Archive Page

DaBreo comes back from opening-round loss to win AH Tournament event in Port St. Lucie

Raphael Dabreo

Raphael DaBreo and Miguel Laboy were getting a little bored, sitting around the New York City’s Tri-State area, waiting for the state’s governor and/or the city’s mayor to loosen pandemic restrictions to the level where pool play was possible. They heard about a tournament in Port St. Lucie on the last weekend in January, which, with an apparent storm on the way where they were, and $90 round-trip flights available, seemed like a cool (make that ‘warm’) idea.

Down they flew.

They walked into Shooter’s Billiards in Port St. Lucie, signed on with 60 other competitors and promptly lost their opening matches, both of which went double hill; Laboy lost to Chris Filippelli and DaBreo fell to Anthony Meglino. Though privately asking themselves whether boredom in a snowstorm might have been a better idea, they both persevered, because after all, pool is better than no-pool. 

Laboy lasted until the third loss-side round. DaBreo ended up winning 10 on the loss side, which translated into a rematch against Meglino in the finals. DaBreo won the single race to 9 and claimed the event title. It was the first of a planned Bi-Annual event, held under the auspices of AH Tournaments, which drew its 62 entrants to Shooter’s Billiards in Port St. Lucie, FL.

As it happened, come Tuesday morning, Feb. 2, DaBreo and Laboy were still there.

“On Saturday,” said DaBreo, “I got a message from the airline that we’d have to re-schedule because of the snowstorm up there. Wednesday was the first available flight.”

Though prompted by inexpensive flights and a current, general lack of tournaments in their area, DaBreo has found himself in a situation with a 715 Fargo Rate that’s beginning to edge him out of the amateur tournaments that are the backbone of a lot of NYC-area pool events.

“There are not a whole lot of tournaments that I’m allowed to play in anymore up there,” he said, when asked what (beyond the obvious) had prompted a 1,200-mile trip to Florida. “And there’s not much going on in New York, anyway. The way the city is implementing its (pandemic protocols), in terms of distancing and cleaning tables and balls, there are a lot of restrictions and if they catch you in a violation, they can just shut you down.” 

It’s been a little more than just that, he went on to say. His participation in tournaments has also been affected by his new role as general manager of New City Billiards in Queens, NY and his regular job in construction and home restoration.

He and Laboy had come down to Florida last November to compete in the first Meucci Classic, both of them; 9-ball and 10-ball. Laboy had finished third in the 9-Ball and out of the money in the 10-ball tournament. DaBreo had finished in the tie for 9th in both events and setting up what was going to happen in two months, had been defeated in the 9/12 matches of the 10-ball by none other than Anthony Meglino (who lasted only one more round).

One would think that given that little bit of history that DaBreo would have had a rather negative reaction upon hearing his name called in Port St. Lucie and hearing it paired with Meglino. Again. Not so, he said. Nor, for that matter, did it affect what happened next.

“It’s just about recovering early,” he said of his first-round, double hill loss to Meglino. “It’s not the first time it had ever happened to me and not likely to be the last.” 

Meanwhile, Meglino moved on, won three more against Edgar Lopez, Corey Penrod (who would move to the loss side and give DaBreo a run for his money) and Jason Sheerman to face Chris Daly in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Donny Branson, in the meantime, who’d started out with a defeat of Julia Sheerman, before defeating the competitor who’d sent Laboy to the loss side, Chris Filippelli 7-5. He then gave up a single rack to Randy Smith and none at all to Justin Jacobs and drew Sam Kantar in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Branson then gave up another stingy single rack to Kantar and advanced to the hot seat match. Meglino joined him after shutting out Daly. Meglino claimed the hot seat over Branson with his second straight shutout; a pair of victories that did not escape the attention of DaBreo, working his way back on the loss side.

“They played the hot seat match early,” he said, “so I knew it was going to be him.”

In the meantime, he was dealing with each of the match hands he’d been dealt. Six matches into his loss-side streak, he ran into Corey Penrod, who took him to the brink of elimination.

“I got to the hill first (at 6-4) and broke dry,” he recalled. “Corey ran out and then broke and ran the next rack to tie it up. Then he broke dry and left me with a jump shot. I made it and ran out to win.”

That victory set him up against Chris Daly, coming over from the winners’ side semifinal. Kantar came over to face Mike Miller, another competitor who’d lost in the opening round and was in the midst of a loss-side streak that had recently included victories over Ricky Charles 7-5 and Jason Sheerman 7-2.

Miller handed Kantar his second loss 7-2 and advanced to the quarterfinals. DaBreo joined him after eliminating Daly 7-5. Miller engaged DaBreo in his second loss-side double hill fight in those quarterfinals and almost won it. As DaBreo had been, earlier, Miller reached the hill, ahead by two, 6-4, but, said DaBreo, “he made a mistake.” DaBreo was able to cash in and advance to the semifinals. DaBreo made relatively short work of Branson in those semifinals 7-2 and 10 matches after his first against Meglino, DaBreo stepped up to Meglino to play his last.

They came within a game of double hill in the extended race-to-9, before DaBreo closed it out at 9-7 and went back to the hotel, where he knew, before he’d even finished the final match, that he’d be ‘recuperating’ for at least three days. He hadn’t given the initial loss to Meglino, nor the rematch in the finals very much thought ahead of time.

“I don’t think about stuff like that, because when you do, you start overthinking things,” he said, with that ‘been here, done this before’ attitude, so necessary in pool. “You just play the table.”

AH tour directors Alyssa and Henry Kantorski thanked the ownership and staff at Shooter’s Billiards for their hospitality. AH Tournaments will host a One Pocket event in March and their second Bi-Annual 10-Ball tournament in July. Check the AH Facebook page for further details.

Jayson Shaw goes undefeated to claim his second Ginky Memorial Pro title

Jeremy Sossei, Mike Dechaine, Jayson Shaw and Frankie Hernandez

With Jayson Shaw and Mike Dechaine in the house, there's always going to be a little buzz about a potential matchup between the two. It's something about their fiery personalities, and a sense of determination that they bring to the table when they play that makes their matches electrifying to watch. So when it happened, early at the 7th Annual George "Ginky" Sansouci Memorial Tournament's $2,000-added Pro event on Memorial Day weekend, hosted by Steinway Billiards in Queens, NY, and Dechaine went down 8-5, a little air went out of that balloon.
 
When the 44 players had been whittled down to the final 12, and the event moved into its first money round, air was getting pumped back into that balloon, because there was Dechaine, five matches away from a potential re-match in the finals. In all, Dechaine, already a two-time winner at this event (Shaw won it two years ago), would chalk up six on the loss side before running into Frankie Hernandez in the semifinals, where the streak would end, and the air went back out.
 
In its place was a balloon that inflated over two matches between Shaw and Frankie Hernandez; hot seat and finals. Shaw had sent The Iceman, Mika Immonen to the loss side 8-3 in one winners' side semifinal. In last year's Pro event, Immonen had battled twice against the eventual winner, Zion Zvi, and been beaten twice. Tony Robles, in the meantime, who, for the second year in a row, found himself in a winners' side semifinal, was beaten back by Hernandez 8-2. In their first of two, Shaw gave up only a single rack to Hernandez, claiming the hot seat 8-1 and adding a little air to the loss-side balloon that saw Dechaine move into the semifinals against Hernandez.
 
Over on the loss side, Dechaine moved into the first money round and downed Reymart Lim 8-6. He followed that with a double hill win over Tim Murray, which led to a match against Immonen, coming over from his loss to Shaw. Robles drew Jeremy Sossei, who'd gotten by Mike Miller 8-1 and Jorge Rodriguez 8-3. It made sense, though probably not to Immonen, that "Fireball" Mike Dechaine eliminated "The Iceman" Mika Immonen 8-5. Dechaine was joined in the quarterfinals by Sossei, who'd defeated Robles (for his second straight 5th/6th finish) 8-3.
 
Dechaine took the quarterfinal match 8-2 over Sossei, and turned to the last obstacle in his potential path back to a re-match against Shaw – Frankie Hernandez, in the semifinals. Being in New York, a lot of support rallied behind Hernandez, although it was doubtful that anyone watching it live at Steinway, or on the AZBTv stream (sponsored by Blatt Billiards) would have been disappointed had a finals matchup between Shaw and Dechaine materialized.
 
To Hernandez' credit, it didn't. He defeated the two-time Ginky Memorial champion, Dechaine, 8-3 and got his own second shot against Shaw. Shaw completed his undefeated run with an 11-3 victory over Hernandez in the finals.
 
Event director Tony Robles, as he is every year at this time, was demonstrably appreciative of the effort put forth by representatives from the Tri-State and Mezz Tours, as well as the ownership and staff at Steinway Billiards. In addition to thanks offered to Blatt Billiards (BlattBilliards.com) for their sponsorship of the live stream, Robles also thanked sponsors Predator Cues, Ozone Billiards, PlayNAPL.com, PoolOnTheNet.com, Cappelle (BilliardsPress.com), and the DeVito team. 
 

“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.

One-Pocket and Ladies Events at SBE

The Predator Women’s Open 9-Ball Pro Players Championship has been won by Karen Corr. In what used to be the standard final of the WPBA circuit she took on old friend and rival Allison Fisher in the finals. Fisher had reached the end of the 24-player field with victories over Adriana Villar, Suzanne Smith, Junko Tsuchiya and Brittany Bryant.

Corr reached the same spot with wins over Crystal McCormick, Borana Andoni, Dawn Hopkins and Dawn Fox. This brought the two Grand Champions of ladies pool together for the finals and when the dust cleared it was Karen Corr standing with the trophy and the $2,500 in prize money.

The One-Pocket event was taken down by Chip Compton in a surprising manner. Compton began well with victories over Lee Holt and Vincent Cimarelli but then lost to John Schmidt. He would have his shot at revenge however and after he took down Mike Miller, Sean Morgan and Joey Kong he looked at the charts and found his next opponent would gain be John Schmidt. Schmidt had lost to Joey Gray and this time Schmidt could not handle Compton.

The other finalist was Joey Gray. Gray enjoyed wins over Adam Kielar, Bill Henderson, Sean Morgan, John Schmidt and Paul Helms before suffering his only loss of the tournament to Compton in the finals. Compton won $2,000 for his efforts and Gray $1,600.

Krah and Wong share top spot on Mezz Pro-Am Tour

Matt Krah, Frankie Hernandez and Michael Wong

Michael Wong and Matt Krah opted out of a final match, and shared the championship title of the Sunday, June 23 stop on the Mezz Pro-Am Tour. The event, which drew a strong field of competitors, including Dennis Spears, Frankie Hernandez, Mike Miller, Travis McKinney and Joey Landi, was hosted by Sandcastle Billiards in Edison, NJ.
 
Krah advanced to the hot seat match with victories over Anthony Cassaro 7-3, Ed Culhane 7-3, and Dennis Spears 7-5.  Wong moved up to meet him, defeating Wali Muhammad 7-3, Travis McKinney 7-5, and Frankie Hernandez 7-2.
 
Wong pulled away late to win the hot seat battle 7-5, sending Krah to the semifinals. Waiting for Krah was Frankie Hernandez, who'd just dropped Dennis Spears into fourth place.  Krah defeated Hernandez 6-2 for a second chance against Wong, but the two decided against a final match, splitting the top prizes. 
 
Tour director Joe Burgos thanked all participating players, the owners and staff at Sandcastle Billiards, as well as sponsors Mezz Cues, Kamui Chalk, Gamblin' Clothing, Allen Hopkins Super Billiards Expo, Jab Cues & Thing, Billiard Life USA, Inside Pool Magaine, and Mike Ricciardella (RE/Max Pros) 

Maidhof undefeated for Mezz Tour win

Joey Testa, Bob Maidhof, Darren Appleton and Shaun Wilkie

The Mezz Pro-Am Tour made its way to Drexeline Billiards in Drexel Hill Pa on Sunday March 18th.  A strong field of 36 came out to play, including such notables as Darren Appleton, Shaun Wilkie, Bob Maidhof, Joey Testa, Matt Krah, Mike Miller and Adam Kielar to name a few.

Leading the top half of the bracket was Bob Maidhof with wins over Bob Burt 7-5, Mark Nanashee 7-0, Jayson Shaw 7-6, Eric Perry 7-2, and Shaun Dobson 7-5. 

Leading the bottom half of the bracket was Shaun Wilkie with wins over Matt Krah 7-1, Adam Kiear 7-1, Kenny Rutman 7-6 , and Darren Appleton 7-5.

Playing for the hot seat was Shaun Wilkie Vs Bob Maidhof. This was a one sided match with Bob Maidhof winning easily 7-1.  Waiting for Shaun Wilkie was Darren Appleton. This was a rematch from earlier that day. This was a great match that went hill hill and for the second time in the day Shaun Wilkie defeated Darren Appleton 6-5 to get to the finals.

In the finals it was Shaun Wilkie Vs Bob Maidhof, Shaun Wilkie would have to beat Bob Maidhof twice to win the event but this day belonged to Bob Maidhof as he won easily 5-1 to win the event.

I would like to thank all the players and the sponsors for their ongoing support.