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Gomez gets by LaPuente twice to win Tri-State Tour stop

(l to r): Manny Gomez & Luis LaPuente

With the end of the 2018/2019 Tri-State Tour season approaching, there is, as there always is, something of a quiet scramble as players attempt to establish their performance credentials in the hope of being invited to the annual Tri-State Invitational tournament, scheduled for the final weekend in June at Steinway Billiards. There are four events left in the 2018/2019 schedule for players to become one of the 16 competitors in each class division to receive an invitation. The two finalists of the Tri-State Tour stop held on Sunday, May 19, Manuel Gomez and Luis LaPuente are, in competition parlance, ‘in the hunt’ for slots in their respective class divisions; Gomez, a D player, currently at #15 in that class and La Puente, a C player, currently at #32 in his class. Gomez got by La Puente twice in the event to go undefeated and claim the event title, thereby improving his chances in the D class, while having a negative impact on LaPuente’s fortunes in the C class. The $1,000-added event drew 34 entrants to Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY.
They met first in a winners’ side semifinal, as Pashk Gjini (B, #18) and Eugene Ok (B+, #8) squared off in the other one. Gomez took his first of two over LaPuente 6-4, as Ok downed Gjini 7-2. Gomez claimed the hot seat 8-5 over Ok and waited on what turned out to be the return of LaPuente.
On the loss side, Gjini picked up Luis Jimenez, who’d survived a double hill battle versus Tri V Chau and eliminated Jimmy Acosta 8-5. LaPuente drew Mike Strassberg, who’d defeated Brad McDuffie 6-3 and Bianca Martinez 7-5 to reach him.
Jimenez (B, #6) downed Gjini 7-5, as LaPuente shut out Strassberg. LaPuente then did his campaign for climbing the C ladder some good by first defeating Jimenez 7-1 in the quarterfinals, and then, because Eugene Ok forfeited out of the semifinals, leapfrogging into the finals and a re-match against Gomez.
Gomez, though, completed his undefeated run with an 8-6 victory in the finals to claim the event title. He will likely move a few rungs up his D ladder to stay well within the top 16 in that division, with, as noted, four events to go to improve even further.
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Cue Bar, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui Tips, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, Human Kinetics, Pool & Billiards, Professor Q Ball, Bender Cues, DIGICUE OB and Hustlin USA. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour will be the 9th Annual George “Ginky” Sansouci Memorial Tournament, scheduled for May 25-26 and conducted under the combined auspices of the Tri-State, Predator Pro Am and Mezz Tours. The $4,000-added event, featuring both amateur and Open/Pro fields will be hosted by Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY.

Gupta comes from the loss side to nail down his third 2018 Tri-State Tour title

Shivam Gupta and Ricky Deng


Shivam Gupta had recorded two previous victories on the Tri-State Tour this year, when he stepped to the tables to compete in a tour stop at BQE Billiards in Jackson Heights, NY on Sunday, September 30. Overall, Gupta had captured three Tri-State titles, although the first two were recorded with an ‘asterisk,’ because while he had advanced to the hot seat, he hadn’t played and won a final match. This past April, he changed that by going undefeated and winning a final match against Jaydev Zaveri. On Sunday, September 30, Gupta chose a different route, the loss side, from which to capture his third 2018 title (his first in the 2018-2019 Tri-State Tour season).
The $1,000-added event drew 36 entrants to BQE Billiards.
This was only Gupta’s second appearance on the 2018-2019 tour, playing in the B+ class. He  advanced on the winners’ side of the bracket, past John Francisco 7-2 and Lidio Ramirez, double hill, to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal against Bob Toomey. Ricky Deng, in the meantime, looking for his first win on the Tri-State Tour, met up with Daniel Decker.
Toomey sent Gupta west 7-4 and in the hot seat match, faced Deng, who’d defeated Decker 7-2. Deng claimed the hot seat over Toomey 6-1 and waited on the return of Gupta.
On the loss side, Gupta picked up his nemesis from the earlier finals matchup in April, Jaydev Zaveri, who’d defeated Ramirez 7-2 and Jerry Almodovar 7-3 to reach him. Decker drew Mike Garetta, who’d eliminated Luis LaPuente 6-3 and Nathaniel Raimondo 7-2.
Gupta defeated Zaveri 7-3, while Garetta was busy downing Decker 6-3. Gupta then won the quarterfinal match 7-4 over Garetta and earned his spot in the finals with a double hill win over Toomey in the semifinals.
Though Deng jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the finals, Gupta came back to tie and then move ahead, 3-2. From that point, Gupta stayed in control, winning it 9-7 to claim his third 2018 Tri-State title.
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at BQE Billiards, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui Tips, Phil Cappelle, Blue Book Publishing, Human Kinetics, Pool & Billiards, Professor Q Ball, Bender Cues and DIGICUE OB. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for Sunday, October 7, will be hosted by Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY. 

Laboy comes from the loss side to take down Delimelkonoglu on Tri-State Tour

Miguel Laboy & Kapriel Delimelkonoglu

Three years ago, during Miguel Laboy’s best earnings year at the tables, he won four stops on the Tri-State Tour, and was among the top 10 finishers in 12 of the 13 events in which he competed on both the Tri-State and Predator Pro Am Tours. Since that time, he’s continued to chalk up wins on both tours, and has maintained that ‘top ten finisher’ pace every year. On Sunday, December 10, he added another victory on the Tri-State Tour to his growing list of accomplishments, coming from the loss side to meet and defeat Kapriel Delimelkonoglu in the finals of a $1,000-added event that drew 34 entrants to Cue Bar Lounge and Billiards in Bayside (Queens), NY.
Laboy and Delimelkonoglu met twice in this event, first, in a winners’ side semifinal, won by Delimelkonoglu 7-5 that sent Laboy to the loss side, and later, in the finals. In the hot seat match, Delimelkonoglu faced Juan Melendez, who’d sent Luis LaPuente over 6-3 in the other winners’ side semifinal. Delimelkonoglu claimed the hot seat with a 9-7 win over Melendez and waited on Laboy’s return.
On the loss side, Laboy opened his trip back to the finals against Jimmy Martinez, who’d defeated Thomas Schreiber 7-2 and Carl Yusuf Khan 7-3 to reach him. LaPuente drew Matt Klein, recent winner over Mac Jankov 6-3 and Ilija Trajeski 6-4.
Laboy advanced to the quarterfinals 8-5 over Martinez and was joined by LaPuente, who’d eliminated Klein 6-4. Laboy moved on to defeat LaPuente 10-6 in the quarterfinals, and Melendez 11-8 in the semifinals.
Laboy reversed his hot seat fortunes in the finals. He defeated Delimelkonoglu 9-4 to claim his first Tri-State title of the year.
Tri-State representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Cue Bar for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling Billiards, John Bender Custom Cues, Kamui, Digicue, Billiards Digest, Human Kinetics, Blue Book Publishing, Joe Romer Trophies and Phil Capelle Publications. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, the last of 2017, is scheduled for Sunday, December 17, and will be hosted by Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY.