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Valania and Dagotdot split top prizes at second stop on the new Mac Attack Tour

Joe Valania & Daniel Dagotdot

Well, at least now, it has an official name. With two stops in the books and one coming up this weekend, Mac Jankov’s Mac Attack Tour may still be working to establish itself in a pool community, recuperating from the losses of pool rooms and players in the tri-state New York area, but it is attracting fair numbers and recognizeable personalities to its venues. This past weekend – Sunday, September 27 – the tour drew 32 entrants to Clifton Billiards in Clifton, NJ. Joe Valania went undefeated through the field, downing Daniel Dagotdot in the hot seat match and then, by mutual agreement, opting out of a second match, in the finals, and splitting the top two prizes with him. 

Their first and only match against each other came after Dagotdot had defeated Ricky Mejia, double hill, in one of the winners’ side semifinals and Joe Valania had sent Frank Kasetta to the loss side 6-3 in the other one. They battled to an appropriate double hill, deciding game in the battle for the hot seat, before Valania prevailed.

On the loss side, Mejia picked up Kyle Manuel, who’d defeated Jimmy Conn and Erwin Jao, both 5-3, to reach him. Kasetta drew Tommy Schreiber, who’d recently defeated Juan Melendez 5-1 and survived a double hill match versus Alfredo Altamirano.

The first money round, and in fact, all of the matches up to the final that didn’t happen, featured double hill matches. In the first two of four, Schreiber handed Kasetta his second straight loss and Mejia eliminated Kyle Manuel.

The quarterfinal match that followed was won, double hill, by Schreiber over Mejia. And in what proved to be the final match of the event, the semifinals, two very familiar rivals on the New York area pool scene, Dagotdot and Schreiber, battled to double hill before Dagotdot prevailed. The agreement was reached to opt out of a final and with Valania in the hot seat, he claimed the official event title.

Tour director Mac Jankov thanked the ownership and staff at Clifton Billiards, along with all 32 participants who came out to support his efforts to re-start the pool ‘engine’ in the tri-state area. The next stop on the Mac Attack Tour, scheduled for this Sunday, October 4, will be hosted by Breakers Billiards in Clifton, NJ.

Mejia goes undefeated to win his first 2019-2020 stop on the Tri-State Tour

(l to r): Ilija Trajceski & Ricardo Mejia

He returned to the scene of the crime, so to speak. Ricardo Mejia, looking to record his first Tri-State Tour victory in just over a year, returned to the site of his last win, Clifton Billiards in Clifton, NJ. He’d chalked up the win last year, with an asterisk, when he and Rafael Alberto opted out of a final match and as the hot seat occupant, he was awarded the official event title. This year, on Sunday, September 15, he and Ilija Trajceski would play twice; once, in a winners’ side quarterfinal and then, in the finals, where Mejia would prevail and claim the title. The $1,000-added event drew 24 entrants to Clifton Billiards.
 
Mejia advanced from his first victory over Trajceski (7-4) to face Luis Jimenez in a winners’ side semifinal. Bob Toomey, in the meantime, who’d just survived a double hill match against Jeff Martinez, squared off against Mike Strassberg.
 
Mejia downed Jimenez 7-5, as Toomey, seemingly a little annoyed at his last outing, took it out on Mike Strassberg and shut him out. Mejia sent Toomey off to the semifinals 8-4 and waited in the hot seat for the return of Trajceski.
 
Over on the loss side, Trajceski had opened up with a 7-5 victory over Chris Schmidt. He followed that with another 7-5 victory over Steve Kaminow, which set him up to face Jimenez, coming over from the winners’ side semifinal. Strassberg drew Teddy Lapadula, who’d defeated Marco Daniele, double hill, and Jeff Martinez 6-2.
 
Trajceski and LaPadula advanced to the quarterfinals; Trajceski 7-4 over Jimenez and LaPadula 6-2 over Strassberg. Trajceski took the quarterfinal match 7-5 over LaPadula and then, eliminated Toomey 7-4 in the semifinals.
 
In the extended-race-to-9 finals, Mejia took an early, promising lead, before Trajceski responded and eventually got out in front 5-4. Trajceski went on to reach seven racks first, which extended the match to a race-to-9. Mejia caught up and when he reached seven racks, he broke and ran the next two to win it.
 
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Clifton Billiards for their hospitality, as well as sponsors John Bender Custom Cues, Ozone Billiards, Sterling Billiards, Kamui, Quick Slick, Billiards Digest, Liquid Shaft Cues, Joe Romer Trophies, and Phil Capelle Publications. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for Sunday, September 22, will be a $1,000-added, Double Points event, hosted by BQE Billiards in Jackson Heights (Queens), NY.

Jeziorski wins his second Tri-State title, this time without the asterisk

Bryan Jeziorski and Rick Rodriguez

According to our records, the last time Bryan Jeziorski won a stop on the Tri-State Tour, he and Ricardo Mejia split the top two prizes. The 2013 event (part of the tour’s 2012-2013 season) drew 73 entrants to Castle Billiards in East Rutherford, NJ on Saturday, Feb. 2. The field had been restricted to 64 entrants, but when tour representatives saw the number of competitors still lined up to register when they reached that number, they expanded the field to accommodate them. At 4:30 a.m. on Sunday, February 3, they were probably questioning the wisdom of that decision. In any case, Jeziorski had sent Mejia to the loss side in the third round and Mejia had won six on the loss side to face him a second time in the finals . . . that didn’t happen.
 
On Saturday, April 20, Jeziorski signed on for a Tri-State Tour stop with 29 other entrants, and though, like his previous win, the event finished up early the next day (Easter Sunday morning), this time, Jeziorski played a final; against Rick Rodriguez, as it turned out, and won it to claim his second Tri-State title. The $1,000-added event was hosted by Clifton Billiards in Clifton, NJ.
 
Jeziorski and Rodriguez almost met in the hot seat match. Jeziorski had gotten by Frank Sieczka 7-5, Yomaylin Feliz-Foreman (AKA Smiley) 7-5 and Ilija Trajceski 7-4 to draw Luis Jimenez in a winners’ side semifinal. Rodriguez, in the meantime, after victories over Jowen Pichardo 6-2, Clint Pires 6-2 and Mac Jankov 6-4, drew Mark Joseph in the other winners’ side semifinal.
 
Jeziorski advanced to the hot seat match with a 7-5 win over Jimenez. Joseph, however, sent Rodriguez to the loss side 6-3 to join Jeziorski battling for the hot seat. Jeziorski downed Joseph 7-5 and waited in the hot seat for Rodriguez to complete a three-match trip on the loss side.
 
Jimenez opened his loss-side campaign against Clint Pires, who’d defeated Sabrina Sherman 6-4 and Feliz-Forman 7-3 to reach him. Rodriguez picked up one of the tour’s top female competitors, Michelle Brotons, who’d eliminated Jeffrey Rosen 7-5 and Mac Jankov 6-2.
 
Rodriguez and Jimenez advanced to the quarterfinals; Rodriguez, surviving a double hill fight against Brotons and Jimenez, downing Spires 7-2. Rodriguez then defeated Jimenez 7-5 in those quarterfinals.
 
Rodriguez earned his spot in the finals with a strong 6-1 victory over Joseph in the semifinals. Jeziorski earned his first non-asterisk Tri-State title with a 7-4 win over Rodriguez in the finals.
 
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Clifton Billiards, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui Tips, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, Human Kinetics, Pool & Billiards, Professor Q Ball, Bender Cues, DIGICUE OB and Hustlin USA. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for Sunday, April 28, will be hosted by Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY. 

Alberto goes undefeated to win his first Tri-State Tour title

(l to r): Luis Lopez & Rafael Alberto

As far as we know, Rafael Alberto has cashed only twice on the Tri-State Tour. His first payout came when he finished as runner-up to Ricardo Mejia at Clifton Billiards this past August. His second came this past Sunday, November 11, when he went undefeated through a field of 35 to claim his first Tri-State title. The $1,000-added event was hosted by Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY.
 
Alberto had to get by Luis Lopez twice to complete his run. Lopez, who spent most of his competitive time in 2017 in Texas on the Omega Tour, and is in the midst of his best earnings year to date, was looking for his second win on the Tri-State Tour, having won his first at Steinway a month ago. The two met first in a winners’ side semifinal, as David Laggat and Mario Lozano met in the other one.
 
Laggat and Lozano battled to double hill before Laggat prevailed and advanced to the hot seat match. He was met by Alberto, who’d sent Lopez west 8-5. Alberto stepped into the hot seat when Laggat forfeited out of the match.
 
On the loss side, Lozano picked up Ricky Molital, who’d defeated Mike Strassberg 7-4 and Nick Limbertos 7-3 to reach him. Raul Calderon, who’d recently eliminated Steven Motilol and Shweta Zaveri, both 7-5, drew Lopez.
 
Lozano and Lopez advanced to the quarterfinals; Lozano, 7-4 over Motilal and Lopez, 6-3 over Calderon. Lopez took one more step to get into the finals. He defeated Lozano 7-3 in the quarterfinals, and as a result of Laggat’s forfeit out of the hot seat match, he leap-frogged over the semifinals into his rematch against Alberto.
 
Alberto defeated Lopez a second time in the finals that followed. Alberto completed his first undefeated run, captured his first Tri-State title and added to his own modest, best-earnings-year to date with a 10-8 victory.
 
Tour representatives thanked Manny Stamatakis and his Steinway staff, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui Tips, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, Human Kinetics, Pool & Billiards, Professor Q Ball, Bender Cues, and DIGICUE OB. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for Sunday, Nov. 18, will be hosted by Shooter’s Family Billiards in Wayne, NJ. 

Mejia goes undefeated to win his first Tri-State stop in four years

Rafael Alberto and Ricardo Mejia

All of Ricardo Mejia’s recorded pool tournament payouts have been on the Tri-State Tour, dating back to January, 2011 when he showed up in the AZBilliards database for the first time with a third-place finish. He’d record his best earnings year in 2013 by showing up on the payout lists of the Tri-State five times; a 2nd, a 5th and three 7th place finishes. In January of 2014, he won a stop on the tour, going undefeated through a field of 37, and finishing the tour season as the #6-ranked player in the B+ Class. On Sunday, August 5, Mejia chalked up his second Tri-State win in another undefeated performance, which did not feature a final match. He and Rafael Alberto opted out of playing a final, and as the hot seat occupant, Mejia became the official winner. The $1000-added event drew 35 entrants to Clifton Billiards in Clifton, NJ.
 
Mejia and Alberto met first in the event’s second round. Mejia prevailed and sent Alberto on a nine-match, loss-side winning streak that would eventually put him into the finals that never happened. Mejia, in the meantime, advanced through the field to draw Kevin Serodio in a winners’ side semifinal. Mike Strassberg and Sung Lee met in the other one. Mejia downed Serodio 8-6 and met up with Strassberg, who’d survived a double hill match against Lee. Mejia then claimed the hot seat 8-6 over Strassberg in what proved to be his last match.
 
On the loss side, with four notches on his loss-side belt, Alberto got by Tri Chau and Teddy Lapadula, both 7-4, to draw Serodio. Lee picked up Clint Pires, who’d defeated Jose Pereya 6-3 and Jake Kislowski 7-5 to reach him.
 
Alberto eliminated Serodio 7-4 and in the quarterfinals, faced Pires, who’d sent Lee home in a double hill win. Alberto gave up only two racks to Pires to win that quarterfinal, and finished his loss-side run with a double hill win over Strassberg in the semifinals. He and Mejia opted out of the finals (listed as an official forfeit by Alberto) and Mejia had his ‘asterisk’ second victory on the Tri-State Tour.
 
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Clifton Billiards, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui Tips, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, Human Kinetics, Pool & Billiards, Professor Q Ball, Bender Cues, and DIGICUE OB. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for Sunday, August 12, will be a C/D handicapped, $1,000-added, Double Points 8-Ball event, hosted by Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY.

Ziemak returns to the Tri-State and goes undefeated

Jose Liza Domeneche, Peter Ziemak and Tony Ignomirello

Peter Ziemak, returning to the Tri-State Tour after a brief hiatus, went undefeated to claim his first Tri-State title. He did so at the expense of Tri-State veteran, Tony Ignomirello, who had two shots at Ziemack, but fell short in both of them. The $1,000-added event drew 38 entrants to Castle Billiards in East Rutherford, NJ. 
 
It wasn't easy for either of the finalists. Ziemack survived two straight double hill battles against Mike Zimny and Borana Andoni at the outset. A slightly less nerve-wracking victory over Smiley Feliz 8-4 put Ziemack in a winners' side semifinal against Jose Liz Domeneche. "Iggy," in the meantime, had his own two opening, double hill wins, against Lisa Peloso and Eddie Perez, before defeating Bob Toomey and Jason Critelli for a seat in the winners' side semifinals, against Frank Sieczka. Ziemak chalked up a third double hill win, over Domeneche, as Ignomirello sent Sieczka west 6-4. Ziemack got into the hot seat 9-7 over Iggy, which proved to be the final match between the two.
 
Domeneche moved to the losers' bracket and met up with Smiley Feliz, who'd gotten by Eric Gasman 8-6 and Ricardo Mejia 7-3. Sieczka faced Jason Critellii, who'd defeated Dennis Kennedy 6-2 and Dave Fitzpatrick 6-4. Smiley put up a fight, forcing a deciding game, but Domeneche moved on to the quarterfinals, where he met Critelli, who'd eliminated Sieczka 6-4. 
 
The prize in Critelli's eyes was a second shot at Ignomirello, who'd sent him to the loss side, but Domeneche got to him first, winning their quarterfinal match, 7-4. Like Critelli, Domeneche had his sights set on a re-match; his, against Ziemak in the hot seat. Ignomirello stopped that from happening,  defeating Domeneche 7-4 and, in effect, ending the night's proceedings. Ziemak and Iggy opted out of a final match, splitting the top two prizes, while declaring the undefeated Ziemak as the event's official winner.
 
Tour representatives once again thanked the ownership and staff at Castle Billiards, as well as sponsors Sterling-Gaming, Ozone Billiards, Qpod, Cues, Kamui Tips, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, and Human Kinetics.
 

Farley wins his first Tri-State event at Gotham City Billiards

Michael Farley took two out of three matches over Ed Sumner, coming back from the semifinals to defeat him twice in a true double elimination final during a May 31-June 1 weekend stop on the Tri-State Tour. The $3,000-added event drew 64 entrants to Gotham City Billiards in Brooklyn, NY.
 
Farley's path to the winners' circle went through Alberto Sanchez, Erick Carrasco, Ed Lalmiu and 14-year-old Sam Hoffman, before coming up against Vagif Laekberov in a winners' side semifinal. Sumner, in the meantime, faced Trevor Heal in the other. Farley sent Alekberov to the losers' bracket 6-4, as Sumner defeated Heal 7-4. Sumner took the first of his three versus Farley 7-2 and sat in the hot seat awaiting his return.
 
Over on the loss side, following his defeat against Farley, Hoffman began his trip back to the semifinals with a shutout over Mike Harrington, and gave up only a single rack to Andrzej Kaldan, which set him up to face Alekberov. Heal drew Lidio Ramirez, who'd defeated Ricardo Mejia 7-5 and the other teenager in the mix, Thomas Rice, 7-3. Hoffman chalked up a second shutout,  this time, 6-0 over Alekberov, as Ramirez downed Heal 7-2.
 
Hoffman took the quarterfinal match over Ramirez 8-6. Farley, though, put a stop to Hoffman's four-match, 28-7, loss-side winning streak with a 7-5 win that earned him a second shot at Sumner in the hot seat.
 
Farley and Sumner traded racks to 3-3 in the opening set, before Farley edged out to a 5-3 lead. Sumner chalked up rack #9, but Farley took the next two to win the opening set 7-4. In the second set, Farley was on the hill 6-0 before Sumner recorded a game victory. Sumner took three in a row at that point, but it was too little, too late, as Farley completed his quest for a first Tri-State title with a 7th and final rack.
 
A $500-added second chance event saw Dave Shlemperis collect at $440 first-place prize.
 
Tour representatives thanked Kevin and Isabel Buckley, owners of Gotham City Billiards, for their continuing support, as well as sponsors Sterling-Gaming, Ozone Billiards, Qpod, Heptig Cues, Kamui Tips, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, and Human Kinetics. The next Tri-State event, scheduled for June 7, will be hosted by Rockaway Billiards in Rockaway, NJ.

Mejia picks up first Tri-State win, going undefeated through field of 37

Chuck Giallorenzo, Ricardo Mejia and Paul Wilkens

Ricardo Mejia got as close as runner-up last February on the Tri-State Tour. On Saturday, January 11, he shed the bridesmaid role by going undefeated through a field of 37 players, on-hand for the $1,000-added stop on the tour, hosted by Castle Billiards in East Rutherford, NJ.
 
Originally divided up between A/B and C/D players, the ranks would come together at the approach of the finals. Working in the A/B bracket, Mejia would get by Mike Zimny, Shin Sekin, Alex Gutierrez, and in the A/B final, defeat Raj Vanalla in a double hill match that would put him in the event hot seat. Paul Wilkens, in the meantime, was advancing through the C/D bracket, defeating Jan Mierza, Richard Anderson, Frank Sieczka and finally, Scott Abramowitz 6-3, which would move him into the hot seat match against Mejia. Mejia would gain the hot seat, double hill, and wait on what would turn out to be the return of Chuck Giallorenzo.
 
On the loss side, Vanalla would have the misfortune of running into Giallorenzo, who'd gotten by Max Watanabe 7-3 and Mike Zimny 7-4. Abramowitz would have the equal misfortune of meeting up with a streaking Jaydev Zaveri, who'd defeated Mike Figueroa 6-4 and Bernie Vogelsang 6-5 to reach him.
 
Giallorenzo ended Vanalla's run 7-4, as Zaveri ended Abramowitz' run 6-4. Giallorenzo then survived a double hill quarterfinal over Zaveri, and spoiled Wilkens' bid for a rematch against Mejia with a 7-4 win in the semifinals. 
 
Giallorenzo, with momentum on his side, took the opening two games of the finals, before Mejia responded with an early 9-ball combination in the next two games, and broke and ran to a 3-2 lead he'd never give up. Giallorenzo chalked up only one more rack as Mejia went on to complete his undefeated run 7-3.
 
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Castle Billiards, as well as sponsors Sterling-Gaming, Ozone Billiards, Qpod, Heptig Cues, Kamui Tips, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, and Human Kinetics. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour is a $750-added, A-D handicapped event, scheduled for Sunday, January 19 at Clifton Billiards in Clifton, NJ.

Bannon wins Tri-State, splits top prizes with Kennedy

Dennis Kennedy, Scott Bannon and Paul Wilkens

Going into the December 8 stop on the Tri-State Tour, Scott Bannon and Dennis Kennedy had each won a previous stop on the tour. Bannon had won two; a year ago on Staten Island, when he and Kennedy were among the winners' side final four, and three years before that in 2009. Kennedy's first Tri-State win came 22 months ago in Queens, when he came back from a loss in the hot seat match to take down Emily Duddy.  Bannon and Kennedy met only once on Saturday, December 8, and it was in the hot seat battle. Bannon won that fight, and claimed the event title when medical issues precluded Kennedy's appearance in the finals. The $1,000-added event drew 31 entrants to Castle Billiards in East Rutherford, NJ.
 
Their first and only match came after Bannon had sent room owner John Trobiano to the loss side 7-5 and Kennedy had dispatched Jan Mierzwa 6-2 in the two winners' side semifinals. Bannon claimed the hot seat in what proved to be his final win 9-6.
 
On the loss side, Paul Wilkens, sent west by Mierzwa from among the winners' side final eight, embarked on a four-match, loss-side march to the semifinals with victories over Mike Figueroa 6-3 and Jamiyl Adams 6-4. This set him up for a re-match against Mierzwa. Trobiano, in the meantime, squared off against Borana Andoni, who'd defeated Shin Sekine 7-3 and Ricardo Mejia 7-2 to reach him.
 
Wilkens and Andoni advanced to the quarterfinals; Andoni with a 7-4 win over Trobiano,  as Wilkens successfully wreaked his vengeance on Mierzwa 6-2. Wilkens and Andoni battled to double hill, and it was Andoni who got the first look at the 9-ball in the deciding game. She attempted a combination on the 9-ball, which not only failed, but left the ball hanging in the hole for Wilkens. Wilkens took aim at a full table bank shot on the 4-ball, which successfully traveled the distance to drop the hanging 9-ball and advance him to the semifinals against Kennedy.
 
Wilkens jumped out to an early lead in those semifinals, but Kennedy rallied to run up four racks and win it. At this point, Kennedy sighted back-related problems that forced him to forego a final, second match against Bannon, and the two opted to split the top prizes. Bannon, in the hot seat, officially claimed the event title.

DaBreo chalks up another undefeated Tri-State win at Castle Billiards

Rhys Chen, Raphael DaBreo and Chris DaCaprio

Unlike his last undefeated win on the Tri-State Tour in August, Raphael Dabreo actually got to play a final match during the Saturday, October 5 stop on the tour. His finals' opponent, Rhys Chen, won six on the loss side to meet him, but in spite of a slim, early lead could not stop DaBreo's second 2013 Tri-State victory. The $1,000-added event drew 40 entrants to Castle Billiards in East Rutherford, NJ. 
 
Following wins over Borana Andoni,  room owner John Trobiano (who had won a stop on this tour, on this date, exactly one year ago) and Ricardo Mejia, DaBreo would pick up a 'medical issue' forfeit by Rhio Anne Flores among the winners' side final four. In the battle for the hot seat, DaBreo squared off against Chris DaCaprio, who'd just defeated Mike Figueroa 6-4. DaBreo downed DaCaprio 9-4 and waited in the hot seat for what turned out to be the return of Chen.
 
Flores returned to action for matches on the loss side, picking up Chen, who, after being sent west, double hill, by Scott Simonetti, defeated Mejia double hill and Jose Liz Domeneche 7-3. Figueroa drew Bernie Vogelsang, who, after being sent west by Figueroa, had gotten by Shivram Gupta 6-4 and Eddie DaCosta 6-2. Chen downed Flores 7-2, and was met in the quarterfinal match by Vogelsang, who'd wreaked his vengeance by shutting Figueroa out.
 
Chen took the quarterfinal match 7-4 over Vogelsang and then, spoiled DaCaprio's bid for a second chance against DaBreo with an 8-4 semifinal win. Chen took the early 2-0 lead against DaBreo in the finals, and after giving up a single rack, made it 3-1. DaBreo came back to tie it at 3-3. They traded racks, back and forth, until DaBreo reached the hill, ahead by one. DaBreo broke dry in the final rack, but Chen missed a ball that turned the table back to him. As he'd been doing all day, DaBreo ran out to complete the match and his undefeated run through the field.
 
Tour representatives thanked John Trobiano and his Castle Billiards staff for their hospitality and continuing support for the tour and its players, as well as sponsors Sterling-Gaming, Ozone Billiards, Qpod, Kamui Tips, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, and Human Kinetics. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour is scheduled for Saturday, October 12, and will be hosted by House of Billiards on Staten Island.