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Blanco Wins NJ State Amateur 8-Ball Title

Benny Blanco with Sandcastle Owner Ed Liddawi

Benny Blanco was crowned the 2018 NJ Amateur 8-Ball State Champion after an undefeated run through a field of 42 players at the Mezz Cue Tour stop at Sandcastle Billiards in Edison, NJ on November 10th and 11th.
 
After an opening round bye, Blanco won three matches on Saturday and then came back on Sunday to defeat Naim Shala and then Richard Ng for the hot-seat. 
 
On the one loss side, Gerard Soriano avenged his loss to Ng earlier in the day on Sunday and eliminated Ng in 3rd place. Soriano would have to settle for second place though, as he dropped the final match to Blanco. 
 
Sandcastle Billiards owner Ed Liddawi thanked tourney director (and Mezz Tour Director) Jose Burgos, Pat Fleming and Jim Fredericks from Accu-Stats for the online stream, his staff and family, as well as all of the players for supporting the event. 
 
Event sponsors and supporters for the tournament included Aramith Billiard Balls, Iwan Simonis Billiards, AzBilliards.com, Accu-Stats Video Productions & GoPlayPool.com.

Ng goes undefeated to take first 2016 win on the Tri-State Tour

Mike Esposito, Richard Ng and Eric Carrasco

No stranger to the winners' circle on the Tri-State Tour, his last win coming last October, Richard Ng went undefeated on the weekend of January 9-10 to claim the first 2016 Tri-State title. The $1,500-added event drew 48 entrants to Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY.
 
Ng's trail through the winners' side of the bracket almost got stalled in the opening round of play, when Chris Karp gave him a double-hill run for his money. Ng persevered and then defeated Lidio Ramirez, Chumreon Sutcharitakul, and Tony Liang, before running into Elvis Rodriguez in a winners' side semifinal. Mike Esposito, in the meantime, squared off against Erick Carrasco.
 
Ng sent Rodriguez to the loss side in another double hill win. Esposito sent Carrasco over double hill, as well. Ng claimed the hot seat 7-4 over Esposito and waited on what turned out to be the return of Carrasco.
 
On the loss side, Carrasco picked up Jaydev Zaveri, who'd gotten by Pashk Gjini, double hill and Tony Ignomirello 6-2. Rodriguez drew Ron Gabia, who'd eliminated Chris Kelly and Tony Liang, both 7-4. Rodriguez and Carrasco got right back into the loss side of things with victories over Gabia 7-4 and Zaveri 6-4, respectively.
 
Carrasco took the quarterfinal match versus Rodriguez 9-2 and then really demonstrated his frustration at being sent to the loss side by Esposito, by shutting him out 6-0 in the semifinal re-match. Carrasco took an early 3-0 lead in the finals, before Ng fought back to go ahead 4-3. They traded racks to a 6-6 tie before Ng took the final two games to win the event title 8-6.
 
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Steinway 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 stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for January 16, will be hosted by Clifton Billiards, in Clifton, NJ.

Paulino comes back from semifinals to down Greibesland and claim Tri-State title

Jessica-Lynn Greibsland and Fernando Paulino

It looked for a while there, near the end, as if Jennifer Lynn-Greibesland was going to go undefeated and claim her first Tri-State Tour title. She got off to a hot 5-0 start in the finals against Fernando Paulino, whom she’d defeated previously in the hot seat match, but Paulino rallied and took the last three games of the match to claim his own first Tri-State title. The $1,000-added event, held on Saturday, August 15, drew 46 entrants to Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY.
 
Following wins over Stewart Warnock, Duc Lam (double hill), Kapriel Delimelkonoglu, and Richard Ng (double hill), Paulino squared off against Alex Osipov in a winners’ side semifinal. Lynn-Greibesland, in the meantime, faced Nevine Lepovac. Paulino advanced to the hot seat match 7-4 over Osipov, and was joined by Greibesland, who’d sent Lepovac west 6-4. Greibesland grabbed the hot seat 10-7 and waited on Paulino’s return.
 
Osipov and Lepovac moved over and picked up Richard Ng and Gary Serrano, respectively. Ng had survived a double hill fight against Rhys Chen and defeated Thomas Rice 7-5 to draw Osipov. Serrano had eliminated Brian Dorfman 6-3 and Mike Figueroa 6-2 to face Lepovac. 
 
Osipov downed Ng 7-5, as Serrano was busy eliminating Lepovac 6-5. Osipov took the subsequent quarterfinal match over Serrano 8-5 to earn himself a re-match versus Paulino in the semifinals. Paulino defeated him a second time by the same 7-4 score to earn his own re-match against Greibesland.
 
In spite of the wait, Greibesland came out gunning, chalking up five straight to open the finals. Paulino, though, fought right back with five of his own, at which point they battle back and forth, one game at a time to a 7-7 tie. Paulino closed it out with another five-rack run to claim his first Tri-State title.
 
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Steinway 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 Saturday, August 29-30, will be hosted by Amsterdam Billiards in Manhattan.
 

Chen comes from the loss side to take Tri-State stop

Mike Figueroa, Rhys Chen and Richard Ng

Rhys Chen, the Amateur division winner of last May's 5th Annual George "Ginky" Sansouci Memorial Tournament, chalked up a second 2015 victory on the Tri-State Tour. On Saturday, August 1, he came from the loss side to win the $1,000-added Tri-State 9-Ball tournament that drew 24 entrants to Clifton Billiards in Clifton, NJ.
 
Following victories over Alberto Estevez, Glenn Ramsey and Dave Ascolese, Chen ran into Richard Ng in a winners' side semifinal. Ng sent him to the loss side 7-5 and in the hot seat match, faced Mike Figueroa, who has shut out Tony Ignomirello. Figueroa took the hot seat 7-2 over Ng and waited on Chen.
 
Chen drew Jerry Ritzer on the loss side, recent winner over Steve Kaminow 7-4 and Alberto Estevez 7-5. Ignomirello picked up Diane Policastro, who'd gotten by Jim Gutierrez 7-3 and Bob Toomey 6-2. Chen and Policastro moved on to the quarterfinals; Chen 7-5 over Ritzer, Policastro eliminating Ignomirello 6-2.
 
Chen ended Policastro's run 9-7 in the quarterfinals, and survived a double hill rematch against Ng in the semifinals. It was Figueroa, though, who took the early momentum in the finals, chalking up three straight at the start. Chen responded with six straight. Not to be outdone, Figueroa came back with three in a row to knot the match at 6. They traded racks before Chen chalked up two to reach the hill first. Figueroa made it to 9-8, but Chen finished it.
 
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Clifton 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 stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for Sunday, August 9, will be hosted by Rockaway Billiards in Rockaway, NJ. 

Ng goes undefeated on Tri-State Tour stop

Mike Harrington, Richard Ng and room owner Isabel Buckley

Richard Ng, a B-Class player on the Tri-State Tour, hadn’t chalked up an event victory since last June, at the tail end of the 2010/2011 season. In spite of that, he entered the weekend of June 9-10, ranked at #10 in the B-class standings for the 2011/2012 season, 80 points behind Dave Shlemperis and 45 points ahead of Borana Andoni.  He assured himself a strong move up the ladder with an undefeated weekend in a $2,500-added, B-D handicapped Tri-State event that drew 64 entrants to Gotham City Billiards, in Brooklyn, NY.

Following victories over Edward Ng (not related), Raul Reyes (a fellow B player, ranked # 6), Paul Raval (a shutout) and Alex Osipov, Ng moved among the winners’ side final four, where he faced his toughest challenges; two straight double hill matches that left him in the hot seat. He defeated Scott Bannon, and was joined in the battle for the hot seat by Mike Harrington, who’d sent Mike Strassberg west, also double hill. In their first of two, Ng defeated Harrington and waited on his return.

On the loss side, Bannon picked up Carl Yusuf Khan, who’d defeated Annie Flores 7-2 and Osipov, 7-6. Strassberg drew Mesdhak Daniel, who’d gotten by Rick Shellhouse 6-2 and Lou Loria 6-3. Bannon and Strassberg got right back on track; Bannon downing Khan 7-2, and Strassberg defeating Daniel 7-3. 

It was Bannon advancing to meet Harrington in the semifinals with a 9-5 win over Strassberg in the quarterfinals. Bannon put up a fight to get a second crack at Ng, but Harrington prevailed, double hill, to earn the second chance. Harrington and Ng battled back and forth to a 3-3 tie in the finals, before Ng took command, winning four straight to secure the event title.

In addition to the regular Tri-State event, Gotham City Billiards, in conjunction with Bill Hoffman, conducted two Mid-Atlantic qualifiers for the Billiards Educational Foundation’s Junior National Championships, set for July 11-12 at Romine’s High Pockets in Greenfield WI. Thomas Price won the 14-and-under tournament, with a victory over Robert Buckley. In the 15-to-18 group, it was Brendon Hallock over Sam Hoffman. The winners will join over 150 young pool players in the national event, competing for prizes and the chance to represent the US in the World Pool-Billiard Association World Junior 9-Ball Championships.

Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Gotham City Billiards for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Sterling-Gaming, Ozone Billiards, Ron Tarr Cues, Kamui Tips, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, and Human Kinetics. Next stop on the Tri-State Tour is a $1000-Added, A/D handicapped event, scheduled for June 16 at Carom Cafe & Billiards in  Flushing, NY.

Chau gets by Palone twice to win his first Tri-State Tour stop

Tri V. Chau, Joe Palone and Richard Ng

Tri V. Chau opened his tournament bid on the Tri-State Tour on the weekend of May 19-20 with victories over two of the toughest females on the tour, followed it with a victory over the previous week’s winner, and got into the hot seat with two straight double hill wins. He concluded the campaign with a second victory over his hot seat opponent, Joe Palone, to complete an undefeated weekend, chalking up his first Tri-State Tour win. The $1,000-added B-D handicapped event drew 22 entrants to BQE Billiards in Jackson Heights, NY.

Chau started out on Saturday with a decisive 7-1 victory over the # 3-ranked female on the Tri-State Tour, Emily Duddy, and then survived a double hill battle against the # 1 female on the tour, Kim Meyer-Gabia. He then defeated Al Cacciola, who’d won the last tour stop, 7-4 and moved among the winners’ side final four to face Chris Karp. Palone, in the meantime, squared off against Richard Ng. In his second of three double hill wins, Chau sent Karp west, as Palone was busy surviving his own double hill match against Ng. In his last double hill win, Chau sent Palone to the semifinals and sat in the hot seat, awaiting his return.

On the loss side, Jaydev Zaveri defeated Luis Jimenez 6-4 and Carl Yusuf Khan 7-4 to pick up Karp. Ng drew Cacciola, who’d gotten by Ed Culhane 10-7 and Rick Shellhouse 6-1. Zaveri and Ng got right back on track, advancing to the quarterfinals with identical 7-3 victories over Karp and Cacciola. Following another 7-3 win, it was Ng moving on to face Palone in the semifinals.

Ng and Palone battled to double hill, before Palone prevailed for a second crack at Chau. The final matchup went back and forth, until Chau moved ahead to win by two, 7-5. He’d come close before – in January of 2010, when he finished second – but this was Chau’s first Tri-State Tour victory. 

Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff of BQE Billiards for their cooperation and hospitality, as well as sponsors Sterling-Gaming, Ozone Billiards, Ron Tarr Cues, Kamui Tips, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, and Human Kinetics. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour will be a $1,000-added, B-D handicapped event, scheduled for May 26-27 at Amsterdam Billiards & Bar in New York City.

Cacciola wins first Tri-State event

Richard Ng, Al Cacciola and Rhio Anne Flores

Al Cacciola survived a double hill battle to get into the hot seat, and then, prior to the finals of the Tri-State Tour stop on Saturday, May 13, agreed to a split with Annie Flores.  As a result, Flores, who’d won three straight, double hill matches on the loss-side, chalked up her second straight, second place finish on the tour. The $750-added event drew 26 entrants to Port Richmond Billiards on Staten Island, NY.

Cacciola opened his bid with victories over Tony Ignomirello, and Jaydev Zaveri and moved among the winners’ side final four to meet Tom McManamon. Flores, in the meantime, faced Richard Ng. Cacciola defeated McManamon 6-3, while Richard Ng was busy winning a double hill struggle versus Flores. Ng and Cacciola locked up in another double hill match that sent Ng to a meetup with Flores in the semifinals, and left Cacciola in the hot seat.

Flores moved over to pick up Keith Adamik, who’d defeated Gary Murgia 7-4 and Carl Yusuf Khan 7-5 to reach her. Tony Ignomirello, who’d been sent west by Cacciola in the opening round, fought back through five matches, the last two of which – 6-4 over Jaydev Zaveri and 6-3 over Quin Y. Chen – set him up to face McManamon. Ignomirello chalked up his sixth, loss-side win, 6-3 over McManamon, as Flores was occupied with Adamik, and the completion of her second straight double hill match.

Flores ended Ignomirello’s streak with a double hill win in the quarterfinals, and then, reversed the results of her previous match against Ng, by tallying her third double hill win in the semifinals. Cacciola and Flores are friends, and the two chose to end the (late) night right there, splitting the winnings and leaving Cacciola as the undefeated, declared winner.

Tour representatives thanked the owners and staff at Port Richmond Billiards for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Sterling-Gaming, Ozone Billiards, Ron Tarr Cues, Kamui Tips, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, and Human Kinetics. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour is a $1000-added, B-D handicapped event, scheduled for May 20 at BQE Billiards in Jackson Heights, NY.

Dagotdot wins fourth straight tournament with Tri-State victory

Daniel Dagotdot, Quin Y. Chen and Eddie Perez

Since February, Daniel Dagotdot had won four of the eight tournaments in which he’d been entered, alternating those victories between the Tri-State and Predator Tours. In the other four tournaments, which included two stops on the Mezz Pro Am Tour, he never finished lower than fifth place. On Saturday, November 19, he chalked up number five of nine with an undefeated run on the Tri-State Tour, which had stopped at the Port Richmond Billiard Club on Staten Island. The $750-added event, which had drawn 35 entrants, came to an early end when, at approximately 2 a.m. on Monday morning, the final three competitors opted to split the top prizes. 

By dinner time on Sunday (approximately 6 p.m.), Dagotdot had worked his way through three rounds of play to move among the winners’ side final four, defeating Harry Lau, Keith Adamik and Tri-State veteran Dan Cintron.  Facing him among the final four winners was Richard Ng. Quin Y. Chen, in the meantime, squared off against Alex Osipov. Dagotdot moved into the hot seat match with an 8-6 victory over Ng and was joined by Chen who shut out Osipov. Dagotdot gained the hot seat with a 10-6 victory over Chen that proved to be his final match. 

Osipov moved to the loss-side and picked up Eddie Perez, whom he’d sent to the loss-side earlier in the tournament. Perez earned a re-match after victories over Pat Mareno, double hill, and Hector Ruiz, 6-2. Ng’s first opponent on the loss side was Gary Murgia, who’d advanced past Keith Adamik 7-4 and Billy Cheng 7-3. Ng survived a double hill battle against Murgia and was joined in the quarterfinals by Perez, who had successfully wreaked his vengeance on Osipov, also double hill.

Perez dropped Ng into fourth place 7-4 and for all intents and purposes, the tournament came to an end. The semifinal matchup between Perez and Chen (teammates on a Staten Island BCA League team) was, by mutual agreement,  reduced to a single game, which was won by Chen, who advanced into the finals against Dagotdot. That match never happened, as, again by mutual agreement, Dagotdot and Chen agreed to split the first and second place winnings (by an undisclosed ratio), leaving Dagotdot as the official, undefeated winner.

Tour representatives thanked Gary Murgia, who was described as the “catalyst” for returning the Tri-State Tour to Staten Island’s Port Richmond Billiard Club. Thanks to the turnout for this most recent event, the venue has already decided to host further events on the tour. Also thanked were Mike, Moe and Karen from the Port Richmond Billiard Club for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Sterling-Gaming, Ozone Billiards, Ron Tarr Cues, Kamui Tips, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, and Human Kinetics for their sponsorship.