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Rivas Takes Rack On The Rocks Open Nine Ball

Sergio Rivas and Austin Summers

Rob and Heather Williams, owners of Racks On The Rocks in West Peoria, IL, welcomed players and fans to their $2000 added Open Nine Ball Championship this past weekend.

A full field of 64 players paid entries of $50 to compete in this double elimination event. Played on seven foot Diamonds, it was alternate break with races to seven.

A $500 added 9 ball mini kicked things off on Friday night with Manny Perez defeating Daniel Martin to claim the cheese.

The nine ball event started at noon on Saturday. When the smoke cleared on Sunday afternoon, the field had been whittled down to four players.

Sergio Rivas and Austin Summers duked it out in the hot seat match. Sergio battled back from a 3-0 deficit to take the match 7-4 earning him a berth in the finals.

Austin headed west to await the results of the Brett Charlett-Brandon Pearson match. Brandon ran over Brett to win the match 7-2.

Determined to get another shot at Sergio, this time it was Brandon who was steamrolled by Austin 7-0!!!
Since this was true double elimination, Austin would have to defeat Sergio twice to claim the title.
The match was neck and neck with Sergio finally winning the case game and title 7-6!!! Congratulations to Sergio!!! Good tournament, Austin!!!

Thanks go out to the Rack On The Rocks staff for taking good care of all the players and fans. Thanks to Tournament Director Rob Williams for keeping things running smoothly and for commentary by our own Ray Hansen and Mary Kenniston.

PoolActionTV.com would like to thank our fans and sponsors. Our sponsors include JB Cases, Diamond Billiard Products, Castillo Leather Goods, Durbin Custom Cues, Simonis, Lomax Custom Cues, IPKT, Hanshew Jump Cues, Team StraightPoolEye, the Action Palace of Dayton, OH and Fort Worth Billiards Superstore of Fort Worth, TX.

Racks On The Rocks will also be the host of our next event – the $40,000 Champions Challenge. Featuring Scott Frost and Bobby McGrath, they’ll be playing eight ball on the bar box – race to 80! So tune in August 17th-19th! We’ll save you a seat!!!

Justin Hall Wins US Open One Pocket Crown

Justin Hall and Mark Griffin

The 2021 US Open One Pocket Championships took place over the weekend of June 5th – 6th at Griff’s pool hall in Las Vegas. Mark Griffin, Gary Lutman, Griff’s staff & Tournament Director Jack Murray rolled out the red carpet for the players and fans. The professional One Pocket title is coveted by pool players worldwide who have an appreciation for this unique discipline. The game of One Pocket has become more popular over the years and a player has to combine shotmaking and skill with chess like strategy.

Stand out players in the event featured big names in the game like Tony Chohan, Justin Hall, Warren Kiamco, James Aranas, John Morra and local fan favorite Ronnie Wiseman. While there were many big names that came out to play, up and coming players such as Evan Lunda, Sergio Rivas and Rudy Alameda had stand out performances.

One of the most impressive surprise performances was put together by Bob Herchick who had an amazing run. Bob defeated John Peck 4-0, John Morra 4-0, Mike Grimm 4-2, Tony Chohan 4-3 before losing to Justin Hall 4-3 and Warren Kiamco 3-0 finishing a solid 5/6th.

Veteran grinder Justin Hall from Florida played amazing pool the entire event and went through the field undefeated. His road to the finals was a difficult one going through a gritty field. Justin defeated Mike Massey 4-0, Ronnie Wiseman 4-3, James Aranas 4-2, Bob Herchick 4-3 and Dennis Orcullo 4-1.

After losing to Justin 4-1, Dennis played stellar to defeat Warren Kiamco 4-0 to earn a spot in the finals.

The finals was a race to 5 games for the Championship, and Justin Hall put together another dominant set including capping off the match with an impressive final game – showing off his shotmaking and deep knowledge of the game. The. Final score was 4-2 Justin, who earned the new US Open One Pocket trophy along with $7,500 1st prize.

The equipment at Griff’s is world class featuring all Diamond tables, Simonis cloth and Amamith balls.

Online Brackets were provided by Digital Pool and can seen here: https://digitalpool.com/tournaments/2021-us-open-one-pocket-championship/bracket

Special thanks to all sponsors and supporters of the event including Simonis, Aramith, & OB Cues.

Special Thanks to Ben Sutherland and BBTV for producing a quality live stream with commentary for the fans.

The US Open 10 Ball starts on Sept 12, through the 15th. The US Open 8-Ball will immediately follow the 10-ball.

The US Open Banks Championship immediately follows the One pocket and starts June 8th and 9th. It’s free for spectators to watch and fans can find the Live Stream and follow the event by visiting Griff’s Facebook page for the info.

World-class trio of Orcollo, Kiamco & Bustamante go 1, 2, 3 at 6th Annual Texas Open 10-Ball

Kraber goes undefeated to win her second Texas Women’s 10-Ball Championship

(l to r): John Palmore, Dennis Orcollo & James Davis, Sr.

Being Texas, it’s never enough to just hold an Open and Ladies 10-Ball tournament every year. Instead, Skinny Bob’s Billiards in Round Rock, TX hosts a six-day extravaganza (this year, from Feb. 12-17) that has a way of feeling like a month-long extravaganza, headlined by the annual Texas 10-Ball Open and Ladies 10-Ball Championships.

Things got underway on Wednesday, Feb. 12 with a 10-Ball mini-tournament, as more or less of a warm-up for events to come. On Thursday, the activity was a Scotch Doubles tournament that was eventually won by the team of Warren Kiamco and Ellen Robinson, who downed John Gabriel and Ellen Jones in the finals. Later in the day, a Banks/Rails game was won Sergio Rivas, who defeated John Demet in the finals. On Friday, an Open Ring game was won by Jeffrey DeLuna, with Sky Woodward as runner-up and John Gabriel in third place.

In the absence of a defending champion (Alex Pagulayan), a few relatively well-known Filipino competitors stepped in to fill the gap at the $4,000-added 6th Annual Texas Open 10-Ball, which got underway on Friday evening. Dennis Orcollo ended up going undefeated through the field. He downed Warren Kiamco twice (hot seat and finals) and waited patiently as Kiamco eliminated Francisco Bustamante in the semifinals. We’ll get back to them in a while, but first. . . the ladies.

The $1,000-added Ladies 10-Ball Championship, which drew 20 entrants, got underway on Saturday. Unlike the Open Championship, the Ladies event featured its defending champion, Gail Eaton. It was won by its 2018 champion, Jennifer Kraber, who went undefeated through the field, downing Courtney Peters twice, hot seat and finals.

Following victories over Kim Pierce, Kelly Jones and Rachel Hurst, Kraber moved into a winners’ side semifinal against Ming Ng. After being awarded an opening round bye, Peters downed Latonia Taylor and Michelle Yim, to draw Nicole McDaniel in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Kraber and Ng locked up in a double hill fight that eventually advanced Kraber to the hot seat match. She was joined by Peters, who’d defeated McDaniel 7-1. Kraber won the first of two versus Peters 7-3 and waited in the hot seat for her return.

On the loss side, Nicole McDaniel drew Kim Sanders, who’d recently eliminated defending champion Gail Eaton and Rachel Hurst, both 5-3. Ming Ng picked up Michelle Yim, who’d defeated Ellen Robinson 5-3 and Kelly Jones 5-2 to reach her.

Yim and Sanders handed Ng and McDaniel their second straight loss; Yim, 5-3 over Ng and Sanders shut McDaniel out to join Yim in the quarterfinals. Yim then did unto Sanders that which Sanders had most recently done to McDaniel; shut her out to advance.

In the semifinals that followed, Yim became the third shutout victim in a row and gave Peters a second shot at Kraber in the hot seat. Peters chalked up two more racks in the finals than she’d chalked up against Kraber in the hot seat match, but they weren’t enough, as Kraber completed her undefeated run 7-5 to claim the Ladies 10-Ball title.

Orcollo backs up Derby City Master of the Table title with undefeated run at Texas Open 10-Ball
It’s only February and Dennis Orcollo has pocketed money that would be the envy of most pool players to earn in an entire year. He finished 16th in the Derby City’s One Pocket Division, 3rd in the 9-Ball Division and won the 9-Ball Banks, all of which earned him the coveted Master of the Table title. All of this followed his victory at the Music City’s Midnight Madness Tournament and his runner-up finish (to Skyler Woodward) in the Music City’s Open Division. He didn’t get a chance to meet Woodward in this event, although Warren Kiamco did.

Robocop (as they call him) got by Kenny Loftis, John Gabriel, Justin Hall, Kevin Guimond and Junior Jueco by an aggregate score of 35-12, giving up just over two racks per match (on average). Orcollo drew Naoyuki Oi in one of the winners’ side semifinals.

Warren Kiamco, in the meantime, started his campaign out with back-to-back shutouts of Thomas Smith and Pat Castro. He then defeated Josh Roberts 7-1, Robert Gomez 7-3 and won a knock-down, drag-out, double hill match versus Sky Woodward (this event’s 2016 champion) to arrive at his winners’ side semifinal matchup with a 35-10 aggregate score and having given up an exact average of two racks per match. Kiamco squared off in his winners’ side semifinal against a very familiar opponent, Francisco Bustamante, who’d sent this event’s 2015 and 2017 champion, Manny Chau to the loss side.

Orcollo sent Oi to the loss side 7-2 and was joined in the hot seat match by Kiamco, who’d defeated Bustamante 7-4. Orcollo and Kiamco played an entertaining double hill hot seat match that eventually sent Kiamco to the semifinals and left Robocop in the hot seat.

On the loss side, Naoyuki Oi drew James Davis, Sr. (known as Strop, because he’s originally from Bastrop, TX), who’d recently defeated two strong opponents in a row to reach him; first Josh Roberts 7-4 and then, Sky Woodward 7-5. Bustamante picked up Roberto Gomez, who’d defeated Junior Jueco 7-1 and Sergio Rivas 7-3 to reach him.

Strop and Oi locked up in a double hill fight, eventually won by Strop. Bustamante joined Strop in the quarterfinals after eliminating Gomez 7-4. Bustamante then sent Davis, Sr. home 7-3 in those quarterfinals.

Those who thought that Bustamante and Kiamco would get into a double hill fight for a shot at Orcollo in the hot seat were disappointed. Kiamco gave up just a single rack and advanced to the finals 7-1 over Bustamante.

One might have been forgiven for believing that with that 7-1 momentum, the final rematch between Kiamco and Orcollo would have been something of an epic struggle. It wasn’t, really. Orcollo shut Kiamco out 7-0 to claim the event title.

Tour directors John Palmore and James Davis, Sr. thanked John and Sue Cielo and their Skinny Bob’s staff for their continued support of this event, to include their hands-on assistance with varied aspects of running the tournament; entries, money management, etc. In addition, noted Palmore, “Kaye Watson is the glue that holds everything together for (Davis) and I. She helps with bracket management and most importantly, that all the the money is correct coming in and going out.” They also thanked event sponsors Simonis, Hanshew Jump Cues and Sleep Inn.

Burbul Qualifies for U.S. Open at NCPT Stop #10

Josh Burbul, Sergio Rivas and Jonathan Strzezewski

Josh Burbul traveled a long way–on the road and through the bracket–to claim his $1,000 paid entry to the 2020 U.S. Open 9-Ball Championships. Driving from Eagen, Minnesota, to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Burbul competed in the North Central Pool Tour’s final stop of the year at Romine’s High Pockets. The event was part of the U.S. Open Global Qualifying Series from Matchroom Multisport.

In his first match, Burbul lost 7-2 to Tyler Styer, fresh off a team win for the Mosconi Cup. But Burbul regrouped and cruised undefeated through the B-side. He notched wins over tough players like Pablo Diaz (6-2), Mark Berry (6-4), Andrew Mackey (6-2), and Wilson Dorsey (6-0). He even faced Tyler Styer again, making a 9 on the break in the last game to advance.

In the finals, Burbul faced undefeated Sergio Rivas. Rivas had put on quite a show with his stellar play. But the final race proved to be a battle. Both players traded wins for most of the set, keeping the score tight. In the hill-hill game, Rivas broke dry. He returned to the table, though, after Burbul missed a safety on the 1 ball. Unfortunately, Rivas gave up the out when he miscalculated a shot on the 6 ball, handing Burbul the final game.

The NCPT’s 10th stop included 32 players from the region. You can watch streamed matches by RailbirdsTV on NCPTplay.com.

The NCPT’s first stop of 2020 will be another U.S. Open qualifier. It will be held on Saturday, January 18, at Chris’s Billiards in Chicago–known for its cameo in the Color of Money.  Visit NCPTplay.com to register.

White gets by Smith twice to win 6th Annual Turkey Bowl at the Steakhorse in Spartanburg

Hunter White

Two former winners on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour squared off on Thanksgiving weekend (Nov. 24-25) in the finals of the tour’s 6th Annual Turkey Bowl. Hunter White, who, as a junior player, won three events on the tour two years ago, went undefeated through a record field of 76 entrants (last year’s Turkey Bowl drew 66). White had to defeat Chase Smith twice, whose last appearance in a Q City 9-Ball winners’ circle occurred in September 2017. The $1,000-added event, which featured competitors from eight states (WI, MI, VA, TN, NC, SC, GA & FL) and Germany, was hosted by Steakhorse Restaurant & Billiards in Spartanburg, SC.
 
They met first in a winners’ side semifinal, as former BEF Junior Champion (14-and-under Boys, 2013) Sergio Rivas and Lauren Kauffman squared off in the other one. In their first of two, White and Smith battled to double hill before White finished it 7-5 (Smith racing to 6). Rivas joined White for the hot seat match, having shut Kauffman out. White claimed the hot seat in a double hill win over Rivas and waited for Smith to return.
 
On the loss side, Smith picked up Rob Hart, who’d defeated Mackie Lowery 5-4 (Lowery racing to 6) and Josh Long 5-2. Kauffman drew David Anderson, the winner of the very first stop on the tour, six years ago, who’d eliminated Michael Chapman 8-5 and another junior player, Cameron Lawhorne 8-1.
 
Anderson jumped right into the quarterfinals when Kauffman forfeited their match. He was joined by Smith, who’d downed Hart 6-1. With Anderson racing to 8 in the quarterfinal match, Smith defeated him 6-1 to face Rivas in the semifinals.
 
Rivas slipped a gear, so to speak, and managed to chalk up only one rack of the 10 he needed to win the semifinal. Smith, in the meantime, chalked up the six he needed for a re-match against White in the finals.
 
White and Smith fought a second double hill battle, with the same result. With Smith racing to 6 in the first of potentially two sets, White chalked up his seven racks first and claimed the event title.
 
Tour directors Herman and Angela Parker thanked Dayne Miller and his Steakhorse staff, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, Bar Pool Tables, Delta 13 Racks, AZ Billiards and Professor Q-Ball. The next stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for this weekend (Dec. 1-2), will be hosted by Speakeazy Billiards in Sanford, NC.
 

Wisconsin Billiards Hall of Fame Inducts Inaugural Class

Jerry Briesath, Bruce Venzke, Willie Munson and Connie O’Heron

The Wisconsin Billiards Hall of Fame held their Inaugural Hall of Fame Weekend at the Mad Apple Billiards in Appleton, WI on October 12-14th, 2018.  
 
On Friday evening there were 135 people in attendance for the induction ceremony and dinner.  The inaugural Hall of Fame class of inductees were Jerry Briesath, Willie Munson, Connie O’Heron and Bruce Venzke.  Guest speakers included Jeanette Lee, Mark Wilson, Randy Goettlicher and others chosen by the Hall of Famers to introduce them.
 
This first class event was truly a remarkable one, exceeding the expectations of most in attendance.  The entire weekend was restricted to members only, who in addition to being able to attend the banquet, also receive voting rights on the ballot each year, are entered into monthly prize give-a-ways, and can play in the Hall of Fame Tournaments.
 
Following the banquet, ten of the best bank pool players in the state were part of the Invitational Ring Banks Chip Tournament.  Playing for chips for every bank made, the crowd watched on as Pete Heard from Milwaukee took down Mosconi Cup Team USA hopeful Tyler Styer in the finals.
 
Saturday and Sunday kicked off the main events with 128 players coming to the Mad Apple for an Upper 10-Ball and Lower 9-Ball tournament.  After two days of stiff competition, Sergio Rivas defeated Duncan Kaufman to claim the 10-Ball title, and Dakota Knutson took down Cody Wedig for the 9-Ball crown.
 
Each year, the Wisconsin Billiards Hall of Fame Weekend will take place at a new venue, and during the banquet it was announced that 2019 will move to Dave Cole’s Carom Room in Beloit the second weekend of October.  The tournament formats will also change year after year.
 
WIBHOF was formed on October 1st, 2017 as a non-profit organization that operates both as a Hall of Fame, but also as a foundation of support for pool players in need.  The board of directors, comprised of Jon Kramer, Gregg Andler and Kyle Boers and four other volunteers, have grown the company rapidly in its first year.  Currently with 11 sponsors and over 500 paid members, Kramer, the President of the organization said “The amount of support we have seen from the Wisconsin billiards community in our first year has been overwhelming.”  The website also hosts tournament flyers for the state, a large image gallery of historical Wisconsin billiard photos, game rules and more.  In the voting period of November 1st – January 31st members are also able to log into the site and cast their votes for next year’s Hall of Fame class.  In its first year, wibhof.org has been viewed over 50,000 times by more than 2,000 people across the country and even international viewers from 60 different countries.

Rivas comes from the loss side to win NAPT’s inaugural 10-Ball Invitational

Sergio Rivas

Former Junior National Champion Sergio Rivas (2013; 14 and under Boys) navigated his way through a series of round robin matches and came from the loss side of a subsequent double elimination bracket to win the North American Pool Tour’s inaugural Open Pro 10-Ball Invitational Tournament, held on the long weekend of September 27-30. Rivas downed five-time Canadian Champion and US Bar Table Champion (2013), Jason Klatt twice in a double elimination final to claim the title. The $6,000-added event drew 14 entrants to Shooter’s Sports Bar & Billiards in Grayslake, IL.
 
The North American Pool Tour was initially conceived and launched two years ago to offer female players further opportunities to compete. It was, however, right from the start, designed to eventually encompass events for all players, men included.
 
“We’re trying to get six (events) for ladies and two for men next year,” said co-founder and current NAPT President Adrianne Beach in an interview with Billiards Digest in 2016. “It’s about building a tour system, moving players from the amateur to the professional, like a lot of other sports do.”
 
They didn’t get to the ‘Open’ (men included) part of the plan until this year, and while they knew that it wasn’t going to be an easy transition, they expected more participation than they got. But, noted Beach afterwards, this first Open Pro event, accomplished what it set out to do.
 
“The turnout was less than expected, but we still happily added the guaranteed money,” she said. “Our goal in this first event was to show the Open players what we’re all about. While we didn’t get to show that to as many players as we hoped, the ones who were there definitely appeared to love the event and what we’re doing.
 
“With that in mind,” she added, “we consider the event to have been a success.”
 
The 14 entrants were initially split into two groups of seven for the round robin phase of the tournament. Each group played seven rounds, each player facing an opponent in their group once, with one ‘bye’ in the mix. The matches were a race to a combined total of 13 games. At the end of the seven rounds, the top eight players, selected by total games won, were advanced to a double elimination bracket.
 
Jason Klatt emerged from the round robin phase as the only undefeated player (6-0) in either group and topped the total winning-game tally with 66. Max Eberle (with 61 wins), Neil Vichlensaen (with 51) and Thomas Karabatsos (with 46) all finished with 5-1 records. Rivas and Larry Nevel joined the double elimination bracket with 4-2 records; Rivas with a winning-game total of 50 and Nevel with 46. Rounding out the field of advancing competitors were Neal Jacobs and Marvin Guss, both with 3-3 records. Jacobs had chalked up 44 wins, while Guss recorded 38.
 
Eliminated in the round robin phase were the tournament’s three women – Marian Poole, Darlene Dantes and Adrianne Beach – along with Mason Koch, Paul Scott, and Alex Shapshevich.
 
As the event moved into its double elimination (all money rounds) phase, Neil Vichlensaen matched up with Neal Jacobs, Max Eberle faced Marvin Guss, Jason Klatt squared off against Larry Nevel and the eventual winner, Sergio Rivas met up with Thomas Karabatsos. Jacobs moved into a winners’ side semifinal match against Eberle with a 9-5 win over Vichlensaen. Eberle had defeated Guss 9-3. Klatt earned his winners’ side semifinal spot against Rivas with a 9-4 win over Nevel. Rivas had sent Karabatsos to the loss side 9-3.
 
Klatt advanced to the hot seat match with a 9-7 victory over Rivas, and was met by Eberle, who’d sent Jacobs over 9-4. Klatt then defeated Eberle 9-5, and with a 9-0 record, sat in the hot seat awaiting the return of Rivas.
 
On the loss side, Rivas picked up Guss, who’d defeated Vichlensaen 9-5 to reach him. Jacobs drew Nevel, who’d eliminated Karabatsos 9-3. Rivas defeated Guss 9-4 and in the quarterfinals, met up with Nevel, who’d given up only a single rack to Jacobs.
 
Rivas then defeated Nevel 9-3 and in the semifinals, Eberle 9-7 to earn a shot against Klatt in the hot seat. Rivas took the opening set 7-5 and then duplicated that effort in the second set to claim the first NAPT Open Pro 10-Ball Invitational.

The “Kid” chalks up another one, going undefeated at the 3rd Annual 8-Ball Classic in Duluth

Efren Reyes – Photo courtesy of On The Wire Media

 

Efren Reyes, in the midst of a ‘retirement tour,’ scheduled to conclude this August, chalked up the latest in an incredibly long list of US and world championship titles with an undefeated run on the 3rd Annual 8-Ball Classic, held on the weekend of June 2-3. The event drew 16 of the world’s best talents at the table to The Break Room in Duluth, MN.
 
He’s known as “Bata,” which translates into “Kid,” because when he was younger, there was another player with the same name. As the younger of the two, he was designated “Bata” to distinguish him from the other player. The need to make that distinction disappeared a long time ago, as year after year, the “Kid” morphed into “the man” at the tables. In spite of eye surgery in 2005 and his own admission that he’s been ‘slowing down,’ the only difference between the younger and older versions of “Bata” Reyes can be found in his motion as he moves around the table. He’s never been a speedball at the table strolls, when he’s assessing the lay of the balls and choosing his target, but he’s a little slower and deliberate now. What hasn’t changed is what has often been described as his ‘genius’ in making shots, which has earned him a secondary nickname as “The Magician.’ To many of us otherwise normal human beings, some of these magical shots can seem downright impossible. He made more than just a few of his signature ‘genius’ shots at this 8-Ball Classic, including some in his second and finals match against Dennis Hatch. His pre-shot routine doesn’t vary much, and motionless beyond the movement of his right arm in the practice strokes, he’s the same as he ever was, up to and including a monster break.
 
Reyes opened strong with a 15-7 victory over Danny Olson, allowed Vince Chambers to get a little closer, but advanced with a 15-13 victory over him to face fellow countryman, “The Lion” – Alex Pagulayan – in a winners’ side semifinal. Hatch, in the meantime, after downing Sergio Rivas 15-11, defeated Shane Van Boening 15-12 to draw Corey Deuel in the other winners’ side semifinal.
 
By identical 15-11 scores, Reyes and Hatch sent Paguyalan and Deuel to the loss side. By a third 15-11 score, Reyes claimed the hot seat over Hatch, and waited for his return.
 
On the loss side, “The Lion” drew Can Salim, who’d been defeated on the winners’ side by Deuel and then eliminated Danny Olson 15-9 and Billy Thorpe 15-11. Deuel drew a re-match against Jason Klatt, whom he’d defeated in the event’s opening round, and was in the midst of a five-match, loss-side streak that would take him as far as the semifinals. He eliminated Michael Perron, Jr. 15-10, Vince Chambers 15-9 and Roberto Gomez 15-13 to earn a re-match against Deuel.
 
Klatt wreaked his vengeance on Deuel for the earlier loss with a 15-13 win that sent him to the quarterfinals against Pagulayan, who’d sent Salim home 15-8. Klatt then downed Pagulayan 15-13 and squared off against Hatch in the semifinals.
 
Hatch, who was instrumental in the production of this event, stopped Klatt’s loss-side run 15-11 in those semifinals, and then turned to face the “Kid” a second, and if he wanted to take home the title, a third time in the double elimination finals.
 
The two started out with a typical trading of racks through the opening rounds, until Reyes began to pull out in front, eventually to a 9-4 lead. Hatch mounted a comeback, slowly but surely, to draw within two at 11-9. Reyes, though, re-widened that lead and reached the hill, five racks ahead (14-9). Hatch closed that gap with four in a row to draw within one at 14-13. Hatch broke what proved to be the final rack but came up dry. Reyes, significantly sunk his first high ball, and broke a solid ball away from the 8-ball, which had, until that moment, presented him with his toughest challenge of the layout.
 
Reyes proceeded to run the table to claim the event title. He concluded with a fist-pumping, smile-enhanced little dance around the table before stepping to Hatch for a handshake.
 
It is a final match worth watching and thanks to On the Wire Media, and its owners/commentators Ra Hanna and Beau Runningen, who streamed selected matches of the event throughout the weekend, can be found on On the Wire Media’s Facebook page.
 
Last summer., Reyes interrupted the early stages of his own retirement tour to return to the Philippines, citing fatigue. In an interview/article with a Filipino television station last summer, the author (Dominic Renor) noted that “Father Time has caught up with him; that his eyesight isn’t as dependable as it used to be, making long-range shots more difficult to convert. His wrist isn’t as steady as before.” That said, Reyes was back in form for this 3rd Annual 8-Ball Classic and looks to add a few more master strokes to his already considerable legacy as his retirement tour continues.
 

Van Boening chalks up his 6th SBE 10-Ball title

Shane Van Boening

Appleton wins One-Pocket event, while veteran Loree Jon Hasson wins the Ladies 9-Ball Open

 

Last year, at Allen Hopkins' 24th Annual Super Billiards Expo, John Morra denied Shane Van Boening his sixth Diamond Open 10-Ball Professional Players Championship title, defeating him 13-10 in the finals. At the time, Van Boening had won five of his seven attempts at the title, including three in a row between 2102-2014. On the weekend of March 30-April 2, at what was the 25th anniversary of the Super Billiards Expo, held at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center at Oaks, PA, Van Boening chalked up that sixth win (in eight attempts), downing Johann Chua from the Phillipines 13-10 in the finals. The 10-Ball Championships drew 64 entrants.

 
Over at the One Pocket tables that drew 32 entrants, Darren Appleton emerged as the winner, downing Derek Schwager in the finals. In the Diamond Women's Open 9-Ball Professional Players Championships that also drew 32, a familiar name, Loree Jon Hasson (formerly Loree Jon Jones), bested Jennifer Baretta in the finals to claim her first title. 
 
The total fields of the above three Pro events (128) were but a fraction of the nearly 2,000 entrants (1,856) in seven different tournaments, not including a couple of junior tournaments, held for the 17 & under and 12 & under crowd of relative newcomers to the sport. Making up just over 55% of the total number of competitors at this year's event was an Open Division Amateur event, which drew 1,024 entrants, broken up, initially, into 16 brackets of 64 entrants each (a tip of the hat to C.C. Strain for her tournament directing job of coordinating this massive tournament). Each original, double-elimination bracket yielded a single winner, who advanced to a single elimination field of 16. Christopher Byers won five matches to emerge from his individual bracket, and won four more in the single elimination phase of the tournament, including a 5-1, 4-5, 5-3 victory over Larry Kressel in the finals to win his first major Amateur title.
 
By the time the Open 10-Ball Championships (the fifth of 15 Mosconi Cup Qualification Events in 2017) had boiled down to its final 16 players and its single elimination phase, the field was like a 'dream team' for any promoter looking to draw spectator crowds to an event. Half of them were former members of either the European or USA Mosconi Cup teams, including two members of the 2016 USA Mosconi Cup team (Skyler Woodward and Van Boening), and three members of earlier Mosconi Cup teams (Dennis Hatch, Earl Strickland, and Oscar Dominguez). The 'Sweet 16' also featured two members of the 2016 European Mosconi Cup team (Darren Appleton and Jayson Shaw) and one member of an earlier European Mosconi Cup team; twice MVP Mika Immonen
 
Half of those eight were gone after the single elimination phase's opening round was over. The Iceman, Mika Immonen, had been defeated by eventual finalist Johann Chua in a double hill match, Hatch downed Strickland 13-7, Kevin Cheng defeated Sky Woodward 13-10, and Carlo Biado eliminated Appleton 13-6. Also advancing to the final eight were Van Boening (13-9 over Lee Van Corteza), Jayson Shaw (13-4 over Hunter Lombardo), Jeffrey DeLuna (13-10 over Dennis Orcullo), and Oscar Dominguez (13-4 over Sergio Rivas).
 
In the event quarterfinals, Johann Chua and Jayson Shaw locked up in a double hill match that eventually sent Shaw packing. Hatch downed DeLuna 13-8, Biado eliminated Kevin Cheng 13-10 and Van Boening kept on trucking, 13-5 over Oscar Dominguez. Fighting for an appearance in the finals, Chua bested Dennis Hatch 13-7, as Van Boening took care of Biado 13-8. Van Boening closed it out to claim his sixth SBE title with a 13-9 victory over Chua in the finals.
 
Hasson returns to the playing field to claim Women's Open 9-Ball title
 
The 32-entrant Women's Open 9-Ball event was not without its marquee names. Karen Corr was the most prominent among them, but the field also included The Texas Tornado, Vivian Villareal, and Jennifer Baretta, who advanced to the finals. There was also a contingent of outstanding (and long-standing) regional tour competitors, like Linda Shea, Kia Sibury, Emily Duddy, Borana Andoni, Caroline Pao, and Rhio Anne Flores (to name just a few). The field also featured former junior champions, Brittany Bryant and the teenager, April Larson. It also contained a name that people hadn't heard in a while; 8X BCA Champion and Hall of Fame inductee, Loree Jon Hasson, who would emerge from the loss side, and eventually claim the title.
 
The double elimination phase of the event advanced until there were four left on the winners' side (Corr, Bryant, Duddy, and Heather Cortez) and four on the loss side (Hasson, Baretta, Villareal, and Flores). Hasson, who'd lost in the event's opening round to Villareal 9-2, worked her way through four loss-side opponents, eventually defeating Erin McManus to earn her right in to the Final Eight. Baretta, who'd been defeated by Corr in a winners' side final eight battle, played only one loss-side match, ending a four-match, loss-side run by April Larson. Villareal, who'd also been downed by Corr in a winners' side final 16 matchup, got through three loss-side opponents (Andoni, Shea and in the final loss-side win, Sidbury). In her only loss-side match, Annie Flores, who'd been defeated by Duddy in a winners' side final eight match, defeated her only loss-side opponent, Dawn Fox, to join the event's final eight competitors.
 
Loree Jon Hasson's credentials as a champion showed up in her first two, single elimination matches, in which she defeated, first, Karen Corr, and then, in a re-match, Vivian Villareal. Both matches went double hill to put Hasson into the finals. As Hasson was busy with Corr, Villareal was eliminating Brittany Bryant 11-6, Annie Flores was downing Emily Duddy 11-9 and Jennifer Baretta was ending Heather Cortez' weekend 11-4.
 
Hasson advanced to the finals with the aforementioned double hill defeat over Villareal, while Baretta ended what was a remarkable overall performance by Rhio Anne Flores 11-9. After two double hill matches against the best in the business, Hasson got out in front of Baretta in the finals and stayed there, winning the Women's Open 9-Ball title 11-5.
 
Appleton claims SBE One Pocket title
 
The 32-entrant Diamond Open One-Pocket Professional Players Championship advanced through initial double elimination brackets to produce eight, single elimination opponents, who were three matches away from the title. In the opening round of this final phase (best of three matches, with ties after two, decided by a single, sudden death game), Adam Kielar defeated Phillip Wines 2-3, 3-0, and 1-0 (sudden death), Appleton shut Corey Eulas out twice, Derek Schwager eliminated Eddie Crespo 3-1, 3-1, and Vincent Cimarelli downed Jonathan Ailstock 3-0, 3-1.
 
Appleton and Schwager advanced to the finals with identical 3-1, 3-1 victories over Kielar and Cimarelli, respectively. Appleton completed his title run with a 3-1, 3-0 victory over Schwager in the finals.
 
While the winners of the varied events of this 25th Annual Super Billiards Expo, held under the auspices of Allen Hopkins productions, got to bring home both cash and bragging rights, the unsung heroes of the event were Doug Ennis (assisted by Frank Del Pizzo), who coordinated the Pro events, and C.C. Strain, who kept the Amateur events, including the massive, 1,024-entrant  Amateur Open running. They did it all in four days, thanks in no small measure to the facility that hosted the event – The Greater Philadelphia Expo Center at Oaks. Also on hand to keep those who couldn't attend in person entertained were Upstate Al (and a variety of guest commentators) and the production crew of AZBTv.

McMinn Emerges at Space City Open V

Shane McMinn

Shane “Doomsday” McMinn captured his first-ever Space City Open 9-ball title, plowing through an 87-player field, besting Alex Calderone in the second set of the true double elimination final, 7-2. Justin Hall went unscathed in the 32-player one pocket division, ousting the famed Josh Roberts in the final set, 4-2, taking home his second Space City Open one pocket title. Jeremy “Double J” Jones went undefeated in the 9-ball banks division, taking down Manny Chau in the final set, 3-1, earning himself a third 9-ball banks title. Wrapping up four long days of match play, the ladies 9-ball concluded on Sunday afternoon, with hot seat winner Natalie Rocha defeating Ricki Casper in the second set, 5-0, capturing her very first Space City Open 9-ball title.
 
The 4-day, 4-division, $6,000 added Space City Open V (SCO) was held at Bogies Billiards and Sports Bar in Houston, Texas, December 1st-4th, 2016. In its fifth year, SCO continues to increase in talent and value, and professional players from across the U.S. flew in to take advantage of this annual event. This year’s line-up featured an all-star cast of phenomenal talent going head to head in a test of wills and stamina. New on the scene, Arizona’s Scott Frost and South Carolina’s Josh Roberts, along with resident players Jeremy “Double J” Jones (TX), Justin Hall (FL), Shane “Doomsday” McMinn (TN), Alex Calderone (FL), Sylver Ochoa (TX), Robb Saez (TN ), Manny Chau (Peru), Richie Richeson (MI), and many others, entertained a packed house and hundreds of at-home viewers who tuned in to the live stream provided by PoolActionTV.com. 
 
In the 87-player 9-ball field, McMinn took an early hit from Jeremy Jones in the fourth round, 9-4, but came back swinging. While McMinn made his way through the one-loss side, Alex Calderone was doing some damage of his own, taking down Ed Ambros, Tony Barrington, 9-8, and Josh Roberts, 9-6, to reach the winners’ side final four. Jeremy “Double J” Jones ousted Jason Klatt, Blaine Barcus, 9-1, McMinn, 9-4, and Justin Espinosa, 9-8, to reach Calderone. Manny Chau had an impressive run, defeating Scott Frost in the first round, 9-4, Jason Chance, 9-4, Ruben Bautista, 9-5, Ernesto Bayaua, 9-8, and Sylver Ochoa, 9-5. Playing out to meet Chau, Tommy Tokoph took down Lee Clark, 9-1, Bill Blanda, Kenneth Price, and Bob Eaton, 9-6. On the one-loss side, upsets included Jacob Watson with a stunning victory over Justin Hall, 7-4, and Bob “The Pittsburgh Kid” Guzik, eliminating Bautista, 7-6. Finding himself in unfamiliar territory, Frost secured five consecutive matches on the one-loss side, with wins over Klatt, 7-0, Sergio Rivas, 7-2, Blanda, 7-6, and Barrington, 7-3. Frost fell to Jethwa, 7-3, while McMinn took out Robb Saez, 7-6. Bayaua defeated Watson, and Joey Torres took out Kenneth Price, by the same score, 7-4. As the final eight took shape on the one-loss side, the winners’ side final four was on fire, with Calderone defeating Jones, 9-6, and Chau sliding by Tokoph, 9-8. Back on the west side, Roberts ousted Bayaua, 7-2, and Torres eliminated Espinosa, 7-6, while Ochoa overcame Jethwa, 7-5, and McMinn bested Eaton, 7-0. Roberts went on to win sets against Torres, 7-5, and Tokoph, 7-2, while McMinn took down Ochoa, 7-0, and Jones, 7-4. The hot seat match witnessed an undefeated Calderone make quick work of Chau, 9-4. McMinn dusted off Roberts, 7-6, then Chau, 7-1, for a shot at the title. Both Calderone and McMinn were hungry for their first Space City Open win, leading up to a battle for the finish line. The first set commenced, and it appeared to be anyone’s ball game. McMinn settled in, and pulled ahead to win the first set, 9-7. In overtime, there was little Calderone could do from the sidelines, as  McMinn had the break down cold, coasting to a 7-2 win over Calderone, and securing his first-ever, SCO 9-ball title.
 
Former Mosconi Cup Player and Southern Classic all-around Champion, Justin Hall, went through the 32-player one pocket division like a hot knife through butter. Hall blazed through Sonny Bosshamer, 4-2, Jeremy Jones, 4-3, Marvin Diaz, 4-1, and Sylver Ochoa, 4-1, while Josh Roberts took out Scott Frost, 4-0, Aaron Springs, 4-0, Jason Chance, 4-1, and Richie Richeson, 4-0. On the one-loss side, Jones won an incredible five consecutive matches, besting Adam Cooper, 3-0, James Davis, Jr., Tommy Tokoph, 3-0, Chance, 3-1, and Ochoa, 3-2. Following a third round loss to Hall, 4-1, Diaz came back to defeat Jeff Sparks, 3-0, Sergio Rivas, and Richie Richeson, 3-2, to meet Jones. Back on the east side, after a long, drawn-out battle, Hall secured the hot seat, 4-3. Back on the one-loss side, in a surprising upset, Diaz defeated Jones, 3-0, to meet Roberts. Fresh off a hot seat loss, Roberts did what any champion would do, and that’s fight back. He made quick work of Diaz, 3-0, earning himself a rematch with Hall. In the final set, Hall was bit more subdued, but determined to not to let this one slip away. Once again, a seasoned Hall overcame Roberts in the first set, 4-2, going undefeated to win his second SCO one pocket title, becoming the only player to win two titles in this division.
 
Kicking off Space City Open V was the 20-player, 9-ball banks division, witnessing former Mosconi Cup MVP and former U.S. Open Champion, Jeremy Jones, capture his third Space City Open banks title. It was a long row to hoe for Jones, as he took down a list of worthy competitors, including Chris Thompson, Jason Chance, 3-0, Anthony Shea, 3-0, and Denis Strickland, 3-2. Also making his way through the field, Manny Chau defeated Viet Do, 3-1, Gail Eaton, 3-0, and Norman Small, 3-0, to face Jones for the hot seat. On the one-loss side, after suffering a first round loss to Do, James Davis, Jr. came back to win six consecutive matches, eliminating Scott Frost, Jim McCarry, Richie Richeson, Aaron Springs, 3-0, and Strickland, 3-0. Sergio Rivas was dealt a first round loss by Strickland, and also came back to win sex consecutive matches, booking wins over C.J. Escalera, Do, 3-2, Shea, 3-1, Thompson, 3-0, and Small, 3-1. On the east side, Jones took the hot seat wheel, defeating Chau, 3-0.  Back on the west side, Davis ended Rivas, 3-0, but fell to Chau, 3-0. The rematch between Jones and Chau ended all-too quickly for Chau, as Jones pulled ahead, winning the first set, 3-1. Jones crushed it, losing a total of three games throughout the 9-ball banks event, defending his 2015 title, while securing his third SCO banks title.
 
Wrapping up the event, 20 women battled it out on Sunday for over $2,200 in cash, in the ladies 9-ball division. Natalie Rocha came out firing, ousting Brandi Humber, 7-1, Gail Roles, 7-3, and Marie Clark, 7-3, while Ming Ng defeated Monica DeTuncq, 7-0, and Kim Pierce, 7-6. Ricki Casper made her way to the winners’ side final four with wins over Gail Eaton, 7-6, and Alicia Huff, 7-1, while Teresa Garland bested Lois Morgado, 7-3, and Nicole King, 7-6. Ng fell to Rocha, 7-3, and Casper defeated Garland, 7-4.  Rocha went on to secure the hot seat, over Casper, 7-4. On the one-loss side, Eaton dusted off Clark, 5-1, and Garland, 5-2, while Roles ousted DeTuncq, 5-4, only to be eliminated by Ng. Eaton ended  Ng, 5-4, but fell to Casper, 5-4. Casper earned herself a rematch with Rocha, and she intended to use it for all it was worth. As the first set commenced, the players fought relentlessly, each vying for their first Space City Open title. Rocha and Casper traded game for game, until Casper inched ahead to win the first set, 7-6. The second set was a different story, as Rocha came out of the gate running, and never slowed down. Rocha closed out the final set, 5-0, winning her first Space City Open 9-ball title. 
 
The Space City Open extends a heartfelt “thank you” to the venue, staff, sponsors, supporters, and vendors for this event; Bogies Billiards and Sports Bar, along with owners David and Shannon Richardson, the entire Bogies’ staff, assistant tournament director, John Newsome, Mike Fabacher, Ray Hansen and Justin Schwarz with PoolActionTV.com, Simplified Electronics, APA of North Harris County, Vapor Knights, Ozone Billiards, Outsville Billiards who supplied Accu-Racks for this event, Crazy Erica, and RE Visual Concepts. Special supporters included Marc McClure, Jeff Kay, David Taylor, Willie Duran, and Floyd Smith, and this year’s vendors, Ron Geyer and Jerry Olivier (cues) with the Custom Cue Connection, Joe Salazar Connoisseur of Custom Cues, and Darrold Stiehl of Champions Cues.
 
Space City Open VI will take place November 30th-December 3rd, 2017. For more information, visit SpaceCityOpen.com and Facebook @SpaceCityOpen.