up Harricharan, four matches into his loss-side streak, including most-recent wins over Brooke Meyer 7-3, and a successful 7-5 re-match against the opponent who'd sent him to the loss side, Miguel Laboy. Fedak drew Eugene Ok, who'd gotten by Tommy Schrieber, double hill, and Jaydev Zaveri 7-3.
Harricharan chalked up loss-side win #5 against Ramirez 7-2, as Ok was eliminating Fedak 7-4. Fedak became only the third D+ player in Predator Tour history to advance to a fifth place finish on the tour. 
Harricharan and Ok locked up in a double hill quarterfinal, eventually won by Harricharan. He went on to defeat Shin in the semifinals 7-5 for a shot at Panzarella in the hot seat.
Harricharan put up a fight in the finals, coming within a game of double hill. Panzarella, though, hung on to complete his undefeated run and claim the event title.