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Spahiu Makes Statement at UPT Tour Stop

Besar Spahiu (Photo courtesy of Erwin Dionisio)

 As the day's of the Inaugural UPT Tournament drew near and the players list was filling up, Besar Spahiu was the biggest underdog leading to the event. July 6th, 2017 as the players filled Raxx Pool Room in West Hempstead, Spahiu had paid the Amateur level entry fee to later on prove that he was much more. 
The Ultimate Pool Tournament Inaugural event drew just under 30 players, and with such a small field, there were some big name players. The Ultimate Pool Tournament brought out a format for the event in which a set can go hill-hill or a complete blowout. In order to rise to the occasion, Besar Spahiu quickly realized by the second day of the event, the break is what would win him the tournament. As players were breaking from the box, with the 10ball racked on the spot, balls were flying everywhere, but a dry break quickly lead to players losing that rack. Besar,had utilized his breaking capabilities in which majority of his break shots lead to 1 or more balls being pocketed. 
Spahiu drew one of the tougher Amateur leveled players in NY, rated A++ on the Predator Pro/AM Tour,Rob Pole. Spahiu And Rob began play at 7PM on July 6th in what was expected to be a great showcase for the first round match. Besar quickly set the stage with a quick win over Pole even before the 2hour time limit sending Pole to the Loser side to face Co-Founder of UPT, Elvis Rodriguez. At this point, Besar had patiently waited for his next opponent for the 9PM round in which he had already felt comfortable. Denis Grabe had just completed his battle with Michael Wong in a outstanding 9-2 victory as Besar was already awaiting for Denis at the next table. 
Denis and Besar had an incredible back and forth battle, in what had boiled down to the better breaks and capitalization of the spread. As the match had finished up fairly quickly, once again before the 2hour time limit, Besar was feeling good about himself with a win over the Estonian sending Grabe to the "B" side of the chart.
What had lied in the eyes of Besar was determination. Besar would continue his quest on Friday with the first round with Brooklyn's own, Jorge Rodriguez. Besar came in equipped and ready for battle, but Jorge had the better of the set. The first round had left both players aggravated at the mistakes and the rolls of the table, but both players never gave up. Young 24 year old Besar was on a mission that day as he quested to be the better player but Jorge Rodriguez had stopped him in his tracks with a 9-6 win over Spahiu. This match had pushed Jorge Rodriguez to remain on the winner side to face, "King Kong Kaci" as one referenced him over the livestream of the event. Klenti Kaci would try to avenge for his friend in a semi-finals round with Rodriguez. 
Over on the "B" side of the bracket Spahiu needed to  redeem himself from his mistakes as he did not waste any time as he went on the next available table for practice. In what was another back and forth battle with a credited player from the Predator Pro/Am Tour, Besar Spahiu had played Victor Nau in the 5PM round. Given that this was Besar's 2nd match for the day but 3rd match for Victor, Victor seemed to be fatigued at the early going of the match letting Besar get the early lead of the set. Taking a break at the 4th rack,it was just what both players needed to rejuvenate. With Besar having a 4-1 lead over Victor, he had let loose at this time of the set allowing Victor to step up to the plate and making it a 4-3 game in a matter of minutes. Besar knew at this point he couldn't let this one slip, as he shifted into a higher gear playing a lot of tough safeties leaving Victor, nearly impossible kicks but someone was able to get out of them. As though the safeties didn't plan out as great as Besar wanted to, both players gave it there. In which at one point everyone thought Besar would have definitely lost this set. Besar playing with determination had other plans, better plans, as Besar capitalized on some key mistakes leading with 8-6 on Victor, Besar breaks the following rack making not a singLe Mistake to win the set. With a sigh of relief after that win, Besar's toughest opponent was yet to come. At the 7PM round Besar was waiting on 2 world renown players, Tony Robles and Mika Immonen in what had been a blow out that no one saw coming, Tony had beaten Mika and sent him packing with a 9-3 victory. 
Table 28 of Raxx Pool Room, the secondary streaming table of the event was appointed to the Besar and Tony Robles match without regret. This match showcased the immortality of Besar Spahiu amongst thousands of spectators worldwide. In what had been already a long day for all players competing, Besar showed what he was really made of. Besar played hands-down the best he had played while competing at this event. Tony Robles had seemed to use all his energy in his previous match against Mika, but he was shooting well enough to run a table. Unfortunately, everyone makes mistakes, and that is what exactly happened in this match. Besar limited the amount of times Tony Robles was able to shoot at the table. Besar capitalized on every mistake made by Robles to gain the early leade of 3-0 then 5-0 then 7-0. Besar was playing well, and Tony Robles was being outplayed by the Albanian youngster. Everyone was astonished from the spectators to the commentators to the fans tuned in from Tokyo to Serbia. A well fought day to stay alive , Besar had completed his quest to compete another day and head over to Day number 3 in which 6 players would return for a prize purse of over 10,000.00.
Spahiu would return to day 3 bright and early, an hour and a half before his scheduled match awaiting his opponent Jeremy "Giant Killer" Sossei who had came a long way and battled through a tough field consisting of Mark Gray, Elvis Rodriguez, Alex Kazakis, Jon Smith and Jorge Rodriguez. Jeremy and Besar would go on and put on a show for everyone watching as the safety battles were intense and both players were in it to win it. The experience of Jeremy Sossei made him the favorite, but Besar being the under dog had already set the stage that he was very well much playing on the same plane as his partner, Klenti Kaci. Spahiu and Sossei would put on quiet a match which lead to about 2 hours and 30 minutes. At the end the underdog became the big dog as Besar won to move on to the next round with a tremendous win of 9-7 over Jeremy Sossei. 
Besar would quickly break away from pool as Alex Kazakis had been waiting after a loss to Klenti Kaci for the hot seat match. This match would have been the longest match of the event traveling a bit over 3 hours of play on the main stream table. As both players were determined to cash for the grand prize, both players played nothing short of great and they had both put on a show for the fans. With a neck and neck set of points going back and forth, this set was a true meaning of a pool match. Both players triumphed with incredible runs, mistakes, safeties and unbelievable encounters back and forth, it was obvious that both it was taking a toll on the players. Besar would take the lead, as Alex Kazakis would trail right behind him and never letting Besar lead by more than 3 points ahead. The set had came down to the wire, in which the match was 8-8, as Alex was at the table, it came down to tieing up the 7ball and Cue Ball in which Alex was more than capable of running out. Besar took advantage of the failed safe played by Alex and ran the table to gain the win and the right to play in the finals. 
The finals would come about around 9PM on Saturday July 8th as the chat room was packed and Klenti had been waiting for 5 long hours for this match. Besar and Klenti had both came here from Albania with one mission on their mind and that was to conquer to pool world of America. Klenti Kaci was the favorite leading to this match, but after the show Besar had put on, everyone thought twice about this match up. The finals was set up for a single race to 11 points in which both players made many mistakes throughout the sets. At some times of the match both players would make mistakes that they would end up conceding with 3-4 and even 5 balls on the table.As the set started winding down, it seemed as if Besar Spahiu was ready for another tournament. The ending result coming down to 11-7 victory over Klenti Kaci, and that was a statement made out to the pool world that Besar will be a dominant factor in every tournament he participates in.
The Ulimate Pool Tournament founds would like to congratulate Besar Spahiu on a well deserved win of claiming the top prize and earning the respect of many for his determination and dedication to be the best. 

Sossei goes undefeated to take Predator Open/Pro stop

Zion Zvi, Jeremy Sossei and Joey Korsiak

DaBreo comes from the loss side to down Davladze in Amateur finals


Jeremy Sossei and Zion Zvi battled in the finals of the June 10-11 Pro event on the Predator Tour. Sossei was in the hot seat, when Zvi completed a five-match, loss-side run to face him. Sossei won to claim the $1,500-added Pro event that drew 12 entrants to Gotham City Billiards in Brooklyn, NY. In a concurrently-run, $1,500-added Amateur event that drew 51 entrants, Raphael Dabreo recovered from an early loss at the hands of Koka Davladze, and won seven on the loss side to eventually meet and defeat him in the finals.


Sossei advanced through the short Pro field to face Michael Wong in a winners' side semifinal. Wong had just sent Sossei's eventual finals' opponent, Zvi, to the loss side. Joey Korsiak, in the meantime, met up with Chris Derewonski in the other winners' side semifinal. Wong put up a double hill fight, but it was Sossei who advanced to the winners' side final against Korsiak, who'd sent Derewonski to the loss side 7-4. Sossei claimed the hot seat 7-3 and waited on Zvi.


Zvi opened his loss-side campaign with a 7-3 win over Frankie Hernandez (runner-up on Memorial Day weekend's Ginky Memorial), following it with a 7-3 win over Shawn "Alaska" Morgan, which set him up for a re-match versus Wong. Derewonski drew Greg Mitchell, who'd defeated tour director Tony Robles 7-5 and Jorge Texeira 7-2.


Zvi successfully negotiated the vengeance match 7-3 over Wong, as Derewonski eliminated Mitchell 7-2. Zvi took the quarterfinal match over Derewonski 7-1 and then, downed Korsiak 7-5 in the semifinals. In the finals, by the same score, Sossei stopped Zvi's run to claim the event title.


DaBreo comes back to 'haunt' and defeat Davladze in Amateur event


You'd have to think that downing an opponent 7-2 in a winners' side match would allow a competitor to think that he (or she) would have few worries about that individual coming back for a second challenge, especially when you've advanced beyond that match to the hot seat. Pool, though, is a funny kind of game and nobody knows that better than pool players, particularly Koka Davladze, who won that early match during the Predator Tour's Amateur event, and Raphael DaBreo, who lost in that matchup and eventually won seven on the loss side to meet and defeat Davladze in the finals.


With DaBreo at work on the loss side, Davladze advanced to a winners' side semifinal against Dan Faraguna. Daves Callaghan and Weinstein met in the other one. Davladze moved into the hot seat match 9-4 over Faraguna, and met up with Callaghan, who'd sent Weinstein over 7-4. In spite of a match that went one game shy of double hill, Davladze won his last match, claiming the hot seat over Callaghan 11-9.


On the loss side, DaBreo chalked up victories #3 & #4 against Roberto Hung (9-7) and Thomas Rice (8-5) to draw Faraguna. David Weinstein picked up Emit Yolcu, who'd eliminated Xavier Romero, double hill, and Ambi Estevez 7-1, to reach him. Yolcu and DaBreo advanced to the quarterfinals; Yolcu in another double hill win, over Weinstein, and DaBreo 9-4 over Faraguna.


Callaghan put up a double hill fight against DaBreo in the semifinals, but it wasn't enough, as DaBreo advanced to a long-awaited second shot against Davladze. He took full advantage, downing Davladze 9-5 to claim the title.


Tour director Tony Robles extended special thanks to Kevin and Isabel Buckley, along with their staff at Gotham City Billiards, as well as sponsors Predator Cues, Ozone Billiards, Poison Billiards,, The Devito Team,, Capelle (, AZBilliards, Billiards Digest and Pool & Billiard Magazine. The next stop on the Predator Tour, scheduled for June 17-18, will be hosted by Raxx Billiards in West Hempstead, NY.

Giants Tumble in Norfolk

Tuesday was the beginning of the days at the U.S. Open where champions clash. Karen Corr's run out to the right ended narrowly when Jayson Shaw beat her 11-10, Carlo Biado took down Thorsten Hohmann 11-3 as Oliver Ortmann defeated Jung-Lin Chang 11-6.

Albin Ouschan continues undefeated as he got past Dennis Grabe 11-4 and Mika Immonen bested Martin Daigle 11-6. Karl Boyes sent Skyler Woodward left 11-6 and J.H. Dang won out over Dennis Orcollo 11-8. Warren Kiamco continues as he passed Jason Klatt 11-9 and Ralf Souquet continues his great play with a victory over Nikos Ekonomopoulos 11-6. Mike Dechaine dominated John Morra 11-2 and Corey Deuel fell 11-6 to the power of Y.H. Cheng. Justin Bergman made his Mosconi Cup declaration clear with a powerful win over defending three-time champion Shane Van Boening 11-7. Finally, Rodney Morris took out Nick Van Den Berg 11-7 and Ruslan Chinakov came out on top over Darren Appleton 11-8.

Some truly great players have already hit the exits after finding their second loss. The list of notables who must wait another year includes Scott Frost, P.C. Ko, Frankie Hernandez, Amar Kang, Imran Majid, Oscar Dominguez, Ernesto Dominguez, So Shaw, Allen Hopkins, Tom D'Alfonso, Tommy Kennedy and Raj Hundal.

Powerful matches lie ahead. Jayson Shaw will take on Carlo Biado, Oliver Ortmann faces Albin Ouschan, Warren Kiamco will stare across the table at Ralf Souquet, and Rodney Morris will do battle with Ruslan Chinakov.

On the one-loss side of the charts the desperate ones will fight for survival. Here we find Ko Pin-Yi awaiting Kenichi Uchigaki, Tony Drago prepares for Jeremy Sossei, Mike Davis will war with friend Johnny Archer, Stevie Moore must face Justin Hall and Earl Strickland will cue up against Jeffrey Ignacio. Shaun Wilkie awaits David Alcaide, Brandon Shuff is loading up for Kevin West, and Jundal Mazon will take on Michael Wong.

For the rest of the week the matches will just get tougher and tougher. Which means it is a good time to slide over to and purchase the remaining pay-per-view. The sound problems noticed earlier in the week have been solved and the broadcast is now pristine with nothing but world-class matches in every round.

Testa wins ‘sudden death’ final game to take Mezz Pro-Am title

Joey Testa, after a long time away from the tables, returned to the Mezz Pro-Am Tour on Sunday, July 19, winning all but one match, including a single, sudden-death game, to snatch a potential victory away from Matt Krah, winner of the tour's first 2015 stop, back in February. The event drew 17 entrants to Main Line Billiards in Drexeline, PA.
Testa, who, in 2010, chalked up three wins on the Mezz Tour, and placed among the top 10 in eight events that year, hasn't been 'seen' (results not recorded) since he finished fourth on the tour, back in March, 2012. He returned with a vengeance, so to speak, advancing to a winners' side semifinal against Dan McGinnis, while Krah was squaring off against Michael Wong. Testa shut McGinnis and in the battle for the hot seat faced Wong, 7-5 winner over Krah. Testa claimed the hot seat 7-2.
Krah moved over and ran into Bobby Hontz, who'd defeated Colleen Shoop 7-3 and Dave Connelly, 7-5. McGinnis picked up the player known as Lupe, who'd eliminated Jake Lebon 7-1 and Bob Mapes 7-2. Krah got by Hontz 7-3, as McGinnis downed Lupe 7-5.
Krah took the quarterfinal match against McGinnis 7-2 and got his shot at Testa with a 7-4 victory over Wong in the semifinals. In the modified, double elimination finals, Krah took the opening set 7-5, initiating the 'sudden death,' single-game format the tour has recently adopted. Testa won the single game and claimed his first Mezz Tour title since the three he recorded five years ago.

Shaw chalks up his first 2015 Predator Open-Pro title

Jayson Shaw

It was about five years ago that Great Britain's Jayson Shaw shifted his base of operations from the UK to the US. In 2011, he won a stop on the GB9 Midlands Classic Pro Cup, and cashed in tournaments all over the world; Italy, Hungary, Sarajevo, Germany, France (Paris and French Open), and Austria. Recorded at the bottom of that list was his 25th place finish at the US Open 9-Ball Championships.  The following year, he chalked up a couple of wins on the GB9 Tour, and continued to cash internationally, but for the first time, his name started to appear regularly on the cash lists of US tournaments. He won three stops in a row on the Predator Tour that year (defeating, in the finals, Ronnie Alcano, Tony Robles and Earl Strickland), finished third on a Joss NE Tour stop (behind Strickland and Mike Dechaine), and finished 9th at the 2012  US Open 9-Ball Championships. 
In 2013, Shaw had a breakout year, almost tripling his 2012 earnings by winning six stops on the Predator Tour, including the Empire State 10-Ball Championships, and defeating Jeremy Sossei in the finals of a Joss Tour stop. He also finished third in the US Open that year, behind Shane Van Boening and Lee Van Corteza. There were 35 tournaments in which he cashed that year, almost half of them (16) as either the winner or runner-up. Things slowed down a bit last year; only 26 tournaments (in which he cashed), with six wins on the Predator Tour, including a victory in the first-ever NYC 8-Ball Championships (Grand Master division), held under the auspices of Tony Robles' Silent Assassin Productions. 
He's back on track this year. With 13 cashed tournaments to his credit, to date, he's picked up wins on the Joss Tour, the 5th Annual George "Ginky" Sansouci Memorial, Turning Stone XXIII, and on the weekend of June 20-21, he chalked up another win on the Predator Tour. He went undefeated on the $750-added Open/Pro event that drew 17 entrants to Raxx Billiards in West Hempstead, NY (A concurrently-run Amateur event, won by Tony Liang, drew 58; see separate story).
Shaw got by Michael Wong twice to complete his undefeated run. He and Wong sent Jeremy Sossei and Jorge Rodriguez, respectively, to the loss side 7-5 in the winners' side semifinals and then faced each other in the hot seat match. Shaw got way out in front and grabbed the hot seat 7-2.
On the loss side, Sossei and Rodriguez came up against Michael Yednak and Tony Robles; Yednak having survived a double hill match against Zion Zvi and defeated Frankie Hernandez 7-4, while Tony Robles was busy eliminating Holden Chin 7-2 and surviving, double hill, against Sean Morgan.
Sossei and Rodriguez advanced to the quarterfinals; Sossei 7-4 over Yednak and Rodriguez, double hill, over Robles. In something of an epic and extremely slow-paced quarterfinal that contributed to a 4:30 a.m. finish to the event, Sossei and Rodriguez battled to double hill before Rodriguez prevailed for his second shot against Wong. Wong defeated Rodriguez 7-4, earning his second shot against Shaw in the hot seat.
It wasn't as easy for Shaw as it had been in the hot seat match, but the result was the same. He and Wong battled to double hill before Shaw completed his undefeated run and claimed his first Predator Tour title of the year.

Krah and Cimarelli win dual-event weekend on Mezz Tour

Bob Maidhof, Vinny Cimarelli, Joe Hong and Shaun Wilkie

2nd Annual Rack for a Cure Charity 9-Ball tournament raises $6K for pediatric cancer research
It was a long, May 16-17 weekend for Mezz Pro-Am Tour director, Jose Burgos, who ran two separate tournaments, which, with some duplication, hosted 172 competitors. On Saturday, May 16, Warrington Billiards in Warrington, PA, hosted the 2nd Annual Rack for a Cure Charity 9-Ball Tournament, under the auspices of the Mezz Tour and TAP League. Organized for the second year by Jeremy and Erin Stacy of Hatboro, PA, the event, which drew 128 entrants, raised $6,000 for pediatric cancer research.
On Sunday, May 17, at Drexeline Billiards, in Drexeline, PA, the Mezz Pro-Am Tour held a regularly scheduled stop; a $1,000-added event that drew 42 entrants. The Saturday event was won by Matt Krah. Sunday's tournament was won by Vinnie Cimarelli. Shaun Wilkie was the runner-up in both.
Saturday's charity event saw Krah take two out of three over Wilkie, double dipping him in the finals. Krah and Wilkie had sent Steve Lillis and Mike Saleh to the loss side 4-1, and faced each other in the winners' side final. A double hill battle left Wilkie in the hot seat.
Seven of the last 10 matches on the loss side were decided by 3-1 scores; two shutouts and a double hill match decided the other three. Lillis and Saleh, coming over from the winners' side semifinals, picked up their second losses immediately; Lillis to Hendrick Drosp 3-1, and Saleh in a shutout by Adam Kielar. Drosp took the quarterfinal match over Kielar, and Krah won the semifinal match, both by the predominant 3-1 score. 
Krah and Wilkie locked up in a double hill fight in the opening set of the true double elimination final. Krah prevailed and then shut Wilkie out in the second set to claim the charity event title.
On Sunday, as Wilkie was at work on a nine-match, loss-side winning streak that would eventually propel him into the finals, Vinnie Cimarelli advanced to the hot seat. He'd defeated Michael Wong 7-4, while Bob Maidhof had gotten by Scott Haas 7-3. Cimarelli claimed the hot seat 7-2 over Maidhof and watched as Wilkie completed his loss side run to meet him.
Wilkie had been defeated in the opening round of play by A.J. Fitzgerald, and by the time he reached Haas, coming over from the winners' side semifinal, he'd chalked up six, loss-side wins, including a 6-1 victory over Sam Quinzi and 6-3 win over Sanne Krom. Wong picked up Joe Hong, who'd recently gotten by John Talamini 6-2 and Matt Krah 6-3.
Wilkie and Hong advanced to the quarterfinals; Wilkie 6-3 over Haas, and Hong, double hill, over Wong. Wilkie downed Hong and then Maidhof in the semifinals by the same 6-2 score.
Wilkie took the opening set of the double elimination final against Cimarelli, at which point, a recently-introduced, sudden-death, single-game-for-the-title ensued. It didn't last long. Wilkie attempted a 1-9 combination that failed and left the 9-ball sitting on the edge of the hole. It also denied Cimarelli a clean look at the 1-ball. Cimarelli attempted a rail-first poke at the 1-ball, which accommodated his wishes by sliding over and dropping the 9-ball. The (barely) undefeated Cimarelli claimed the event title.

“Alaska” takes two out of three versus Crawford to win NJ State 10-Ball Championship

Jeff Crawford, Sean Morgan, Dennis Spears, Mike Miller, Ed Liddawi, Danny Basavich and Pat Fleming

Sean "Alaska" Morgan joined the ranks of Francisco Bustamante and Darren Appleton, winners of the first (2013) and second (2014) New Jersey State 10-Ball Championships. He had to get by Jeff Crawford twice to do it, with Crawford taking one against him in the finals. The $1,000-added event drew 35 entrants to Sandcastle Billiards in Edison, NJ on the weekend of April 25-26.
Morgan almost got sent to the loss side in a winners' side semifinal against Joe Hong, but (if you'll excuse the pun) hung on to win the double hill match. Crawford, in the meantime, defeated Brian Maher 7-1. Morgan took the first of his three against Crawford 7-3 and waited in the hot seat to play the next two.
Maher and Hong moved over and were eliminated immediately; Maher, by Dennis Spears who'd reached him through Julie Ha, 7-0, and Michael Wong, 7-5 and Hong, by Mike Miller, who'd eliminated Ed Culhane 7-2 and John Smith 7-1. Spears defeated Maher 7-5. Miller took care of Hong 7-3.
Spears won the quarterfinal 7-5 over Miller, before he was eliminated 7-3 by Crawford in the semifinals. Crawford took the opening set of the finals 7-5 over Morgan, giving them each a single loss. Morgan broke the tie and captured the event title with a 7-4 win in the second set.

Ignacio wins third Predator Open/Pro, as Feliz takes Amateur event

Jeffrey Ignacio chalked up his third victory of the year on the Predator Tour by coming from the loss side and defeating hot seat occupant, Jayson Shaw, for the second time, in the finals of the $500-added Open/Pro portion of the March 14-15 stop on the tour. Yomaylin "Smiley" Feliz, also coming from the loss side, took home the top prize in the concurrently-run, $500-added A/B/C/D event. The Amateur event drew 59 entrants, while the Open/Pro event drew 12 to The Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY.
Ignacio's victory went through Shaw twice, the first time in a winners' side semifinal, as Frankie Hernandez and Sean Morgan squared off in the other. Shaw gave up only a single rack to Ignacio in sending him to the loss side, as Hernandez downed Morgan 7-5. Shaw claimed the hot seat 7-2.
On the loss side, Ignacio picked up Zion Zvi, who'd defeated Rob Omen 7-2 and Giovani Hosang 7-3. Morgan drew Michael Wong, who'd gotten by Eugene Ok 7-2 and tour director Tony Robles 7-3. Wong eliminated Morgan 7-5 and in the quarterfinals, met up with Ignacio, who'd defeated Zvi 7-4. Ignacio then downed Wong 7-3 and in the semifinals, Hernandez 7-4. He completed his loss-side run with an 11-6 victory over Shaw in the finals.
Like Ignacio, Yomaylin "Smiley" Feliz' trip to the winners' circle, took a detour at the winners' side semifinals, where she fell to Abel Barriento 7-5. By the same score, Tom Hagan took down Arturo Reyes. Hagan then claimed the hot seat 8-5.
On the loss side, Feliz met up with Wanlop Chantarakolkit, who'd gotten by Bob Toomey 7-2 and Jim Gutierrez 7-5 to reach her. Reyes drew Stephen Dempsey, who'd defeated Basdeo Shawn Sookhai 7-3 and survived a double hill match against Steve Wright
Feliz, at that point, began a series of three straight double hill wins, eliminating Chantarakolkit, Reyes (who'd defeated Dempsey 7-4), and in a re-match, Abel Barriento. She completed her winning campaign with a 10-6 win over Hagan in the finals.

Ignacio and Robideau win Predator Open-Pro/Amateur events

In addition to victories at the pool table, Jeffrey Ignacio has been chalking up some Frequent Flyer Miles. He began the year with a victory in the Predator Tour's season opener, defeating Earl Strickland twice to claim the title. He flew to California, where he defeated Oscar Dominguez in the finals of the Chuck Markulis Memorial Tournament, and a day later, opened a campaign that resulted in a finals victory over Skyler Woodward in the US Bar Box 10-Ball Championships in Reno, NV. He came back to New York to compete in the Predator Tour's $500-added Open/Pro event again on the weekend of February 28-March 1, and went undefeated through a short field of seven entrants to claim his second Predator Tour Open/Pro title.
In a concurrently-run, $500-added Amateur event that drew 41 entrants, Bud Robideau came back from a defeat in the hot seat match to defeat Carl Yusuf Khan. The events were hosted by the Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY.
In the Open/Pro event, Ignacio got into the hot seat match against Tour Director Tony Robles. Ignacio had defeated Eugene Ok 7-2, while Robles was sending Lee Kang to the losers' bracket 7-5. Ignacio claimed the hot seat in a double hill battle against Robles.
On the loss side, Kang picked up Michael Wong, who'd been awarded a loss-side bye. Ok drew Elvis Rodriguez, who'd eliminated Bob Schlott 7-2. Kang, down 6-3 against Wong, came back to tie it and win, while Rodriguez was busy defeating Ok 7-4. Kang took the quarterfinal match against Rodriguez by the same score and then smoked Robles 7-1 in the semifinals. Ignacio, though, ended Kang's loss-side streak with a 9-6 win in the finals.
In the Amateur event, Robideau and the "Warrior" (Khan) met first in the hot seat, once Robideau had defeated Joe Gibbons 7-5 and Khan had sent Ron Mason west 7-3. Khan took the first of two against Robideau 7-2.
On the loss side, Gibbons picked up Chris Brooks, who'd defeated Darren Schmidt 8-5 and Jamiyl Adams 7-5. Mason drew Steve Wright, who'd gotten by Vinnie Santiago 7-3 and Dave Shlemperis 7-2. Brooks eliminated Gibbons 7-2 and Mason survived a double hill battle versus Wright.
Brooks then eliminated Mason 7-4 in the quarterfinals, before himself being eliminated by Robideau in the semifinals, double hill. Robideau came out gunning in the finals against Khan and reached the hill, five games ahead. Khan battle to tie things up and force a case game, but Robideau won that last battle to claim the Amateur title.
Tour director Tony Robles thanked the ownership and staff of the Cue Bar, as well as sponsors Predator Cues, Ozone Billiards, TheDeVito,, Gotham City Technologies, NYCGrind,, and

Krah and Abraham split top prizes on Mezz Pro/Am

Last week (February 15), on the Mezz Pro Am Tour, Michael Wong, in the hot seat, split the top two prizes with Matt Krah. This week (Sunday, February 22), Krah, in the hot seat, split the top two prizes with Eddie Abraham at the $1,000-added event that drew 32 entrants to Drexeline Billiards in Drexel Hill, PA. 
Unlike the week prior, during which the potential finalists had not met in a match, Krah and Abraham squared off to claim the hot seat. Abraham had sent last week's winner, Wong, to the losers' bracket, as Krah was doing the same to Mark Nanashee; both 7-5. Krah claimed the hot seat 7-4.
On the losers' side, Wong picked up Adam Kielar, who'd been defeated in the second round of winners' side play by Abraham and was in the midst of a five-match, loss-side winning streak that included  6-3 and 6-4 wins over Mike Saleh and Dustin Olsen. Nanashee drew Raphael Saldana, who'd eliminated Rob Hontz 6-4 and Vinne Cimarelli 6-2 to reach him.
Saldana handed Nanashee his second loss 6-2, as Kielar finished Wong 6-1. Kielar then downed Saldana 6-4 in the quarterfinals to earn himself a rematch against Abraham. Abraham downed Kielar a second time, 6-4, in the semifinals, before he and Krah opted out of playing a final match and chose to split the top two prizes.