Archive Page

Souvanthong Wins First Joss Tour Stop of New Season

Nate Marshall, Diamond Billiards Owner Fran Imburgia and Bucky Souvanthong

Bucky Souvanthong returned to the Joss NE 9-Ball Tour’s winners circle with an undefeated run through a field of thirty five players at Diamond Billiards in Rochester, New York on November 5th – 6th. 

Souvanthong’s path on Saturday included wins Frank Wolak, Nabil Lazouzi and Sean Zeng. Souvanthong had three matches again on Sunday, with two of them against Nate Marshall. The first match against Marshall was a 9-6 win for the hot-seat, and after Marshall eliminated Ron Casanzio in the semi-final match 7-4, the second match against Marshall was a 9-5 win in the final match. 

In the second chance tournament on Sunday, Rohit Aggarwal won two out of three matches against Tito Ortiz, once in the hot-seat match and two more times in the finals where they split two 3-1 matches. 

The Joss NE 9-Ball Tour will be at Snookers in Providence, RI for the 34th Ocean State 9-Ball Championship.

Go to thread

Watanabe goes undefeated to chalk up his first win in a year on Predator Tri-State

Max Watanabe and Jay Chiu

About three weeks shy of a year ago, Max Watanabe went undefeated to claim a Predator Tri-State Tour title, competing in Clifton, NJ. About two weeks ago, he was runner-up to Sean Zeng in Mhet Vergara’s Pro Am (MVP) Tour’s Raxx Classic out on Long Island. This past weekend (Saturday, Sept. 10), he went undefeated to chalk up his first 2022 title at a Predator Tri-State stop at Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY. He has a ways to go before he can match his best recorded earnings year (2019), but he’s more than halfway there now and working on it. The $1,000-added event drew 28 entrants to Cue Bar.

Watanabe got by Mikhail Kim, Lidio Ramirez and survived a double hill battle against Julian Tierney to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal against Jose Estevez. Bob Toomey, in the meantime, worked his way through Brandonne Alli, Bianca Martinez and Pat Meyers to arrive at his winners’ side semifinal match versus the eventual runner-up Jay Chiu.

Watanabe and Estevez locked up in a double hill fight that did eventually send Watanabe to the hot seat match, where he was joined by Toomey, who’d sent Chiu to the loss side 6-4. Toomey came within a game of forcing a single, deciding match, but Watanabe edged out in front toward the end and claimed the hot seat.

Chiu moved over and picked up Alli, who’d followed his opening round loss to Toomey with five straight loss-side wins which had recently eliminated Pat Myers, double hill, and Paul Lyons 6-1. Estevez drew Julian Tierney, who’d followed his winners’ side quarterfinal loss to Watanabe with wins over Basdeo Sookhai 7-5 and Lidio Ramirez 7-4.

Chiu and Tierney advanced to the quarterfinals; Chiu, 6-1 over Alli and Tierney, 7-1 over Estevez. Chiu eliminated Tierney 7-3 in those quarterfinals to earn his rematch against Toomey in the semifinals.

Chiu got his shot at Watanabe, waiting for him in the hot seat, with a 6-3 win over Toomey in those semifinals. Chiu and Watanabe battled to double hill in the finals that followed, before Watanabe completed his undefeated run to claim the event title.

Tournament director Dan Cintron and tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Cue Bar for their hospitality, along with title sponsor Predator Cues, Poison Cues, Arcos 2 Balls, Ozone Billiards, Sterling Billiards, Kamui, Hustlin’ USA Clothing, Bloodworth Ball Cleaner, Billiard Engineering, Joe Romer Trophies, Phil Cappelle Publications, Pool & Billiards and Billiards Digest. The next Predator Tri-State event, scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 5, will be hosted by Shooter’s Family Billiards in Wayne, NJ.

Go to thread

Zeng goes undefeated to win MVP Raxx 9-Ball Classic (650 Under)

Erwin Jao, Max Watanabe, Mhet Vergara, Holden Chin, Elvis Rodriguez and Sean Zeng

As we noted in a Joss Northeast 9-Ball Tour report last July (2021), Sean Zeng had made something of a habit of cashing in at least one stop on that tour per year. In fact, since 2018, he’d cashed in exactly one event per year (that we know about), commencing with his 7th place finish on the Joss NE tour that year and three years later, a tour win on the weekend of June 26-27, 2021. The single cash finish/win made 2021 his best earnings year to date. The cash he brought home after going undefeated this past weekend (Aug. 20-21) to win the Mhet Vergara ProAm (MVP) Tour’s Raxx 9-Ball Classic (for FargoRates of 650 and under) turned this year into his best earnings year. The $1,500-added event drew 63 entrants to Raxx Billiards in West Hempstead, NY.

Runner-up Max Watanabe was looking to make the MVP Tour stop his first and only 2022 cash finish, as well. Though a veteran of both the former Tri-State Tour, the current Predator Tri-State Tour and the former Predator ProAm Tour, at which he has claimed numerous event titles over the years, dating back to 2015, and recording his best earnings year in 2019, he had yet to cash in 2022.

Zeng and Watanabe almost met in the hot seat of this MVP Tour stop. Zeng had gotten by Adrian Daniel, Aman Khan, Ricardo Mejia and Roberto Mendoza, to draw Luis Genao in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Watanabe, in the meantime, had sent Mike Callaghan, Glenn Ramsey and Shawn Sookhai to the loss side, before running into Horelbin Ramos, who put up a double hill fight against him. That double hill struggle may have taken all the ‘starch’ out of Watanabe’s game as he entered the other winners’ side semifinal against Erwin Jao.

Zeng got into the hot seat match with an 8-6 win over Genao. Watanabe fell to Jao 8-5, sending Jao up against Zeng. Zeng and Jao locked up in a double hill fight, as well, with Zeng eventually claiming the hot seat and packing Jao off to the semifinals against Watanabe.

On the loss side, Watanabe opened up against Raymond Paragas, who’d lost a second-round battle against Elvis Rodriguez and then embarked on a six-match, loss-side winning streak that had recently eliminated Sylvester Palacios 7-3 and Pat Fleming 7-5. Genao drew Elvis Rodriguez, who, right after sending Paragas over, lost a third-round match to Roberto Mendoza and went on a five-match, loss-side streak that had just sent John Francisco and Starling Duverge home (7-4, 7-3).

Rodriguez did what he could to secure his place in a rematch quarterfinal against Paragas with a 7-3 win over Genao. Watanabe spoiled the table reunion with a 7-3 win over Paragas. Watanabe stopped Rodriguez’ loss-side run at five, with a 7-3 win in the quarterfinals.

Watanabe then spoiled Erwin Jao’s hopes for a second shot at Zeng, waiting in the hot seat, with a 7-4 semifinal win. In the only set that proved to be necessary, Zeng defeated Watanabe 8-2 to claim the event title.

Tour director Mhet Vergara thanked Holden Chin and his Raxx Billiards staff for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Peri Cues, OB Cues, Queens Bodega and Inthbx apparel. The next stop on the MVP Tour was underway as this report was being filed, the $5k-added, MVP Tour New York State Championships, hosted by Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY.

Go to thread

Souvanthong over Casanzio for fifth Joss Tour Win

Ron Casanzio, Mike Zuglan and Bucky Souvanthong

While the main storyline all year on the Joss NE 9-Ball Tour has been the performance of Bucky Souvanthong, winning four tour stops and competing in the finals of two others, one other storyline has been the rivalry between Souvanthong and Ron Casanzio. Casanzio won the first stop on the tour this season at East Ridge Billiards, defeating Souvanthong in the finals. Souvanthong returned the favor, defeating Casanzio in the finals of stop 4 at Diamond Billiards in Rochester. These two competitors renewed their rivalry, facing off against each other three times at the Brickhouse Billiards tour stop on March 19th and 20th.

Souvanthong and Casanzio made it through the field of 50 players undefeated on Saturday. Casanzio had wins over Ryan Smith, Mike Armstrong, Geoff Montgomery, and Sean Zeng, while Souvanthong had wins over Dennis Gaetano, Bill Goodman, Aaron Greenwood, and Len Gianfrate. Casanzio’s day one performance was notable for the dominating fashion in which he put away his opponents. Two of Casanzio’s four wins were 9-0 shutouts, and the three racks he gave up to Zeng was the most anyone got against him on day one.

Sunday kicked off with Souvanthong and Casanzio facing off in their first matches of the day. It was another battle between these two players, won by Souvanthong this time, 9-7. Souvanthong then defeated Mark Creamer for the hot-seat 9-6.

On the one-loss side, Casanzio ran into familiar opponents as he handed Greenwood and then Zeng their second losses of the day. He went on to send Creamer home in 3rd place with a 7-3 semifinal loss.

If Souvanthong thought the finals would be easy, he received a quick reminder that Casanzio had other plans, as Casanzio crushed Souvanthong 9-1 in the first set of the double-elimination finals. The second set was a different matter though, with Souvanthong scoring a quick 7-2 win for his fifth win on the Joss Tour season.

Sunday’s second chance tournament saw Bill Goodman turn in an undefeated run through the field of 13 players. Goodman had wins over John Reardon, Dave Copperwheat, Nick Coppola, Ron Ince, and then Josh Welsh in the finals. In addition to the $300 first prize that Goodman won in the second chance tournament, he also won the cue raffle for the weekend, winning a custom engraved Joss Cue.

The Joss NE 9-Ball Tour will be at Utica Billiards on the Boulevard for the next stop on April 2nd and 3rd.

Go to thread

Sean Zeng Breaks Through For First Joss Tour Win

Len Gianfrate and Sean Zeng

Sean Zeng has made a habit of cashing in one Joss NE 9-Ball Tour stop per year. He finished in 7th place at Eastridge Billiards in 2018, 2nd in the second chance tournament at Diamond Billiards in 2019 and 4th at Sharpshooters early last year. Each finish was progressively better each year as far as prize money, but if you are only going to cash in one tour stop a year, you may as well shoot for the moon. He hit the moon at the Joss NE 9-Ball Tour stop at Brickhouse Billiards in Syracuse, NY on June 26th and 27th.

Zeng was one of the forty eight players who competed in this, the second “post covid” stop on the tour. He kicked things off with a win over Jordan Turner and then turned in back to back hill-hill wins over Mike Lally and Bucky Souvanthong. A must less stressful 9-4 win over Tony Antone sent Zeng into Sunday play undefeated.

Zeng kept up his winning ways on Sunday with a 9-4 win over Rohit Aggarwal. On the opposite side of the board, Len Gianfrate had a little more of a problem with Marko Clarke, but won the match 9-7. Zeng would then beat Gianfrate by that same 9-7 scoreline.

On the one loss side, two early tournament favorites were heading towards a showdown. Both Ron Casanzio and Souvanthong had lost their third round matches on Saturday. Souvanthong to Zeng and Casanzio to Dave Grau in a 9-1 match he would likely prefer to forget.

Casanzio and Souvanthong both had five straight match wins on the left side of the board, and faced off against each other for third place. As expected, that match was a close one, that went to Casanzio 7-6. Casanzio would have to settle for second place though, as he then lost to Gianfrate in the semi-final match 7-5.

The rematch between Zeng and Gianfrate only went one set, with Zeng scoring another 9-7 win for his first Joss NE 9-Ball Tour victory.

Sunday’s second chance tournament saw nineteen players looking for their share of $500 in added prize money. The winner’s side came down to Dan Sharlow and Dave Ricci, with Ricci taking the hot-seat 3-1. After Sharlow eliminated Jim Kearney on the one loss side, he came back and avenged his earlier loss with a 3-1 win over Ricci in the first set of the finals. The second set went to Ricci with another 3-1 scoreline for first place.

The Joss NE 9-Ball Tour will take the 4th of July weekend off, and get back to their next event at Utica Billiards on the Boulevard in Utica, NY on July 10th – 11th.