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Robbie Saez wins in Hamden

Robb Saez with Mika Immonen

When Mike Zuglan brings his Joss Northeast 9-Ball Tour into any town you know the quality of players no matter the size of the field will always be top notch. As it was this past week end at Action Billiards in Hamden, CT.

38 players made up the field including names like San Souci, Zuglan, Morris, Hernandez, Saez, Altomare and more. Sal Bevilacqua added $1500 to the purse and the players went at it for the $4540 at stake.Right from the beginning it was great matches, Frank Hernandez beat Greg Hoagland 9-8, Tom"Shorty" D'Alfonso drilled Rodney Morris 9-3. Local Players Tony Frissina upset Teddy Garrahan and Ginky to go undefeated for the day. Steve Tavernier sent Rodney packing and not making the money in his first Joss appearance. Tavernier and SanSouci squared off and played one of the greatest sets ever with Ginky winning 9-8. Going undefeated for Saturday along with Frissina would be Robbie Saez, Mike Zuglan and Tom D'Alfonso. On the one loss side we had SanSouci vs Hernandez, Chris Biddle vs Greg Hoagland.
Sunday, Saez beat Frissina and Zuglan to get to the hot seat. While Ginky got beat by Frankie Hernandez. Zuglan and Hernandez met for the right to meet Saez in the finals. Playing strong Mike beat Frankie and the finals were set. In the true double elimination event Zuglan came out firing and playing great 9-ball. Winning the set 9-7 Zuglan looked invincible and got ready for set two. In the second set it was Robbie's Saez all the way, neutralizing Mikes great shot making with great safety play and then getting out when he had too. Before you knew it it was 9-4 Saez for the win. This was win number 8 for Robbie on the Joss tour and he was the defending champion of this event.
Many thanks to the Bevilacqua boys for their hospitality in this great pool room/sports bar. On behalf of Mike Zuglan, Danny Janes, myself and all of us on the Joss Northeast 9-ball tour. We would like to wish all our players, room owners, friends and fans a wonderful holiday and a great New Year. We will back in action 1/12/02 at Rhode Island Billiards in North Providence, RI.

Ray Cruz wins in Rochester

Stop #6 on Mike Zuglan's Joss Northeast 9-Ball Tour was held this weekend at the Classic Billiards Club in Rochester, NY. Owner Jacky Vaccaro and GM Rich Warren added $2500 to the purse and 49 Players showed.

Play all weekend was nothing short of spectacular and almost every match was a nail biter. Saturdays action started right off great matches. Steve Tavernier and Dan Kolacz went toe to toe to the wire when Tavernier over stocked a safety on the 7 ball leaving Kolacz with a tough table length shot that he split the pocket with to win. Canadians Paul Thornley, Jeff Pillon and Ray Cruz went through the day untouched along with Dan Kolacz. On the one Loss side of the chart we had Ron Casansio, Lyn Wechsler, Frank Piasecki, Dan Smith, Rich Difulio, Rey Rendon, Mike Zuglan and Ted Garrahan.
Sunday came and the play really became intense for the day. Mike Zuglan came out smoking and drilled Teddy Garrahan 9-3 then Rey Rendon 9-3, then Jeff Pillon fell to Zuglan 9-5. Ron Casansio better know to all as "Julio" beat Wechsler, Smith and Kolacz to set up one of the greatest matches of the year so far against Zuglan. Back and forth all the way to the hill these two guys butted heads and in the 17th game Julio missed a makable 3 only to leave Zuglan with no shot. After making a great kick and a good hit Zuglan returned to the chair while Julio did it again on the next ball. Missing the four, he left Mike again with no shot. Ron only missed few balls in this entire match. Fortunately he missed them very well and was able to win the set 9-8 leaving Zuglan with a respectable 4th place. Casansio went on to beat up on Paul Thornley to get the right to meet Cruz in the finals. But this day belonged to Ray Cruz. This quiet unassuming fellow from Toronto showed all his talent and class for two days. Great shot making and good sportsmanship are the ways of this guy. Sitting in his chair when not shooting, never making any noise of movements, giving every player he played the best racks they could get was what he did all weekend long. And it really paid off for him.
In the finals after being close 5-4 Cruz, Raymond seemed to shift into high gear and get out from everywhere. When the dust settled it was 9-6 Cruz and his first Joss northeast tour victory.
It is hard to imagine a better place to play pool and socialize in the Northeast. Great equipment, knowledgeable fans and the friendliest people you could meet. Our thanks to them and our sponsors Joss Cues, Webb Custom Cues, Capone cues, Giuseppe cases and Simonis cloth for helping make this tour as successful as it is.

Zuglan wins in Waterville Maine

Joss Tour Director Mike Zuglan

Not only did Mike Zuglan bring his Joss Northeast 9-Ball tour to TJ's Billiards in Waterville, Maine this past weekend, he brought his A-Game along too. 62 Players from all over showed to play in this $3000 added event. The area this time of year is too beautiful for words and the competition was incredible. Playing for the cash this weekend, we had Zuglan, Sambajon, Acaba, Lapena, Saez, Altomare, Tavernier, Tucker, LaFlamme and more. The story in this tournament was not only Mike and the "big guns" on the Joss tour but also some the young players and their great play.

Saturday had it's share of close matches and good play. At the end of the day we had Chuck Altomare, Tom D'Alfonso, Mike Zuglan and Santos Sambajon all unbeaten. On the one loss side we had Karen Corr, Dave Hall, Ray Suda, Al Lapena, Sylvan Grenier, Dave Rodrigue, Darrell Canning and Carlos Vieira. Cashing for the first time on the Joss tour in his 3 years was Mike Hurley from Glenn Falls, NY and Patrick Adam from Quebec. Good job guys welcome to the cash line. Also cashing but not returning on Sunday was Joe Tucker and Robb Saez.
Sunday started with Zuglan beating Sambajon and young Tom "Shorty" D'Alfonso beating 5 time event winner Chuck Altomare. D'Alfonso played great for two days to meet up against Zuglan for the hot seat. After losing to Zuglan, Shorty had to wait for some great matches on the one loss side. Playing wonderfully, Karen Corr beat Robb Saez, Dave Hall, and Al Lepena. Karen came up on the short side to Chuck Altomare to finish a respectable 5th/6th. Darrell Canning from Prince Edward Island beat Pat Adam only to lose to fellow Canadian Syl Grenier. Grenier a newcomer to the Joss tour from Three Rivers, Quebec played well all week end beating Carlos Vieria on the hill, Dave Rodrigue, Joe Tucker and Steve Tavernier only to lose to Altomare and finish 4th. Altomare beat D'Alfonso to face Zuglan in the finals. In the last set it was all Mike Zuglan. At 3-1 Zuglan left himself with a long jump over a ball for the 4 ball. Hitting the cue dead perfect the 4 split the pocket and the cue went two rails for perfect position on the 5. It went that way for the entire set and Zuglan came out on top 9-4.
What a great event at a great room only 3 1/2 hours from Boston. This northern pool room has a lot to offer any serious player. Great tables, balls and cloth in a nice room makes it a great place to play. TJ and Debbie LaFlamme are incredible host and their staff really takes care of things. It is no secret that this is one of the tournaments a lot of us look forward to each year. Our thanks to TJ and Debbie along with Joss Cues Ltd, Webb Custom Cues, Giuseppi Cases, Cappone Custom Cues and Simonis cloth.

Martinez Wins Joss Opener

Mike Zuglan's Joss Northeast 9-Ball Tour opened it season in North Providence, RI. The Joss tour's primary Sponsor's Joss Cues Ltd, Webb Custom Cues, Capone Cues, Giuseppe" Custom Cases and Simonis Cloth joined with Rhode Island Billiards and their sponsors to add $5000 to the purse. 92 Players from six countries and all over the USA showed to vie for the over $16000 purse. Players like Zuglan, San Souci, Bustamonte, Saez, Corr, Kelly, Martinez, LeBron, Sambajon, Acaba and many more went at it right from the start. With great matches running all through the day and into the late night we saw some great shot making and a few upsets along the way. Mike Lebron came right out of the gate defeating Francisco Bustamonte, the "Giant Killer" Rick Matarazzo, knocked off Frankie Hernandez and every one else he met this day to go undefeated into Sunday. Local Rhode Island guys Steve Tavernier and Joe Tucker also went unscathed. Young Nick Schulman from New York City, played incredible pool beating Mike LeBron and all that he met this day. Filling out the winners side we had Joe Korsiak, Rafael Martinez and Ramil Gallego. On the one loss side of the chart we had, Garrahan vs Vidal, Davis vs D'Alfonso, Acaba vs Sambajon and Oliviera vs Bustamonte.

With 16 players and a full house of spectators Sunday you could feel the energy in the air. Hill hill matches were the order of the day with some surprises along the way. Playing outstanding 9-ball was Jarrod Clowery of Providence. First Jarrod beat up on the hot Matarazzo and barley lost to Martinez. Bustamonte was Clowery's next match and what a match it was. This young gun stayed with Django all the was and when he caught up to him on the hill you could hear a pin drop. In a game of safe play and a few shots that let us know the nerves were affecting both players, it was Clowery up setting the world champion and the crowd went nuts, Jarrod then lost to Ramil Gallego to claim a strong third and a great tournament. But this day belonged to Rafael Martinez and his play was flawless until the finals. After losing 9-4 to Gallego in the first match of the finals he came back in the second stronger than ever and won the tournament going away 9-5.
Stay tuned to Mike Zuglan's Joss Tour this season. With the greatest players in the world playing for an enormous amount of cash, you know that this is the place for 9-ball at it's best. We are at the Drexeline Billiard Club in Drexel Hill, Pa for this weekend and a $2500 added purse with the normal $100 entry fee.
Enough cannot be said about the hospitality extended by the Costanzo family. This tournament was the New England 9- Ball Championship and a memorial to Tony Costanzo. Anthony Costanzo, his Mom Phyllis and their staff were incredible and everyone had a great time. Next year is The Rhode Island Billiard Club's twentieth anniversary and Anthony promises something very special for the Joss tour.