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Calton goes undefeated, downs Cha twice on Predator Tri-State Tour

Robert Calton and Henry Cha

Last September, Robert Calton and Henry Cha squared off in the hot seat match of the inaugural tournament of the Mac Attack Tour. Launched by Mac Jankov to accommodate the hundreds of pool players who, in the absence of the Tri-State Tour and the Predator Pro Am Tour due to the pandemic, had been left high, dry and without competition in the tri-state New York City area. Cha sent Calton to the semifinals in that nine-months-ago hot seat match, but did not face him a second time. At the end of the quarterfinals in that event, Calton, Cha and Nishant Narang opted out of playing both a semifinal and a final match and split the top three prizes. 

Fast forward to this past weekend (May 22-23). Tony Robles had moved to Florida and the Predator Pro Am Tour came to a complete stop. The Tri-State Tour resurfaced last month, having sought and obtained sponsorship from Predator, and became the Predator Tri-State Tour.

And there, in the hot seat battle, and this time, in the finals, were Robert Calton and Henry Cha. Only this time, it was Calton who claimed the hot seat and then, defeated Cha a second time in the finals to claim his first event title. The $1,000-added event drew 63 entrants to Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY.

Calton’s path to the winners’ circle went through Paolo Valaverde, Philip Pearce, Adrian Daniel and Tri Chau to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal matchup versus Todd Trent. Cha opened his campaign up against Basdeo Sookhai and then sent Eddie Kwok, Duc Lam and Jimmy Acosta to the loss side, picking up Hunter Sullivan in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Calton got by Trent 7-5, as Cha was busy sending Sullivan over 7-3. Calton claimed the hot seat 7-4 over Cha and waited on his return.

On the loss side, Sullivan picked up Doug Youmans, who’d recently defeated Jimmy Acosta 7-5 and Jimmy Gutierrez 10-5. Trent drew KC Clayton, who was working on a seven-match, loss-side winning streak that had just eliminated Diana Rojas 6-3 (#5) and Adrian Daniel 6-4 (#6).

Sullivan advanced to the quarterfinals 9-5 over Youmans. Clayton took one more step to join him, downing Trent 7-4. Sullivan stopped Clayton’s run 6-3 in those quarterfinals.

In what proved to be the only double hill match of the entire tournament, Cha defeated Sullivan in the semifinals, earning a second shot at Calton, waiting for him in the hot seat. Calton took the opening set of the potential two, 7-4, and claimed the event title.

Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff Cue Bar for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor Predator Cues, Ozone Billiards, Sterling Billiards, Kamui, Quick Stik, Bloodworth Ball Cleaner, Joe Romer Trophies, Phil Cappelle Publications and Pool and Billiards. The next stop on the Predator Tri-State Tour, scheduled for the weekend of June 12-13, will be hosted by The Spot in Nanuet, NY.

 

Jankov Takes Matters Into His Own Hands, Launches Series of Tri-State New York Area Tourneys

Robert Calton, Henry Cha and Nishant Narang

Cha, Calton and Narang share inaugural spotlight with 11-year-old who defeats her Dad

Mac Jankov, a tri-state New York area pool player and a competitor on both the Tri-State Tour and Predator Pro Am Tour got a little tired of waiting for those tours to re-start. One of them (the Predator Pro Am) had shut down completely and Jankov was not only looking for competition himself, but was aware of many fellow players looking, as well. He’d noted the proliferation of virtual ‘ghost’ challenges playing out on the Internet, but like many fellow competitors, it was not enough.

“The pool community in New York/New Jersey is huge and has been growing all the time, thanks to the Tri-State and Predator Pro Am tours,” he said. “Ghost tournaments are not the same as being in a real competition with other real players, in the same room, playing on the same table.”

Jankov took the proverbial bull by the horns. After hearing from members of the tri-state pool community of a recently re-opened and under-new-management pool room – Breaker Billiards in Clifton, NJ – that was drawing many area players since it re-opened, he approached owner Leonard Morina. On Sunday, September 13, Jankov oversaw the first (and not the last) Breaker Billiards 9-Ball Tournament.

“I created a Facebook page about the event,” said Jankov, “and within six hours, the proposed field of 32 was full, with a waiting list, 15 players deep.”

The field was split into upper (A/B) and lower (C/D) brackets with 15 players in each and things got underway at 11 a.m. on Sunday morning.  Races were basically, with some handicap adjustments, 7 on the winners’ side and 6 on the losers’ side. The event finished when the final three players – Henry Cha, Robert Calton and Nashan Narang – negotiated a split of the top three prizes. Cha, originally from the upper bracket, was in the hot seat at the time and became the event’s official winner.

Cha, a B+ player, had worked his way through Erwin Jao, Chris Schmidt and Tommy Schreiber to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal match against Raymond Paragas, who’d just sent Kevin Scalzitti to the loss side. Scalzitti joined the tournament one day after winning a stop on the Garden State Pool Tour.

Working in the lower bracket initially, Robert Calton had survived an opening round double hill match against Christina Li. He then got by CA Duque, who’d just sent 11-year-old Brooke Nasta to the loss side (more on her and her Dad later). Calton then downed “Scooter” Hilton to draw Nishant Narang in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Calton got into the hot seat match 7-3 over Narang and met up with Cha, who’d sent Paragas over 7-5. Cha played what proved to be his final match in claiming the hot seat 7-5 over Calton.

On the loss side, Narang and Paragas showed up in the first money round. Paragas drew Chris Schmidt, who’d recently eliminated Scalzitti and Christian J. Orque, both 6-2. Narang picked up Christian Taeza, who, showing no mercy for the player responsible for him being there, defeated Mac Jankov 6-4 and Suzzie Wong, 6-2. Two loss-side matches earlier, Wong, one of the Tri-State and Predator Pro Am Tour’s top female and top C players had eliminated the aforementioned 11-year-old, Brooke Nasta, which brings us to the father/daughter match.

Brooke Nasta

11-year-old Nasta faces and defeats her Dad on the loss side

Brooke Nasta, who, at 11, became a championship finalist at the Billiard Education Foundation’s 2020 Junior Nationals and has qualified for league play in Las Vegas, came to this tournament with her Dad, Anthony Nasta. They both signed on to compete and entered the tournament in the C/D bracket. 

Dad won his opening round match against Dave Votta 7-5 and then, was sent to the loss side by Christian Taeza 7-4. Dad opened his loss-side campaign against his daughter, who’d opened her loss-side journey with a 6-4 victory over Christina Li. 

Unlike the Californian father-son duo of Ernesto and Oscar Dominguez, who never play each other because father Ernesto always forfeits to his son, the father-daughter combination competed and Brooke came out on top 7-5. In a way, though, Dad shook his daughter out of a low-heat frying pan and threw her into a fire against Suzzie Wong. Suzzie and Brooke battled to double hill before Wong prevailed. Wong and Brooke exchanged pleasantries after the match, with the elder Wong complementing the younger Brooke on her game play, setting up a potential BFF combination right there on the spot.

Wong played one more match. She defeated Scooter Hilton before meeting and being defeated by Christian Taeza. 

The victory over Wong proved to be Taeza’s ‘swan song’ as he went down to defeat in that first money round 7-5 to Nishant Narang. Chris Schmidt joined Narang in the quarterfinals after eliminating Paragas 6-4.

In what proved to be the last match of the evening, Narang downed Schmidt 6-4. Narang, Calton and Cha negotiated the payout settlement and it was over.

In his first foray into the world of directing pool tournaments, Mac Jankov thanked Leonard Morina and his staff for their hospitality. Jankov has posted videos of this recent tournament at a new site he created on YouTube; https://youtube.com/channel/UCKhyJKiYFaEsHP6REHTyA9Q.

The next independent event, organized by Jankov is scheduled for Sunday, September 27 and will be hosted by Clifton Billiards. Jankov and his ‘crew’ will return to Breaker Billiards for another 9-ball tourney, scheduled for Sunday, October 4.

Perez downs Calton twice, goes undefeated to claim Tri-State Tour title

Eddie Perez & Robert Calton

While Eddie Perez has been competing on the Tri-State Tour, as far as we know, since 2011, he chalked up his first victory on the tour this past weekend (Sunday, Feb. 23). The runner-up, Robert Calton, is, as far as we know, a relative newcomer to the tour, having cashed in only one event (last September), when he made it to the hot seat match, only to be defeated and then eliminated by Pascal Dufresne in the semifinals. The two battled twice in this most recent stop – hot seat and finals – with Perez winning them both. The $1,000-added, C/D event drew 41 entrants to Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY.

Perez advanced through the field, downing Chris Farrell, Ada Lio, Jim Gutierrez and Bob Toomey to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal against Terry Mohabir. Calton, in the meantime, squared off against Alex Green in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Perez defeated Mohabir 6-2 and in the hot seat match, faced Calton, who’d sent Green to the loss side 6-3. Though he’d finished third a number of times over the years since 2011, Perez claimed his first hot seat with his first of two against Calton 6-2.

On the loss side, Mohabir picked up Patrick Meyers, who’d defeated Mark Antonetti and John Aquino, both 6-2, to reach him. Green drew Luis Lopez, who’d most recently eliminated Ada Lio in a double hill match and Bob Toomey 6-4.

Green downed Lopez 6-4 to advance to the quarterfinals, where he was joined by Meyers, who’d handed Mohabir his second straight loss 6-2. Meyers then eliminated Green 7-5 in those quarterfinals.

Robert Calton put a stop to Green’s run 7-2 in the semifinals, but couldn’t put a stop to Perez’ first quest for a tour title in the finals. They battled to double hill (5-5), at which point Calton was battling to extend the race to 8. Perez prevailed to win the deciding 11th game and claim the event title.

Tour representatives thanked Manny Stamatakis and his Steinway Billiards staff for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui, Phil Capelle, Paul Dayton Cues, Pool & Billiards, Liquid Weighted Cues, John Bender Cues, Billiards Engineering and Bloodworth Ball Cleaner. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for Sunday, March 1, will be hosted by The Spot in Nanuet, NY.

Dufresne comes from the loss side to win second 2019 Tri-State event, first of 2019-2020 season

(l to r): Luis Jimenez & Pascal Dufresne

It was apparently the Tri-State Tour’s turn on Pascal Dufresne’s calendar. He won a stop on the Tri-State Tour back in March, which was a part of the Tri-State Tour’s 2018-2019 season. In April, he chalked up a victory on the Predator Pro Am Tour. On Sunday, September 22, Dufresne came back from a winners’ side semifinal loss to down Luis Jimenez in the finals of the $1,000-added, Double Points Tri-State event that had drawn 19 entrants to BQE Billiards in Jackson Heights (Queens), NY. It was his second 2019 win on the Tri-State Tour, but his first of the 2019-2020 tour season.
 
They met twice. The first time was in a winners’ side semifinal, as Robert Calton and Shweta Zaveri were battling it out in the other one. Jimenez, who’d cashed in 10 stops on the Tri-State Tour this year, including two runner-up finishes (March & July) was looking for his first win on the tour in (as far as we can determine) five years. He sent Dufresne to the loss side 7-5, as Calton sent Zaveri over 7-4. Jimenez guaranteed himself, at minimum, another runner-up finish with a 7-2 win over Calton in the hot seat match.
 
On the loss side, Zaveri picked up Thomas Schreiber, who’d been defeated by Dufresne in a winners’ side quarterfinal and then defeated Amanda Andries 7-4 and Lionel Swanston 6-5. Dufresne drew Joshua Joseph, who’d recently eliminated Michael Fedak and Allison LaFleur, both 6-3.
 
Dufresne and Zaveri got right back to work. Zaveri downed Schreiber 8-2, as Dufresne advanced to join her in the quarterfinals with a 7-3 win over Joseph. Dufresne ended Zaveri’s bid for a rematch against Calton in the semifinals by defeating her 8-3.
 
Dufresne complete his loss-side campaign with a 7-5 victory over Calton in those semifinals. He then proceeded to spoil Luis Jimenez’ bid for a victory on the 2019-2020 Tri-State Tour season by defeating him 9-7 in the finals.
 
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at BQE Billiards, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui Tips, Phil Capelle, Pool & Billiards, Professor Q Ball, Bender Cues,  Paul Dayton Cues, Bludworth Ball Cleaner, Joe Romer Trophies and Quick Slick. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for Saturday, September 28, will be hosted by Shooter’s Family Billiards in Wayne, NJ.