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Ten Spots Remain for USBA World Cup

Mazin Shooni (Rick Schmitz – Rixx Images)

The USBA field for the Las Vegas World Cup is rounding out. The USBA has selected Mazin Shooni, Frank Torres and Raymon Groot to participate in the tournament. With their selection, ten spots remain for USBA players. These will be determined on March 25 and 26 at two qualifying tournaments to be held in Las Vegas prior to the start of the World Cup.

Three players selected by USBA

Shooni and Torres are past USBA national champions. Groot finished second in the 2020 USBA national tournament. All three have extensive international playing experience, with Torres’ second place finish in the 1987 World Championship being the most-notable highlight. They join nine other USBA players who have been selected to play in the tournament.

Two players have been selected by Predator, the host organizer for the World Cup, as its wildcards: Pedro Piedrabuena and Hugo Patiño. Piedrabuena finished first in the 2021 USBA national tournament. Patiño is a four-time USBA national champion. The USBA had previously selected the following players based on their top-eight placement in the 2021 National tournament: Tae Kyu Lee, Young Kyu Lee, Edward Gomez, John Park, Miguel Torres, Kang Lee, and Eric Kwon.

The Las Vegas World Cup, scheduled from March 27 to April 2, 2022 at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino, is one of eight similar tournaments on the UMB calendar for 2022. Each tournament is limited to 149 players.

Ten to be determined at qualifying tournament

Pedro Piedabuena Wins 10th USBA National Championship

Tae Kyu Lee, Pedro Piedrabuena and Young Kyu Lee

Banished from the USBA nationals for the last two years because of a UMB suspension for agreeing to play in the PBA, Pedro Piedrabuena from San Diego took out his revenge on the field of US championship aspirants two months after his suspension was lifted. When the chalk dust had settled, he had secured his 10th national championship trophy. (Photo credit to Erwin Dionisio.)

Over the four days of play, Piedrabuena posted a 10-1 record, his only hiccup being a 25-14 loss to Kang Lee of New York in group play. In the knock-out phase, the southern California cue wizard bested local player Sang Jin Lee 40 to 9 in 14 innings (2.857) and three-time champion Miguel Torres 40 to 14 in 15 (2.667). In the semi-finals, the play was slower and more conservative, with Piedrabuena defeating Edward Gomez 40 to 17 in 36 (1.111). Catching a second wind, Piedrabuena put on a dazzling display of shots and position play in a decisive victory over Tae Kyu Lee, the 2020 National Champion. The game was tight at 25-24 in 10 innings, but Lee’s hope at defending his crown ended when his opponent calmly ran 11 and 4 in consecutive innings. The San Diegan closed out the game in 15 innings (2.667 to 1.667).

Tae Kyu Lee’s route to the finals was rockier. He advanced from group play with a 4 and 3 record, finishing third behind John Park of Houston and Jong Min Lee from New Jersey. His grand average was but 0.798, much below his usual standard. His struggles with the tables continued in the round of 16 with a 40 to 21 victory in 40 innings (1.000) over Hernan Patarroyo of Miami and in the quarter finals with a 40 to 18 victory over Eric Kwon of New York in 42 innings (0.952). For his semi-final opponent, Tae Kyu Lee faced his older brother, Young Kyu Lee. His older brother proved a tough opponent, but the younger of the siblings survived the defensive struggle, 40 to 37 in 44 innings (0.909) and Tae moved on. In the ultimate match, the defending title holder finally found his form. Not willing to let his crown be taken without a fight, the New Yorker was able to match Piedrabuena for 10 innings, but ultimately could not keep up the pace of billiards.

For his efforts, Piedrabuena received a $4,000 prize and an invitation to the World Games in Birmingham, Alabama next July. Piedrabuena also won prizes for longest run (18) and best game (2.857) in the knock-out phase. Tae Kyu pocketed $3,000 in a losing effort. Young Kyu Lee finished third, besting Gomez 30 to 26 in 30 (1.000) and earning $2,000. John Park from Houston secured fifth place with a 30 to 22 victory in 25 over Torres, now living in South Carolina (1.200). Seventh place went to Kang Lee, who topped Eric Kwon 30 to 18 in 42 innings (0.714).

Prizes were also awarded for the best game and high run in the preliminary rounds. Hugo Patino, who made the round of 16, had the best game in the preliminary rounds, 25 to 3 over Raymond Groot in 8 trips to the table (3.125). Three players, Patino, Carlos Mario Villegas, and Sun Shin tied for high run, each tallying 12.

This article was first published on USBA.net

Piedrabuena Over Patino at Silver Cup 3-Cushion Event

Hugo Patino and Pedro Piedrabuena

The Silver Cup in Huntington Park was captured by Pedro Piedrabuena. He beat his eternal rival Hugo Patino in a one-sided final: 35-15 in 18, to defend his 2019 title. 

We should not assume that Pedro always wins. Hugo has four national titles, and he has beaten Pedro many times. But it is the quiet man from Montevideo, now San Diego, who has the much better all-year general average, the precision, the temperament. And nine national USA titles, let’s not forget. Pedro is the strongest 3-cushion player on the continent, has been ever since he took over from the legendary Sang Chun Lee, and he’s not about to step down. 

Ricky Carranco and Raymon Groot were the losing semifinalists, Groot eventually winning the play-off for 3d place. The Dutchie booked a character win over the very dangerous Harry Pena in the quarters. Pena did play the best match of the tournament: 35 in 12. Groot left some chances unused against Piedrabuena, Carranco, tournament director as well as player, found his Waterloo against Patino. 

It was remarkable to see how many matches went to the wire, or “hill-hill” as the pool players would say. Even though handicaps were used (35 – 32 – 29 – 27 – 25 – 22), all the strongest players survived the group stage to create a high-quality final day. If anything was obvious, it was that players as well as spectators had been dying for this kind of action in the past year and a half. 

 The tournament was partly in honor of the recently deceased Luis Avila from Mexico, a top player who often participated in events on US soil. Kudos to Vicke Pineda, Hector Ocampo, Ricky Carranco, POV Pool and others to make a 72-player event possible.   

Tiger Silver Cup 3-Cushion Event Underway

Day one of four of the 2021 Tiger Silver Cup has commenced at Vicke Pineda’s Silver Cue-Billiards in Huntington Park California. With a powerhouse field of 72 players in attendance, the event was originally scheduled for only 50 players to compete in a ‘tiered entry fee’ event ranging from $365-$125 (based on skill level). The event earned responses from 79 willing competitors and was re-capped by tournament director, Ricky Carranco just prior to last night’s player meeting and flight draw. A wide range of talent consisting of both US and Pan-American champions have flocked from all corners of the Americas to battle it out on nine  10 foot Verhoevens, maintained by the renowned table mechanic, Insoo Park.

The overwhelming support for the two promoters, Ricky and Vicke, shows an enduring strength of the sport of Three-Cushion Billiards in America, with the Tiger Products sponsored event boasting a star studded field of familiar names, defending 2019 ‘Cup’ recipient and champion, Pedro Piedrabuena, New York’s, Hugo Patino, former USBA president and founder of 3 CushionUSA’s, Mazin Shooni; Pan-American and Mexican Champions include, Javier Vera, Guillermo Sosa, Luis Aviega to name a few. Additional surprises are expected with names like Gilbert Najm, Raymond Groot, John Park, Stan Lee, Kevin Pham, Carlos Cruz and also the tournament promoters themselves (Ricky/Vicke) should cause a stir during these upcoming prelim rounds. 

This year’s tournament format will consist of three days of preliminary rounds (May 13-15), 12 flights of 6 players each competing in ‘round robin’ to 35 points, followed immediately by a single elimination, final bracket of the top 12 or the winner from each group. The event will also be slightly seeded, issuing a ‘bye’ to the top player of each group.

This event is scheduled to be live streamed by Daniel Busch and Point Of View Pool Media at POVPOOL on YouTube, however due to some technical issues there is a possibility that the broadcast might migrate to Facebook Live instead. Please stay tuned for more news and updates on this as they develop.

Also, in a surprise announcement, Vicke Pineda has decided to raise additional funds for the family of the dearly departed Luis Miguel Avila, donating $1,000 of a $3,000 in-house cue raffle at the event and redirecting another $1,000 to the prize fund of the event, making this year’s Cup event; $4,000 added!

The Best in The World Meet in New York

The USBA has partnered with Kozoom to broadcast matches live at the Verhoeven Open Tournament to be held at Carom Café in Flushing, New York from July 16 to 20.

Kozoom is the leading live streaming presence on the Internet for billiards. In addition to broadcasting the World Cup tournaments and the World Championship. Kozoom also live streams various European tournaments throughout the year. Its Website (www.kozoom.com) is the premier Carom site on the web with an extensive library of videos, a latest news section, a store, a chat room and an instructional feature.


According to USBA President Andrew Janquitto, helping Kozoom come to the United States to feature the summer International tournament at Carom Café was a "win-win." The summer tournament at Carom Café, Janquitto explained, is the premier billiard event in America, surpassing in many minds even the USBA National Championship. "The Carom Café tournament brings the best players from around the world," Janquitto said, and "gives US players the chance to play against world ranked opponents. Having Kozoom there to broadcast the event helps promote billiards in the United States and gives Kozoom the opportunity to introduce its product to the American market."


The Verhoeven Open will feature the likes of Torbjörn Blomdahl and Frederic Caudron, currently ranked 1st and 2nd in the world, respectively. They will be joined by Eddie Merckx (No. 5), Roland Forthomme (No. 20) and Eddie Leppens (No. 21) as well as many other players from Europe and America. Returning for the United States will be six time and current US National Champion Pedro Piedrabuena who triumphed against Torbjörn Blomdahl in this same event in 2012. Expect to see some well-fought battles as the top US players including former champions Mazin Shooni and Hugo Patino vie to make their mark on this International group.


Immediately before the Verhoeven Open, a women's tournament will be held featuring, among others, current world champ Natsumi Higashiuchi, former world champ Orie Hida, Therese Klompenhouwer (whom many consider the best player), and always dangerous Karina Jetten. Some of these players may also play in the men's open tournament as well.


For more information about the Verhoeven Open Tournament and many other three cushion events here in the US, check out the USBA Tournament Calendar.