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Cha double-dips Goberdhan to win 25th Predator Tri-State Invitational

John Leyman, Henry Cha, Dan Cintron, Jason Goberdhan and Todd Fleitman

Since he first began showing up on the tri-state New York area’s payout lists two years ago, Henry Cha has been making steady progress, earning a little more each year since then. He earned more in 2021 than he did in 2020 (which, full disclosure and thanks to Covid, pretty much everybody did) and now, midway through 2022, he’s already surpassed last year’s earnings. He won his first Predator Tri-State Tour stop in back in March and this past weekend, (June 25-26), he chalked up his second Predator Tri-State win, coming from the loss side to down Jason Goberdhan twice in the true double elimination final of the tour’s $3,800-added, 25th Invitational Tournament. The annual event, which signals the end of one tour season and the start of another (in this case, ‘20/’21 to ‘21/’22) drew 63 entrants to Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY. 

Cha’s trip went through Lidio Ramirez, Raymond Lee and Julian Tierney to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal versus Mike Pruitt. Goberdhan, in the meantime, downed Nick Persaud, Jay Chiu, Nick Torraca and Anil Dhenraj to face Linda Cheung in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Cha got into the hot seat match with a 7-3 win over Pruitt and was joined by Goberdhan, who sent Cheung to the loss side, double hill. Goberdhan, looking for his first win on the tour since four days before Christmas last year, claimed the hot seat 7-5 in what would prove to be his last win of the weekend.

On the loss side, Jaydev Zaveri, who’d lost his second round, winners’ side match to Tierney and then got by Hunter Sullivan and Basdeo Sookhai in the first money round, got a second shot at Tierney. They battled to double hill before Zaveri advanced to defeat Frank Rodriguez, also double hill, and drew Mike Pruitt, just over from the winners’ side. Chueng arrived on the loss side to draw a rematch against KC Clayton, whom she’d defeated in a winners’ side quarterfinal and who’d gone on to defeat Marc Lamberti 6-4 and Anil Dhenraj 6-3.

Zaveri defeated Pruitt 7-4 and in the quarterfinals, faced Cheung, who’d eliminated Clayton, double hill. Zaveri ended Cheung’s run 9-7 in those quarterfinals. 

Zaveri’s run ended immediately thereafter. Cha defeated him 7-5 for a second and necessary third shot at Goberdhan in the hot seat. Cha took both sets of the true double elimination final 8-5 to claim the Predator Tri-State 25th Invitational Tournament. In addition to the prize money they earned, Cha took home a Predator Cue, while Goberdhan and Zaveri each were awarded a Poison Break Cue. 

Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Steinway Billiards for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor Predator Cues, Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui Tips, Phil Capelle, Pool & Billiards, Professor Q Ball, Bender Cues, Paul Dayton Cues, Bloodworth Ball Cleaner, Joe Romer Trophies and Quick Slick. The next stop on the Predator Tri-State Tour scheduled for the Saturday, July 30, will be a $500-added, A-B-C-D 10-ball event, hosted by Clifton Billiards in Clifton, NJ. 

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Francisco comes from the loss side, again, to win his first on Predator Tri-State Tour

John Francisco & Carlos Duque

Four years ago, during a stop on Tony Robles’ Predator Pro Am Tour at Amsterdam Billiards, New York’s John Francisco, in the midst of what is still his best recorded earnings year (2108), was sent to the loss side in a winners’ side quarterfinal and came back to face and defeat in the finals, the man who’d sent him there, Ehmunrao Toocaram. It was Francisco’s first recorded win and this past weekend (May 21-22), he chalked up his second, this time on the Predator Tri-State Tour. He once again took a loss-side route to the winners’ circle, although it was a considerably shorter route than the one he’d taken in 2018. The $1,000-added event drew 33 entrants to Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY.

Francisco made it to the hot seat match in this event, his first (that we know about) since 2017, when he was denied the hot seat and eliminated in the finals of a stop on the Tri-State Tour. He duplicated all but the last step of that end-game maneuver this time out. He got by Kevin Shin and Abel Rosario to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal versus Jason Goberdhan. In the meantime, his eventual hot seat and final opponent, Carlos Duque navigated his way through Brian Schell (double hill), Amanda Andries and Tom Crane to arrive at his winners’ side semifinal matchup with Mike Pruitt. 

Francisco moved into the hot seat on the heels of a 7-4 victory over Goberdhan and was joined by Duque, who survived his second double hill match, against Pruitt. Duque took a commanding lead in the hot seat match and held on to it, sending Francisco to the semifinals 8-3.

On the loss side, Goberdhan picked up Adrian Daniel, who’d eliminated Thomas Schreiber 7-4 and survived a double hill match against Jaydev Zaveri, to reach him. Pruitt drew Euryel Castillo, who’d knocked out Bob Toomey 7-1 and Tom Crane 9-5.

Daniel gave up only a single rack to Goberdhan and advanced to the quarterfinals. Pruitt and Castillo battled to double hill before Pruitt advanced to join Daniel. In a somewhat surprising turn of events, Daniel advanced to the semifinals after shutting Pruitt out. Francisco came within two racks of doing the same to Daniel in the semifinals, earning himself a second shot at Duque with a 7-2 win.

In the extended-race final, Francisco reached his ‘magic number,’ extending the race to 8. In the end, it proved to be a double hill battle for the title, with Francisco winning it 8-7. 

Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Cue Bar, as well as title sponsor Predator, Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui Tips, Phil Capelle, Pool & Billiards, Professor Q Ball, Bender Cues, Paul Dayton Cues, Bloodworth Ball Cleaner, Joe Romer Trophies and Quick Slick. The next stop on the Predator Tri-State Tour, scheduled for Memorial Day weekend (May 28-30), will be the $2,000-added, 10th Annual George “Ginky” Sansouci Memorial, hosted by Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY. 

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Goberdhan goes undefeated to claim his first Predator Tri-State title in two years

Jason Goberdhan and Mike Pruitt

He got in just under the wire, chalking up an undefeated run on the Predator Tri-State Tour’s final stop of the year this past weekend (Sat., Dec. 18). Jason Goberdhan first appeared on our ‘radar’ (aka AZBilliards’ database) in 2018, cashing in nine events; eight of them on the former Predator Pro Am Tour and one on the Tri-State Tour. He progressed to cash in 13 events the following year, his best-recorded-earnings year so far; six each on the Tri-State and Predator Pro Am Tour and one combination of the two – The 9th Annual Ginky Memorial. His average place-finish in those 13 events was a solid 7th, and he won a stop on each of the tours that year.

Goberdhan was able to record only three cash finishes in 2020, the last of them on March 8, when he finished 4th at a Tri-State stop. By the time he and a good deal of the Tri-State New York area’s pool community came back with any regularity to the tables in 2021, the Predator Pro Am Tour was no longer in existence and the Tri-State Tour had picked up the sponsor to become the Predator Tri-State Tour. Goberdhan returned and competed three times on the tour, before chalking up his first cash finish this past weekend at the $1,000-added event that drew 25 entrants to Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY.

In his undefeated run through the field, Goberdhan ended up facing five of the eight competitors who finished in the money. He got by Brandonne Alli in the opening round, and then defeated those five, in a row, to claim the title. Victories over Paolo Valverde and Ricardo Rodriguez brought him to a winners’ side semifinal match against Bianca Martinez. Mike Pruitt, destined to be runner-up, didn’t see any of the event’s final eight until he came up against Luis Jimenez in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Jimenez sent Pruitt to the loss side 7-5 and was joined in the hot seat match by Goberdhan, who’d defeated Martinez 6-3. Goberdhan, who, as a C+ player on the tour, began the hot seat match with two ‘beads on the wire,’ sent the B+ Jimenez off to a rematch against Pruitt in the semifinals and claimed the hot seat 7-2.

On the loss side, Pruitt picked up Solomon Brown, who’d lost his opening round match versus Max Watanabe and was in the midst of a five-match, loss-side winning streak that was about to come to an end. Brown (B+) had recently navigated a successful rematch against Watanabe (A+) 7-1 and then eliminated Paolo Valverde 7-3. Martinez forfeited out of her scheduled first match on the loss side of the bracket to Linda Cheung, who followed victories over Tom Crane, double hill and Roberto Rodriguez 6-1 and leapfrogged into the quarterfinals. Pruitt joined her after eliminating Brown 7-5.

The D+ Linda Cheung battled the B Mike Pruitt to a double hill final game in those quarterfinals before Pruitt prevailed to earn his rematch against Jimenez. The semifinal proved to be a successful rematch for Pruitt, who won it 7-5 over Jimenez for a shot against Goberdhan in the finals.

Each of the finalists had something at stake. Goberdhan was looking for his first win in two years, but Pruitt, who’d already accomplished his highest finish on the tour by just being in the finals, was looking to claim his first event title. The double hill battle that ensued as a result came as no surprise. They each chalked up six racks in the contest, but Goberdhan began with one ‘bead on the wire,’ so when he finished his sixth rack, it was over.

Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Steinway Billiards, as well as title sponsor Predator Cues, Ozone Billiards, Sterling Billiards, Kamui, Quick Stik, Bloodworth Ball Cleaner, Joe Romer Trophies, Phil Capelle Publications and Pool and Billiards. The Predator Tri-State Tour will be back at Clifton Billiards in Clifton, NJ for its next stop, scheduled for January 22.