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Schreiber goes through short Tri-State field undefeated

Shivam Gupta, Thomas Schreiber and Jaydev Zaveri

Thomas Schreiber and Shivam Gupta battled twice during the January 30-31 stop on the Tri-State Tour. Schreiber won them both to claim title to the $380-added event that drew 18 entrants to the Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY.
They met first in the hot seat match. Schreiber had sent Nelson Iocalano to the loss side 8-5 in one winners' side semifinal as Gupta was sending Eugene Ok over, 7-3 in the other. Schreiber moved into the hot seat with a 7-2 victory and waited for Gupta to get back from the semifinals.
Over on the loss side, Iocalano picked up Jaydev Zaveri, who'd just defeated Alberto Sanchez 8-5. Ok drew Kevin Shin, who'd gotten by Nigel Francis in a double hill fight. Shin picked up a forfeit victory when Ok had to leave unexpectedly. Zaveri, in the meantime, defeated Iocalano 7-5.
Zaveri downed Shin 7-3 in the quarterfinals, and though he'd battle to double hill in the semifinals versus Gupta, Gupta hung on to win for a second shot at Schreiber. 
Schreiber opened the final proceedings with three straight racks. Gupta responded with three of his own. Schreiber went one better, chalking up four straight to win it and the event title, 7-3.
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at the Cue Bar, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui Tips, Ron Vitello, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, Human Kinetics, and Bloodworth Ball Cleaners. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for Saturday, February 13, will be hosted by Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY.

Corona wins second straight Tri-State stop

Tony Ignomirello, Michael Corona and Mike Esposito

Michael Corona capped his first victory on the Tri-State Tour on the weekend of August 29-30, with a second victory, one week later, on Saturday, September 5. Having tried the 'loss side' route to the winners' circle the week before, he opted for the more direct, shorter and undefeated route the second time around. The $1,000-added event drew 24 entrants to Cue Bar & Billiards in Bayside (Queens), NY.
Following victories over Lidio Ramierez and Gene Ok, Corona moved into a winners' side semifinal against Steve Kaminow. His eventual hot seat and finals opponent, Mike Esposito, in the meantime, squared off against Tony Ignomirello. Two double hill matches with Corona and Esposito emerging from the both to meet in the hot seat match. Corona got out ahead in this one and claimed the hot seat 7-3.
On the loss side, Ignomirello picked up Michael Strassberg, who'd defeated Marvin Phisitkraiyakosn 6-4 and Thomas Schreiber 7-4, to reach him. Kaminow drew Nigel Francis, who'd gotten by Phillip Pierce 7-4 and Chumreon Sutcharitakul 7-5.
Tony "Iggy" downed Strassberg 6-5, and, in the quarterfinals, faced Francis, who'd handed Kaminow his second straight loss 7-3. "Iggy" took the quarterfinal match over Francis, double hill, but was then, himself eliminated, double hill, by Esposito in the semifinals.
Esposito took the opening two racks of the finals, but Corona came right back to tie. Corona took the fifth rack, establishing a lead he'd never relinquish and would expand to four games by the end. Esposito chalked up his third and last rack to draw within one at 4-3, and Corona finished with three racks.
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Cue Bar & Billiards, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui Tips, Ron Vitello, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, Human Kinetics, and Bloodworth Ball Cleaners. The next Tri-State event, scheduled for Sunday, September 13, will be hosted by Steinway Cafe & Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY.

Rodriguez goes undefeated through short field at 7th Annual Empire State Championships

It was an unusually short field that competed this year in the 7th Annual Empire State 10-Ball Championships, held under the auspices of Tony Robles' Predator Tour. Run in conjunction with an Amateur 9-Ball event (separate story), the Open/Pro field has not been extensive over the past couple of years, drawing 25 in both 2013 and 2014. The 2015 field of 16, though, was affected by, among other things, the US Bar Box Championships out in Vegas, which drew the 2013 Empire State Champion and 2014 participant, Jayson Shaw, as well as other potential competitors like Jeremy Sossei and Sean "Alaska" Morgan.
This year's $1,000-added event, hosted again by Raxx Billiards in West Hempstead, NY, was won by Jorge Rodriguez, who went undefeated through the short field. After defeating tour and event director Tony Robles in a double hill, winners' side semifinal, Rodriguez met up with Mhet Vergara, who'd just defeated Koka Davladze 7-5. Rodriguez took command of the hot seat 7-2 over Vergara and waited on what turned out to be the return of Raphael Dabreo.
On the loss side, there was a rather furious effort to advance, as three out of the four matches that determined the four-way tie for ninth place went double hill. Ultimately advancing were Chris Derewonski (in the only non-double hill match, 7-5) over Victor Nau, DaBreo over youngster Thomas Rice, Nigel Francis over Holden Chin (owner of Raxx) and Joey Korsiak over Laszlo Kovacs.
DaBreo subsequently defeated Derewonski 7-3 to hook up with Davladze. Francis eliminated Korsiak and picked up Robles. DaBreo kept his loss-side streak going with a 7-5 win over Davladze, while Robles defeated Francis 7-1. 
DaBreo then played what Robles described as "the set of his life against (him)" in the quarterfinals. DaBreo defeated Robles 7-2 and advanced to a semifinal match against Vergara. A 7-5 victory there, gave DaBreo a shot against Rodriguez. Rodriguez, however, was not to be denied, as he went on to defeat Dabreo 9-7 and claim the Empire State Championship title.

Mendoza and Kaba win Predator Amateur/Open-Pro stops

Juan Guzman, Roberto Mendoza, Joei Huang & Dan Faraguna

Roberto Mendoza went undefeated to capture the Amateur title on the November 8-9 stop on the Predator Tour, while Spanky Kaba took first in the concurrently-run Open/Pro event. The $500-added Open/Pro tournament drew 10 entrants to the Cue Bar in Bayside, Queens, NY. The $500-added Amateur event drew 42.
It was Mendoza and Joei Huang who ended up squaring off in the battle for the hot seat in the Amateur event. Mendoza had defeated Efrain Torres 7-3, while Huang sent Naldo Troncoso to the losers' bracket 7-4. Mendoza then sent Huang to the semifinals and waited on his return.
On the loss side, Juan Guzman was working on an eight-match winning streak that would get him to the semifinals. His fifth against Nigel Francis, double hill, and sixth, versus Annie Flores 7-4, set him up to face Torres. Troncoso picked up Dan Faraguna, who'd defeated Joe Wilson Torres, double hill, and Ray Feliciano 7-4 to reach him.
Guzman picked up a forfeit victory over Torres and in the quarterfinals, faced Faraguna, who'd eliminated Trancoso 7-5. Guzman completed his loss-side run with an 8-3 win over Faraguna, and was eliminated by Huang in the semifinals 8-6. Mendoza completed his undefeated run with a double hill win over Huang in the finals.
In the short field Open/Pro event, Spanky Kaba came from the loss side to down Frankie Hernandez in the finals. Kaba had come within a game of advancing to the hot seat match against Hernandez, but it was Ray Lee prevailing, while Hernandez was busy downing Hunter Lombardo 7-5. Hernandez took the hot seat match 7-3 over Lee.
On the loss side, Kaba drew Lee Kang who'd survived two straight double hill matches, against Mhet Vergara and Michael Yednak. Lombardo drew Tony Robles, who'd picked up a bye and defeated Eugene Ok, 7-1. Kaba finished Kang's day 7-5, and in the quarterfinals, met up with Robles, who'd eliminated Lombardo 7-3.
Kaba gave up only a single rack defeating Robles in the quarterfinals, and then, in the semifinals,  locked up in his second double hill fight against Ray Lee. This time, though, Kaba came out on top and then won yet another double hill match, defeating Hernandez in the finals to capture the event title.

Sossei wins shortened finals match on Predator Open/Pro against Jorge Rodriguez

Jeremy Sossei

Jeremy Sossei went undefeated through a field of 18 Open/Pro competitors on the September 13-14 stop on the Predator Tour. Sossei split the top two prizes with Jorge Rodriguez, as the two agreed to a shortened final match, won by Sossei. The $500-added event was hosted by Steinway Billiards in  Astoria (Queens), NY, along with a concurrently-run, $500-added Amateur event (separate story).
Sossei and Rodriguez met twice in the Open/Pro event; once, in the second round, in a double hill battle that advanced Sossei, and again in the shortened finals. Sossei moved on to winners' side semifinal against Jonathan Smith. Chris Derewonski and Hunter Lombardo squared off in the other. Sossei sent Smith to the losers' bracket 7-3 and in the hot seat match, faced Derewonski, who'd defeated Lombardo 7-5. Sossei defeated Derewonski 7-5 and waited on Rodriguez.
On the loss side, Rodriguez began his six-match, loss-side trip to the finals with a shutout over teenager Zhi Ting Wu, who had just battled Shane Van Boening to double hill before giving way.
"That's probably what led Jorge to come on so strong against her," said TD Tony Robles.
 Rodriguez went on to survive a double hill fight against Nigel Francis, and then eliminate Robles 7-3, to pick up Smith. Lombardo drew Jayson Shaw, who'd eliminated Shane Van Boening and Zion Zvi, both 7-3. Zvi had been responsible for ending Strickland's day, just ahead of his own demise at the hands of Shaw.
Lombardo and Smith picked up their second straight loss; Lombardo falling to Shaw in a double hill match, and Smith being dominated by Rodriguez 7-1. Rodriguez locked up with Shaw in his third double hill fight, and defeated him for a shot against Derewonski in the semifinals. Rodriguez finished Derewonski's day 7-4.
It was at this point that Rodriguez and Sossei agreed to a split of the top prizes and agreed to play a shortened, race-to-5 final. Sossei won that 5-3 to claim the event title.

Shaw goes undefeated on Predator Pro stop; Derewonski comes from loss side to take Amateur

Jayson Shaw

Jayson Shaw only had to win three matches to claim the Predator Open/Pro title at stake during the tour's September 6-7 stop at The Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY. Chris Derewonski, working the Amateur side of things, had to win twice that (and then some) to claim the amateur title. The $1,000-added ($500 each) events drew 53 entrants – eight to the Open/Pro, and 45 to the amateur event.
A victory in the opening match put Shaw into a winners' side semifinal against tour director Tony Robles. Jeremy Sossei faced Frankie Hernandez in the other. Shaw and Sossei moved into the hot seat match after identical 8-3 wins over Robles and Hernandez. Shaw took the winners' side final 8-6 and waited on what turned out to be the return of Hernandez. 
On the loss side, battling for 7th/8th, Nigel Francis and Jerry Tarantola defeated Eugene Ok and Jonathan Russell, both 8-1. Francis and Tarantola were then eliminated by Robles and Hernandez by the same 8-2 score. Hernandez then shut out Robles in the quarterfinals and got a second shot at Sossei in the (1st money round) semifinals. They battled to double hill before Hernandez prevailed for a chance against Shaw. Shaw completed his short, undefeated run with an 8-3 victory in the finals.
In the Amateur event, eventual winner, Chris Derewonski made it to the winners' side final four, before being sent to the losers' bracket 7-5 by Alex Osipov. By the same score, Kyle Bubet defeated Ron Mason in the other winners' side semifinal. Another 7-5 win put Bubet in the hot seat, and sent Osipov to the semifinals.
On the loss side, Derewonski began his trip back against Brooke Meyer, who'd defeated Brian Russell 7-1 and Junior Sanchez 7-4 to reach him. Mason drew Paolo Valverde, who'd gotten by Tony Ignomirello 7-4 and Roy Lim 7-5.
Derewonski advanced to the quarterfinals 7-5 over Meyer, and met up with Valverde, who'd survived a double hill battle against Mason. Derewonski went on to defeat Valverde in the quarterfinals (10-7), and Osipov in the semifinals (8-6). He claimed his second Predator Tour title of the year by defeating Bubet 11-6 in the finals.

The Pearl wins Predator Open finale; Davis comes from the loss side to win Amateur event

Earl Strickland

Anytime Earl Strickland and Jayson Shaw get into a tournament together (and it's happening frequently, now that they're both residing together in The Big Apple), spectators are poised for fireworks. And it's a little like the anticipation of actual fireworks; no matter how many times you've seen it, you still "Ooh,' and "Ahh" at the really good explosions of color. They failed to materialize during the season finale of the Predator Tour. They both made it to the winners' side semifinals, but Wang Can sent Shaw to the loss side, from whence he would never return. Earl Strickland, though, went on to complete an undefeated run through a field of 16, on-hand for the $1,500-added event, hosted by Raxx Billiards in West Hempstead, NY.
A concurrently-run, $1,500-added Amateur event drew 64 entrants and saw Phil Davis come from the loss side and win six straight matches to defeat hot seat occupant, Stewart Warnock.
In the Open event, as Wang Can was busy sending Shaw off to what would turn out to be a second straight loss, Strickland was sending Mhet Vergara over 7-5. Strickland completed his short, three-match run to the hot seat with a 7-5 win over Can, and waited on what a few folk thought might be Shaw, but turned out to be a second meeting versus Can.
On the loss side, Shaw's undoing came immediately at the hands of Frankie Hernandez, who'd downed Chad Bowling 7-4 and Michael Yednak 7-5 to reach Shaw. Vergara picked up tour director Tony Robles, who'd gotten by room owner Holden Chin and Nigel Francis, both 7-3. 
Shaw and Vergara both went down for their second straight losses; Shaw to Hernandez 7-5, and Vergara to Robles 7-3.
Hernandez then took Robles down 7-2 in the quarterfinals. Can delivered an even more decisive victory over Hernandez in the semifinals, allowing him only a single rack in the match that sent Can back for a second shot at Strickland. They'd played 12 in the hot seat match and Strickland had come up with seven. They played 15 in the final match, and Strickland racked up nine to claim the event title.
In the Amateur event Stew Warnock sent Phil Davis to the loss side 7-5 in a winners' side final eight match and turned to face Manny Stamatakis, owner of Steinway Billiards. Rafael Ortiz, Sr., in the meantime, met up with Roberto Mendoza. Warnock and Stamatakis battled to double hill before Warnock prevailed. Ortiz, Sr. joined him in the hot seat match after a double hill fight against Mendoza. Warnock gained the hot seat 7-5, in what would prove to be his last victory.
As would happen later in the Open event, the two players making their loss-side debut were eliminated by their loss-side opponents; by the same 7-3 score as it turned out. Stamatakis was downed by Eric Grasman, who'd defeated Koka Davladze 7-5 and Meshak Daniel 8-5 to reach him. Mendoza fell to Davis, who, following his defeat at the hands of Warnock, had given up only three racks in victories over Rhys Chen (1) and Bogie Uzdejczyk (2).
Davis then dropped Grasman into fourth place 7-5 and spoiled Rafael Ortiz, Sr.'s chance for a rematch against Warnock with a 7-3 win. Davis, whose last recorded win on the Predator Tour was almost exactly two years ago, in the same location, defeated Warnock 9-4 in the finals to complete his loss-side journey and claim the event title.

See downs Robles on Predator Tour; DeBreo goes undefeated in Amateur event

Huidji See

Huidji See and Tony Robles battled twice during the $500-added Open portion of the September 21-22 Predator stop, which drew only eight entrants to the Cue Bar in Bayside, Queens. They split the two matches, but See captured the event title by winning the second one, the finals. In the concurrently-run, $500-added, A-D handicapped event, Raphael Dabreo went undefeated through a field 50 to take the top Amateur prize.
See and Robles met first in the hot seat match. Robles had sent Frankie Hernandez west 8-3, as See was busy with an 8-4 win over Dave Grau. Robles took the first of his two against See 8-4 and sat in the hot seat, awaiting his return.
Hernandez moved over to take on Adrian Daniel, who'd defeated Vikram Dasari 8-4. Grau picked up Nigel Francis, who'd gotten by Jim Yonge 8-6. Grau and Hernandez moved on to match up in the quarterfinals with identical 8-1 victories over Francis and Daniel. Hernandez took the quarterfinal 8-5, but was stopped by See in a double hill, semifinal match.
In the extended-race final, Robles need to reach 8 games, ahead of See, to chalk up an undefeated run. He almost got there. Ahead by four, and on the hill at 7-3, Robles admitted to missing numerous opportunities, which allowed See to close the gap, pass him and eventually win 10-9 to claim the event title.
As in the Open event, the Amateur finalists – Raphael DaBreo and Tony Liang – met twice; once in the battle for the hot seat and again, in the finals. Unlike the Open event, the hot seat occupant, DaBreo, won both matches to go undefeated and claim the amateur title.
DaBreo had downed Meshak Daniel 7-5, as Liang was sending Bogie Uzdejczyk west 7-1. DaBreo gave up only three racks to Liang in the hot seat match and sat in that seat, waiting for the re-match finals.
Daniel and Uzdejczyk moved west and immediately picked up their second straight loss. Daniel went down 7-5 to Tommy Hagan, who'd first defeated Silver Fret 7-2 and Rene Villalobos 7-3. Uzdejczyk fell, also 7-5, to Eric Grasman, who'd gotten by Keith Adamik and Justin Muller, both 7-4.
Hagan took the quarterfinal match against Grasman 7-4, but was eliminated by Liang 7-2 in the semifinals. DaBreo completed his undefeated run with a second victory over Liang, 7-5.

Rice, at 14, becomes youngest player to ever win a Predator event; Hatch wins short-field Open

Dennis Hatch

Thomas Rice, at 14 years of age, followed a May victory on the Tri-State Tour with a September 7-8 victory on the Predator Tour. He became the youngest player to ever win a stop on the tour, and according to tour director Tony Robles, "he was ecstatic about it." The youngster has figured in the money in eight stops on the Tri-State Tour this year, and three on the Predator Tour. This most recent, $500-added amateur event, drew 37 entrants to Mr. Cue's Billiards in Lindenhurst, NY.
On Sunday, a short field of players (8) signed on to a $500-added Open event, which was won by Dennis Hatch. Hatch, who'd finished second in the George "Ginky" Sansouci Memorial Tournament the previous week, got by Predator Tour Director Tony Robles twice to capture the event title.
From among the winners' side final four in the amateur event, with a bye and three winning matches behind him, Rice faced Asa Shaw. Victor Nau and Billy Santiago met in the other winners' side semifinal. Rice got into the hot seat match with an 8-5 victory over Shaw, and was met by Nau, who'd sent Santiago over with a double hill win.  Rice, a C+ player (soon to be a B), defeated the A+ Nau 9-7 (Rice had four beads on the wire at the start) and sat in the hot seat, awaiting the return of what turned out to be Pete Tascarella, Jr.
Tascarella, who'd been defeated by Nau in an early round, would win seven to get back to the finals. He got by Robert Gipp 7-3 and won a double hill match against Eric Grassman to draw Santiago. Shaw, coming over, met up with Keith K.llo, who'd gotten by Romeo Singh 7-4 and picked up a forfeit victory over Shawn Sookhai
Tascarella and Kallo advanced to the quarterfinals with 7-1 victories over Santiago and Shaw. Tascarella downed Kallo 7-5 and then, picked up a forfeit semifinal win over Nau. Rice, though, put an end to Tascarella's loss-side winning streak with a 9-7 win in the finals.
Hatch goes undefeated through four to win Open event
Victories in their opening match, put Dennis Hatch, Frankie Hernandez, Mark Gerel and Tony Robles among the winners' side final four in the Open event. Hatch and Robles defeated Hernandez and Gerel, respectively, both 8-3, and moved into the hot seat match. Hatch took that one 8-4 and waited for Robles to get back from the semifinals.
On the loss side, Jerry Tarantola, following an 8-2 win over Carl Yusuf Khan, picked up Gerel. Nigel Francis, who'd defeated Scott Murphy 8-5, met up with Hernandez. It was Tarantola and Hernandez meeting up in the quarterfinals, once Tarantola had eliminated Gerel 8-6 and Hernandez had downed Francis 8-5. 
Hernandez took the quarterfinal match over Tarantola 8-2, but was stopped by Robles 8-5 in the semifinals. Hatch completed his four-match run through the field of eight with an 8-3 win over Robles in the finals.