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Castillo goes undefeated, downs Laboy twice to win 1st Predator Pro Am Tour title

(l to r): Euryel Castillo, Mike Callaghan & Miguel Laboy

The nature of pool lends itself to showdowns between long-time veterans and so-called ‘young guns,’ although not all of them are necessarily young. The finals of this past weekend’s (Feb. 15-16) stop on the Predator Pro Am Tour was a case in point, when newcomer Euryel Castillo, with only six cash finishes and one event victory (*) on his ‘resume,’ all recorded within the past year, faced off against Miguel Laboy, with cash finishes and multiple event victories, dating back 15 years, to his first appearance at the 2005 US Open 9-Ball Championships, at which he finished 33rd (along with Tony Robles, by the way). The ‘young gun’ Castillo came out on top in this one, going undefeated and taking Laboy down twice at the $1,000-added event that drew 84 entrants to Raxx Billiards in West Hempstead, NY.

Their first get-together was in the battle for the hot seat. Castillo had defeated Monika Callaghan (whose husband was already toiling away on the loss side) 7-3, while Laboy was involved dispatching George Poltorak to the loss side 9-5. In their first of two, they battled to double hill before Castillo prevailed to claim the hot seat.

On the loss side, George Poltorak picked up Eli Trajceski, who’d recently defeated Jaydev Zaveri 7-3 and survived a double hill battle against Troy Deocharran. Monika Callaghan drew her husband, Michael, which is always the kind of match that draws speculation about how their relationship will proceed immediately after one of them wins; the standard speculation which follows a husband victory is usually about the husband spending at least one night sleeping on a couch. Michael had defeated Katie Baker 6-3 and Mikhail Kim 7-3 to reach his wife.

Poltorak and Trajceski locked up in a double hill fight that eventually sent Poltorak to the quarterfinals. He was joined by Michael Callaghan, who’d sent his wife home (figuratively) 6-3, his assumed night on the couch possibly avoided by the eventual $1,000 in cash they managed to bring home as a team.

Michael advanced a step further, downing Poltorak in the quarterfinals 7-4. His loss-side run was stopped by Laboy who downed him 11-9 in the semifinals, to earn a second shot at Castillo in the hot seat.

The odds in the final match were likely on Laboy’s side. Castillo, though, did not apparently get that memo, as he defeated Laboy 10-4 to capture his first non-asterisk (meaning, played a final match) title.

A Second Chance event which drew 16 entrants was won John Francisco, who pocketed $160 for the win. Sean DaCosta was runner-up ($100), with Debbie Buyukdeniz and Erick Toledo finishing in the tie for 3rd ($30 each).

Tour director Tony Robles thanked Josh and Holden Chin and their Raxx Billiards staff for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor Predator Cues, Ozone Billiards,, The DeVito Team,, Cappelle (, AZBilliards, Pool & Billiard Magazine and Billiards Digest. He also thanked his own Predator Pro Am staff to include his lovely wife, Gail. The next stop on the Predator Pro Am Tour, scheduled for March 14-15, will be hosted by Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY.

Tenzin Jorden goes undefeated to win his first Predator Pro Am Tour stop

(l to r): Tony Robles, Dave Callaghan, Thomas Schreiber & Tenzin Jorden

12th Annual Empire State Championships at Raxx Billiards in West Hempstead, NY on tap next
Tenzin Jorden and Thomas Schreiber battled twice in the February 9-10 stop on the Predator Pro Am Tour. The first time, the match sent Schreiber on a three-match, loss-side trip. The second time earned Jorden his first title on the Predator Pro Am Tour. The $1,000-added event drew 73 entrants to Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY.
Both matches between Jorden and Schreiber went double hill. The first, in a winners’ side semifinal, advanced Jorden to the hot seat match, where he was joined by Dave Callaghan, who’d defeated Mac Jankov in his winners’ side semifinal match. Jorden claimed his first hot seat 9-7 over Callaghan and waited on Schreiber’s return.
Long before Dave Callaghan had moved into the hot seat match, his brother, Michael Callaghan was busy trying to advance on the loss side. Michael made it past the first money round (13th through 16th) and moved into the matches that would determine the four-way tie for 9th place. And ran into his wife, Monika, whom his brother had sent to the loss side earlier. Displaying a level of fearlessness rarely seen on a pool table, Michael Callaghan defeated his wife, double hill (6-5), eliminating her from the tournament, albeit with $150 in her pocket . . . uhh, purse? Fortunately, they were able to stay and watch brother/brother-in-law, Dave, compete in the semifinals because Michael was subsequently defeated by Esteban Morrell 7-4. We don’t know whether they watched those semifinals together or not. We didn’t ask.
Esteban Morrell, who’d defeated Hector Torres 7-4 previously advanced to meet Jankov, coming over from the winners’ side semifinal. Schreiber drew Matthew Harricharan, who’d eliminated Brian Toolsee and Jaydev Zaveri (winner of the last Predator Pro Am stop), both 7-4.
Morrell won a double hill battle over Jankov and in the quarterfinals, faced Schreiber, who’d defeated Harricharan 7-2. Schreiber gave up only a single rack to Morrell in those quarterfinals, and then sent Dave Callaghan to sit and watch the finals with Michael and Monika Callaghan by defeating Dave 7-3 in the semifinals.
Jorden and Schreiber settle in to the their second straight, double hill match; this one for all of the proverbial marbles, all 1,250 of them. Jorden defeated Schreiber a second time to claim his first Predator Pro Am title.
A Second Chance event that drew 14 entrants, saw Russell Masciotti and KC Clayton battle to double hill in the final. Masciotti dropped the last ball to claim the Second Chance title and take home $140. Clayton added $100 to the $100 he’d earned finishing in the tie for 13th place in the main event. Vinnie Crescimanno and Justin Daniels (adding to his $100 for finishing in the tie for 13th place) each took home $20.
Tour director Tony Robles thanked the ownership and staff at Cue Bar for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor Predator Cues, Ozone Billiards, NAPL, The DeVito Team,, Billiards Digest, AZBilliards, Pool & Billiards Magazine and his entire staff, including his lovely wife, Gail.
Zion Zvi will defend his two-time title at 12th Annual Empire State Championships
The next stop on the Predator Pro Am Tour, scheduled for the weekend of February 23-24, will be the 12th Annual Empire State Championships, as usual, hosted by Raxx Billiards in West Hempstead, NY. There will be a $2,000-added Amateur event, which last year, drew 111 entrants, and was won by Jason Carandang. There will also be a $1,000-added Open/Pro event. The two-time defending champion of this event, Zion Zvi, has indicated that he will be on-hand to defend his title.