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Wong and Krah split top prizes on Mezz Tour Pro-Am event

Michael Wong and Matt Krah opted out of a final match at the Mezz Tour's second stop of the year on Sunday, February 15. In the hot seat, Wong claimed the event title, leaving Krah, who'd won three on the loss side to reach him, as runner-up. The $500-added event drew a small field of 16 entrants to Sandcastle Billiards in Edison, NJ.
 
Though both finalists played in a winners' side semifinal, they did not face each other. Wong battled Scott Bannon, as Krah took on Adam Kielar. Wong defeated Bannon 7-4 and faced Kielar, who'd sent Krah to the losers' bracket 7-5. Wong claimed the hot seat 7-4 over Kielar in what proved to be his final match of the evening.
 
On the loss side, Krah's first opponent was Tony Maria, who'd defeated Woo Tang 7-4 and Steve Lillis 7-2. Bannon drew Mike Salen, who'd given up only one rack each in his previous two matches against Kyle Bubet and Julie Ha. Bannon nipped that little run in the bud with a double hill win, as Krah downed Maria 7-4. 
 
Krah took the quarterfinal match against Bannon 7-4 and moved into his final match; the semifinal against Kielar. He won that 7-3 and then agreed with Wong to call it a night and split the top two prizes.
 
Tour director Jose Burgos thanked the ownership and staff at Sandcastle Billiards, as well as sponsors Mezz Cues, Gamblin' Clothing, Kamui, J.D. Custom Cues, Allen Hopkins Super Billiards Expo, JB Cases, Billiard Life USA, Howitzer Break Cues, Steve Klatt's Custom Cues, and Mike Ricciardella.

LaBoy goes undefeated to chalk up fourth 2014 Tri-State win

Paul Spaanstra, Miguel LaBoy and Dave Fitzpatrick

Miguel Laboy won his first Tri-State Tour stop in January. He's won three more since; one in August, another in September, and most recently, on Saturday, November 22 at a $1,000-added event that drew 64 entrants to Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), New York. Twice, at House of Billiards on Staten Island, he had to defeat the room's owner, Dennis Kennedy to claim the title. In the middle of those two occasions, in August, he and his co-finalist, Lidio Ramirez, opted out of a final match, leaving Laboy undefeated and the official event winner.
 
In claiming his fourth Tri-State title, Laboy had to get by Paul Spaanstra twice. Following victories over Enoch Hooper, Juan Guzman (forfeit), Thomas Rice and Koka Davladze, Laboy met Spaanstra for the first time in a winners' side semifinal. Dave Fitzpatrick and Kevin Huynh met in the other. Laboy prevailed 8-5 over Spaanstra and in the hot seat match, met Fitzpatrick, who'd defeated Hunyh 6-2. Laboy claimed his fourth Tri-State hot seat 10-7 over Fitzpatrick and waited on the return of Spaanstra.
 
Spaanstra started his trip back to the finals against Davladze, who. after being sent over Laboy, had defeated Greg Ackerman 8-5, and Kyle Bubet 8-4. Huynh drew Steve Wade, who'd gotten by Albert Appleton and Thomas Schreiber, both 6-4. Spaanstra eliminated Davladze 8-4, and in the quarterfinals, met Wade, who'd defeated Huynh 6-3.
 
Spaanstra and Wade locked up in a double hill, quarterfinal fight that eventually advanced Spaanstra to the semifinals against Fitzpatrick. A 7-3 win there, and Spaanstra got his second crack at Laboy.
 
Spaanstra got off on the right foot, winning three straight. Laboy, though, answered promptly with three of his own. Spaanstra responded with four in a row to take his largest lead at 7-3. Laboy checked in with another three to narrow Spaanstra's lead to one at 7-6. Though Spaanstra won rack #14, it proved to be his last, as Laboy finished with four in a row to claim the event title.
 
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Steinway Billiards for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Qpod, Kamui Tips, Ron Vitello, Focus Cases by John Barton, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, Human Kinetics , and Focus Apparel. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for November 29, will be hosted by Clifton Billiards in Clifton, NJ.

Panzarella comes back from the loss side to take down Davladze on Predator Tour

The last time (on record) that Mike Panzarella was in the winners' circle of an event was in 2010, when he shared the top two Tri-State Tour cash prizes with Rich Saco. He'd come from the loss side for the right to meet Saco, but when the semifinals were over (Panzarella over Joe Varvaro), it was 2 a.m., and they opted out. On the weekend of October 11-12, at a $1,000-added, Predator Tour amateur event, which drew 78 entrants to Steinway Billiards, in Astoria (Queens), NY, Panzarella came from the loss side again, but this time, he faced an opponent (Koka Davladze) and defeated him to claim the event title.

 
They met twice. The first time, in a winners' side semifinal, as Bob Toomey squared off against Kyle Bubet. Davladze took the first of two against Panzarella 7-5, while Toomey was busy shutting Bubet out. Davladze won his last match 10-9, claiming the hot seat over Toomey.
 
On the loss side, Panzarella's first opponent was Raphael Dabreo, who'd defeated Keith Adamik 7-3 and Alex Osipov 8-7 to reach him. Bubet, in the meantime, had to contend with Kaz Takagishi, who'd eliminated Bob Schlott 7-4 and Dennis Lake 7-5.
 
Panzarella gave up only a single rack against DaBreo, advancing to the quarterfinals to face Takagishi, who'd downed Bubet 7-3. Panzarella then eliminated Takagishi and then, Toomey in the semifinals by identical 10-8 scores. Panzarella took full advantage of his second chance against Davladze, defeating him 9-7 in the finals to claim the event title.
 

Shaw goes undefeated on Predator Pro stop; Derewonski comes from loss side to take Amateur

Jayson Shaw

Jayson Shaw only had to win three matches to claim the Predator Open/Pro title at stake during the tour's September 6-7 stop at The Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY. Chris Derewonski, working the Amateur side of things, had to win twice that (and then some) to claim the amateur title. The $1,000-added ($500 each) events drew 53 entrants – eight to the Open/Pro, and 45 to the amateur event.
 
A victory in the opening match put Shaw into a winners' side semifinal against tour director Tony Robles. Jeremy Sossei faced Frankie Hernandez in the other. Shaw and Sossei moved into the hot seat match after identical 8-3 wins over Robles and Hernandez. Shaw took the winners' side final 8-6 and waited on what turned out to be the return of Hernandez. 
 
On the loss side, battling for 7th/8th, Nigel Francis and Jerry Tarantola defeated Eugene Ok and Jonathan Russell, both 8-1. Francis and Tarantola were then eliminated by Robles and Hernandez by the same 8-2 score. Hernandez then shut out Robles in the quarterfinals and got a second shot at Sossei in the (1st money round) semifinals. They battled to double hill before Hernandez prevailed for a chance against Shaw. Shaw completed his short, undefeated run with an 8-3 victory in the finals.
 
In the Amateur event, eventual winner, Chris Derewonski made it to the winners' side final four, before being sent to the losers' bracket 7-5 by Alex Osipov. By the same score, Kyle Bubet defeated Ron Mason in the other winners' side semifinal. Another 7-5 win put Bubet in the hot seat, and sent Osipov to the semifinals.
 
On the loss side, Derewonski began his trip back against Brooke Meyer, who'd defeated Brian Russell 7-1 and Junior Sanchez 7-4 to reach him. Mason drew Paolo Valverde, who'd gotten by Tony Ignomirello 7-4 and Roy Lim 7-5.
 
Derewonski advanced to the quarterfinals 7-5 over Meyer, and met up with Valverde, who'd survived a double hill battle against Mason. Derewonski went on to defeat Valverde in the quarterfinals (10-7), and Osipov in the semifinals (8-6). He claimed his second Predator Tour title of the year by defeating Bubet 11-6 in the finals.

Hosang goes undefeated on Tri-State Tour

Paul Wilkins, Geovanni Hosang and Mike Figueroa

Facing separate opponents in the battle for the hot seat and finals, Geovanni Hosang downed them both to go undefeated on the Saturday, November 16 stop on the Tri-State Tour. The $1,000-added event drew 28 entrants to Clifton Billiards, in Clifton, NJ.
 
Following victories over Brett Fenstermacher, Mike Zimny, and Paul Raval, Hosang faced Max Wantanabe among the winners' side final four. Mike Figueroa, in the meantime, met up with Paul Wilkens. Hosang got into the battle for the hot seat with a 7-2 over Wantanabe, and was joined by Figueroa, who'd sent Wilkens to the loss side 6-3. Hosang hung on to win the hot seat battle, double hill, and waited on what turned out to be the return of Wilkens.
 
On the loss side, Wantanabe drew Mike Zimny, who'd defeated Paul Raval 7-1 and Kyle Bubet 7-4. Wilkens drew Shivam Gupta, who'd eliminated Jaydev Zaveri 6-1 and Mike Strassberg 6-4. Wantanabe and Wilkens ended Zimny and Gupta's loss-side exercises; Wantanabe, double hill over Zimny, and Wilkens, 6-2 over Gupta.
 
Wilkens earned himself a second shot against Figueroa with a 7-3 victory over Wantanabe in the quarterfinals. He then took full advantage, earning himself a shot at Hosang in the hot seat, with a double hill victory over Figueroa in the semifinals. 
 
Early in the finals, Wilkens took two, two-point leads. He got out in front 2-0, and after Hosang tied things up, he jumped ahead 4-2. Hosang tied things up a second time, and then won three more to finish things and claim the event title.
 
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Clifton Billiards, as well as sponsors Sterling-Gaming, Ozone Billiards, Qpod, Heptig Cues, Kamui Tips, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, and Human Kinetics. The next Tri-State stop, scheduled for November 23-24, will be hosted by Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY. 

Gutierrez stops seven-match, loss-side run by Zimny to claim Tri-State win

Mike Zimmy, Alexander Gutierrez and Max Watanabe

Alexander Gutierrez sent Max Watanabe to the semifinals during the November 9 stop on the Tri-State tour, but it was Mike Zimny who came back to face him in the finals. Zimny, who'd been sent to the loss side by Watanabe, came back through six opponents to face him a second time; successfully, as it turned out. Gutierrez ended Zimny's bid to claim the $1,000-added event title, which had drawn 38 entrants to Castle Billiards in East Rutherford, NJ.
 
With Zimny dispatched to the loss side earlier in the day, Watanabe advanced among the winners' side final four where he met up with Kyle Bubet. Gutierrez, in the meantime, squared off against Pat Mareno. Watanabe defeated Bubet 7-5, as Gutierrez was busy surviving a double hill battle over Mareno. With a 7-4 win, Gutierrez claimed the hot seat and sent Watanabe west for his fateful re-match against Zimny.
 
On the loss side, Mareno picked up Jaydev Zaveri, who'd gotten by Paulo Valverde and Andrew Cleary, both 6-4. It was Bubet who had the misfortune to draw Zimny, four wins into his seven-match, loss-side winning streak that included a double hill win over Jose Liz Domeneche, and a 7-4 victory over room owner, John Trobiano. Zimny and Zaveri handed Bubet and Mareno their second straight losses; Zimny over Bubet, 7-2 and Zaveri over Mareno, 6-2.
 
Zimny then dropped Zaveri into fourth place with a 7-3 win in the quarterfinals, to earn his re-match against Watanabe. He successfully put Watanabe in his (third) place, and got a shot at Gutierrez in the finals. Gutierrez stopped Zimny's gritty charge to reach the finals 7-5 to claim the title.
 
Tour representatives thanked Trobiano and his staff at Castle Billiards for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Sterling-Gaming, Ozone Billiards, Qpod, Cues, Kamui Tips, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, and Human Kinetics. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for November 16, will be hosted by Clifton Billiards in Clifton, NJ.
 

Nau downs Andoni twice to take Amateur Predator stop; Shaw does likewise to win Open

Jayson Shaw

Both Victor Nau and Jayson Shaw survived double hill battles for the hot seat in the Amateur and Open portions of the November 2-3 stop on the Predator Tour, and went on to win the finals, against the same opponents. Nau took two against Borana Andoni in the Amateur event, while Shaw defeated Tony Robles twice in the Open event. The $500-added Amateur event drew 20 entrants, while the $500-added Open portion of the proceedings drew a short field of 10 entrants to Castle Billiards in East Rutherford, NJ.
 
From among the winners' side final four in the Amateur event, Nau downed Antonio G.errero 7-3, as Andoni sent Bogie Uzdejczyk west 7-2. Nau took command of the hot seat match, sending Andoni to the semifinals 8-3.
 
On the loss side, Geurrero met up with Giovanni Hosang, who'd gotten by Kyle Bubet 7-3 and survived a double hill battle against ChristIan Smith, to reach him. Uzdejczyk faced Stewart Warnock, who'd defeated Keith Adamik, double hill, and Koka Davladze 7-5. Guerrero and Uzdejczyk advanced to the quarterfinals with identical 7-5 wins over Osang and Warnock.
 
Uzdejczyk won the quarterfinal match 7-2 over Guerrero and got a second crack at Andoni.  He put up a double hill fight against her, but she prevailed for a second shot at Nau. Nau finished things with an 8-4 win in the finals.
 
In the Open event, Shaw, still nursing wounds inflicted by back-to-back victories by Shane Van Boening and Lee Van Corteza in the US Open 9-Ball Championships,  advanced among the winners side final four and met up with Scott Simonetti. Tony Robles squared off against room owner, John Trobiano, in the other winners' side semifinal.
 
Shaw defeated Simonetti 7-4, as Robles advanced to the hot seat match with a 7-2 win over Trobiano. Shaw won the double hill, hot seat struggle against Robles in their first of two.
 
On the loss side, Travis McKinley was working his way to the semifinals against Robles. He got by Keith Adamik 7-5 and Vikram Dasari 7-4 to pick up Simonetti. Trobiano faced Shpendi Kaba, who'd defeated Paul Spaanstra 7-1 and Daniel Dagotdot 7-4.
 
Kaba and McKinley handed Trobiano and Simonetti their second straight losses, both 7-4. McKinley then defeated Kaba in the quarterfinals 7-5. Robles ended McKinley's loss-side streak in the semifinals 7-3, and was then, himself, eliminated by Shaw in their second meeting 7-4.

Davladze claims Tri-State event; splits prize with DeCaprio

Kyle Bubet, Koka Davladze and Chris DeCaprio

Koka Davladze, last seen playing runner-up to Michael Yednak in the 3rd Annual Ginky Memorial Tournament over Labor Day weekend, went undefeated through a field of 64 entrants to claim the event title of a Tri-State Tour stop on Saturday, September 14. Davladze and Chris DeCaprio opted out of a final match and split the top two prizes. The $1,800-added event was hosted by Gotham City Billiards in Brooklyn, NY.
 
Davladze and DeCaprio did face each other in the hot seat battle. Davladze had gotten by Gary O'Callaghan, Andrzej Kaldan, Carl Yusuf Khan and Rajesh Vannala to move among the winners' side final four, where he defeated Juan Guzman, double hill. DeCaprio, in the meantime, was downing Kyle Bubet 7-5. Davladze took that hot seat match, his last of the evening as it turned out, 10-7.
 
Guzman moved over to pick up Khan, who'd shut out Harry Lau and just did defeat Rhio Anne Flores, double hill, to reach him. Bubet picked up Mike Harrington, who'd defeated Tornike Khaduridze 6-2 and Pat Mareno 6-4. Guzman and Bubet got back on track right away, with Guzman surviving a double hill match versus Khan and Bubet winning 7-5.
 
Two straight double hill battles followed and ended the evening's proceedings. Bubet defeated Guzman in the quarterfinals 8-7, but was then himself defeated in the double hill, semifinal match against DeCaprio, 6-5. Davladze and DeCaprio chose not to face each other in a final match, and agreed to a split in the top two prizes, allowing the undefeated Davladze to claim the event title.
 
Tour representatives thanked Gotham City Billiard's owners, Kevin and Isabel Buckley, for their continuing support of the players, as well as the "outstanding equipment" provided for them to play on. They also thanked sponsors Sterling-Gaming, Ozone Billiards, Qpod, Heptig Custom Cues, Kamui Tips, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, and Human Kinetics.
 
The next stop on the Tri-State Tour is scheduled for Saturday, September 21, at Rockaway Billiards in Rockaway, NJ.

Domeneche comes from the loss side to down Spaanstra in Tri-State final

Jose Liz Domeneche, Paul Spaanstra and Kyle Bubet

They'd dodged each other in the winners' side semifinals; Jose Liz Domeneche, moving to the loss side, while Paul Spaanstra moved on to the hot seat match. Domeneche won three in a row on the loss side and then, came back to meet and defeat Spaanstra in the finals of the $750-added, A-D handicapped event, hosted by Clifton Billiards in Clifton, NJ on Saturday, June 22.
 
Domeneche had been downed by Kyle Bubet among the winners' side final four 6-4, as Spaanstra was busy surviving a double hill match against Mike Zimny. Spaanstra got into the hot seat 7-5 over Bubet and waited on Domeneche.
 
Luis Jimenez, winner of the tour's June 1 stop, was the man waiting on Domeneche on the loss side. He'd gotten by Jay Choi 6-4 and Lawrence Chandler 6-5 to reach him. Zimny drew Dave Ascolese, who'd defeated Steve Kaminov and Rhys Chen, both 7-5. Domeneche and Zimny moved on to the quarterfinals; Domeneche having eliminated Jimenez 6-3, Zimny defeating Ascolese 7-3.
 
Domeneche took the quarterfinal match 7-5 over Zimny, which set him up for a re-match against Bubet in the semifinals. He successfully negotiated that final, loss-side step with a 6-3 victory over Bubet and moved on to the finals.
 
Domeneche opened the final match against Spaanstra with three straight racks. Spaanstra would get close, but never lead. He closed the gap to within one at 4-3, and 5-4, before knotting things at 5-5. They traded racks to 6-6 before Domeneche put up his second three in a row to claim the event title.
 
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Clifton Billiards, as well as sponsors Sterling-Gaming, Ozone Billiards, Poison Cues, Ron Tarr Cues, Kamui Tips, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, and Human Kinetics. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour will be its annual Invitational Event on July 6-7, hosted by Castle Billiards in East Rutherford, NJ. The top 16 contenders for Player of the Year honors, in each of the tour's six ranking divisions, will be invited to compete. 
 
Expected to compete in the A+/A division will be current leaders, Koka Davladze, Carl Yusuf Khan, and Keith Adamik. Among those expected to compete in the B+ class will be Gary Murgia, Bryan Jeziorski and Guy Iannuzi, along with John Trobiano, Bogie Uzdejczyk and Ricardo Mejia. Among the top female players who'll receive the invitation will be Yomaylin "Smiley" Feliz, Kim Meyer-Gabia, Borana Andoni, Ada Lio and Rhio Anne Flores. For a complete list of current contenders in each of the six ranking divisions, visit the tour Web site at http://www.thetristatetour.com (follow link to 2012-2013 Player of the Year standings).

Rice breaks through to win first Tri-State

Kyle Bubet, room owner Kevin Buckley, Thomas Rice and twin sister Kristin Rice

He's been going at it steadily since January. Through five stops on the Tri-State Tour and one on the Predator Tour, 14-year-old Thomas Rice has been finishing closer and closer to the top. He placed 9th on the Predator Tour in April, 7th on the Tri-State two weeks later, 5th twice (January and last weekend), 3rd once (March), 2nd once (May 4), and on Saturday, May 18, he won seven games on the loss side to meet and defeat Kyle Bubet in the finals of a Tri-State stop to capture his first event title. The $1,500-added, A-D handicapped event drew 43 entrants to Gotham Billiards in Brooklyn, NY.

 
Rice won his opening match on this stop, shutting out Kim Meyer-Gabia, and then ran into Bubet, who sent him west 6-4. As Rice embarked on his seven-match, loss-side winning streak, Bubet advanced among the winners' side final four to face Joshua Morancie. Gary O'Callaghan and Bredan Ince squared off in the other winners' side semifinal. Bubet downed Morancie 6-2, and in the hot seat match, faced O'Callaghan, who'd defeated Ince 7-4. Bubet got into the hot seat with an 8-3 victory over O'Callaghan and waited on the fateful return of Rice.
 
Following victories over Eddie Perez and Nicholas Chan, Rice shut out Luis Jimenez, and defeated Brendon Hollock 6-3 to pick up Morancie. Ince drew Alex Osipov, who'd gotten by Jimmy Acosta 7-1, and Koka Davladze 7-3. Rice and Osipov handed Morancie and Ince their second straight loss – Rice 6-3, Osipov double hill – and met in the quarterfinals.
 
Rice then ended Osipov's day with a 6-4 win and earned a forfeit victory over O'Callaghan in the semifinals. Rice came out gunning in the finals. He took the opening three racks, and after allowing Bubet a single win, chalked up four more to reach the hill. Bubet, took the next two, but Rice closed it out 8-3 to take top honors.
 
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff of Gotham City Billiards, as well as sponsors Sterling-Gaming, Ozone Billiards, Poison Cues, Ron Tarr Cues, Kamui Tips, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, and Human Kinetics. The next Tri-State stop will be a $1,000-added, A-D event, scheduled for May 25-26 at Amsterdam Billiards in New York City.