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Bezdan Wins Mezz West State Tour Top Gun Event

After 11 events on the Mezz West State Tour, a total of 32 invited players came to Hard Times Billiards in Bellflower, CA to compete in the year end event for its 12th and final event of Season 1. The invited players were chosen based off a points system based off the Camel Pro Tour rankings. The top players accumulated points based off their performances to play in a special year end event of $2000 added prize money plus the membership dues collected throughout the season which totaled to 5750 off of 231 total members. In addition, as a bonus, the top 16 ranked players did not pay an entry fee while the 17-32nd ranked players paid a standard $65 entry fee.
 
The top half of the board was led by co founder of the MWST, Oscar Dominguez with wins over the Filipino veteran, Ramon Mistica 9-4, followed by wins over Johnny Kang 9-4, Dave Hemmah 9-5, and Ernesto Dominguez 9-0, to lead up to the hot seat match. The bottom half of the bracket was dominated by Hungarian sharpshooter, Attila Bezdan, with wins over Phil Prentice 9-3, Ramin Bahktiari 9-3, Melissa Herndon 9-4, and road companion Vilmos Foldes 9-4. The hot seat match was one sided as Attila came out firing balls in from all angles putting pressure on Dominguez. After a few failed safeties, Attila ran away with the match with a 9-5 score. 
 
Meanwhile on the losers side, Rodrigo Geronimo who lost his first match to Tang Hoa 8-4, had grinded through seven matches against Kevin May 9-3, Beau Runningen 9-7, Chris Fangre 9-3, Melissa Herndon 9-5, Tang Hoa 9-4,Ernesto Domiguez 9-4 and Ruben Bautista 9-7 to reach the 3rd place match against Oscar Dominguez. Rodrigo looked hungry to reach the finals and took a quick 5-1 lead over Dominguez. It wasnt until Geronimo missed a crucial 2 ball in the side pocket to widen the lead to 6-1 that Dominguez had a chance to take control of the table. Winning that game and then the next 3, Dominguez was able to tie it up 5. The following 6 games were each nail biters, with each player playing inspirational kick, jump and safety shots. Dominguez fell behind once again 7-5, but in his true fashion, showed a lot of heart to come back and win the match 9-7 sending him back to the finals to seek revenge on Bezdan.
 
The finals was one to be seen. Bezdan played flawless, only missing two balls the entire set. He pocketed every ball on the table as if they had eyes and controlled the cue ball at a top notch level. His break was also in top gear, leaving Dominguez helpless. Attila Bezdan went on to easily win the set 8-2. His victory was well deserved, as he was the best player on this day.  All of us on the Mezz West State Tour will surely miss him next season and would like to congratulate him on his very great accomplishment. 
 
We would like to again thank all of the players and sponsors who make all of this possible: Mezz Cues (miki-mezz.com), West State Billiards Supply (weststatebilliardsupply.com), ZAN tips (Zan-tip.com), Kurzweils Country Meats (kurzweilscountrymeats.com), AZbilliards.com, NYCGrind.com, POVPool.com, Marty Carey Jump Q, ontherailtv.com, Turtle Racks, and fast&loose designs.

Sambajon Wins Mezz West State Tour Stop

Stop #6 on the Mezz West State Tour headed south to the San Diego area of La Mesa, CA to On Cue Billiards. 96 players from all over California, Nevada, Arizona, and several international players were all in attendance for a chance to grasp their hands on piece of the $6800 prize fund.
 
Leading the top half of the bracket was Phoenix, Arizona native Tim Daniel. Tim had strong wins over Art Garcia, Kevin May, Ramin Bakhtiari, Victor Ignacio, and Chris Fangre all the way to the hot seat match. While on the lower half, Santos Sambajon Jr. slowly but surely snuck his way through players Mike Meeker, Al Garcia, Fach Garcia, Ernesto Dominguez, Tang Hoa, and Amir Shoshan setting up the hot seat match between Daniels and Sambajon. This match would prove to be a lobsided one as Santos' experience and shotmaking took the hot seat with a resounding 9-2 scoreline.
 
After an early defeat, Hungarian native Vilmos Foldes stormed through the losers bracket with 6 wins on the losers side. Tim Daniels finally stopped the former Junior World Champion in his tracks to settle for third place setting up a rematch in the true double elimination finals between Daniel and Sambajon. 
 
The packed house at On Cue was treated to a nail biting finals as Daniels managed to control the first set with uncharacteristic errors on behalf of the diminutive Filipino by a 9-4 score. Santos and Daniels battled toe to toe in the final and concluding second set with Daniels having a very routine out with only 3 balls left on the table. Upon pocketing the 7, Daniels left himself a slightly awkward angle which would prove costly as Daniels failed to manage the carom on the 9 correctly by scratching, only leaving the gift of shooting the 9 ball with ball in hand for Santos. The devastated Daniels consoled himself with runner up prize money of $1000 while Santos took home the title and $1500 first prize.
 
A very special thanks to all of our sponsors; Mezz Cues, West State Billiard Supply, ZAN tips, Turtle Rack, POVPool, NYCGrind, AZBilliards, Kurzweil's Country Meats, Marty Carey Jump Cue, Virtual Pool 4, and Fast & Loose Designs.

Foldes Wins West State Tour Stop 3

Vilmos Foldes

The third stop of the Mezz West State Tour kicked off at Diamond Billiards in beautiful, Fresno, California. A total of 83 players braved the scorching California heat to compete in what became the largest event to ever happen in the Fresno area according to room owner, Sheri Dadian. Players from San Diego, San Francisco, Mexico, Philippines, and even a few special guests from Hungary, the field was littered with high caliber players.

 
This was the first 9 ball stop of the season and the action was fast paced and not many matches took long. Day 1 consisted of several upsets including San Diego local player Jaden Brock over Filipino ace, Rodrigo Geronimo and Lance Johnson over Oscar Dominguez. The two games to 9 the pros give to “open” players gives that boost to create a more level playing field thus giving amateurs an incentive and motivation to test their skills against the pro caliber players.
 
Day 2 brought back 24 players of the original 83 with former junior world champion, Vilmos Foldes demonstrating his ultra aggressive style of pool winning the top half of the bracket. Meanwhile, former BCA junior national champion, Beau Runningen came from the lower half to meet the Hungarian for the hotseat. Demonstrating a cool, calm, and collective approach, Vilmos grabbed the hot seat and sent Beau west.
The B side of the chart was filled with top players such as Ruben Bautista, Tang Hoa, Rodrigo Geronimo, Oscar and Ernesto Dominguez among others. This blood bath of players was whittled down to Bautista playing Runningen for a shot at Vilmos back into the finals. Beau made quick work of the young Mexican to avenge his loss earlier in the evening. In the finals, true double elimination is implemented and Vilmos cruised to a 9-4 victory bringing the $1500 top prize to the Hungarian champion. Beau settled for second prize money of $950.
 
A special thanks goes to Sheri Dadian and her mother Jean for hosting the Mezz West State Tour stop #3. They went above and beyond to accomodate the 83 players and fans with excellent service and a smile. Also, our sponsors who make this all possible: Mezz Cues, West State Billiard Supply, ZAN tips, POV Pool, AZBilliards, NYC Grind, Fast&Loose Designs and the TURTLE rack. Stop #4 brings the MWST to Plush Pocket in Northridge, CA. We hope to see you there!
 

Geronimo wins Mezz West State Tour Stop #1

Rodrigo Geronimo and Ramon Mistica

The Mezz West State Tour kicked off its inaugural event this past weekend of August 9th and 10th at the infamous Hard Times Billiards in Bellflower, CA. This $2000 added event brought 91 players from all over California, Nevada, Arizona, and even as far away as from Colorado to take battle on the green. The stacked field of the some of the best players on the west coast grabbed their cues to and headed to Hard Times to fight for the $1,655 first prize and $6,550 in cash prizes.  The format for this tour is unique in that it’s competitively handicapped; Pros race to 9, Semi pros to 8, and open players to 7. There was not a single complaint the entire weekend as favoritism or bias was not a factor in determining a players rating. 
 
Leading the top half of the bracket was former US Open runner up, Tang Hoa, who showed a glimpse of his younger self until he faced Ramon Mistica who sent him to the loser bracket after an impressive performance. Mistica maintained his momentum and defeated Ernesto Dominguez soon after to win the top half of the bracket. Meanwhile, his road partner from the Philippines, Rodrigo Geronimo controlled the bottom half of the bracket with superb play over Los Angeles locals, Fach Garcia and Oscar Dominguez until he faced Ramon for the hot seat.
 
The hot seat match went quickly as Ramon kept his fast and loose style in complete control where he soundly defeated Rodrigo. The victims of these two great Filipino players fought valiantly on the one loss side to make an attempt at redemption. Johnny Kang, a Los Angeles local, displayed his aggressive style and big break until he seemed rather exhausted after so many closely contested matches. He finally succumbed to Rodrigo Geronimo in a 9-4 defeat. After a very long weekend, the two gentleman maintained a fantastic level of play all the way until the last ball dropped around 2 am with Rodrigo Geronimo taking the first place prize of $1655 and Mistica settled for $1220. Johnny Kang received $800 for 3rd and Tang Hoa rounded out the top 4 with $525 for his efforts. 
 
The Mezz West State Tour owners and founders, Desiree Rivera and Oscar Dominguez would like to personally thank every single player, spectator, and staff of Hard Times Billiards for their support all weekend. The Mezz West State Tour would like to acknowledge all of our sponsors and thank them for their generosity; Mezz Cues, West State Billiard Supply, ZAN tips, Fast&Loose Designs, AZ Billiards, and the Turtle Rack by Olive. Next stop is Event #2 at Hard Times Billiards in Sacramento, California. Signups are now being taken and pre register at mezzweststatetour.com 

Orcollo successfully defends his Jay “Swanee” Swanson Memorial title

Dennis Orcollo

It's always impossible to know whether the addition of certain absent players in a major pool tournament might have affected the outcome. This speculative question came up after the US Open 9-Ball Championships last October when Efren Reyes, Alex Pagalayun, Francisco Bustamante and Dennis Orcollo did not compete. "What might have happened if" is the way the question goes, and it's applicable to the results of the 2014 Jay Swanson "Swanee" Memorial 9-Ball Tournament, as well. 
 
On the weekend of February 15-16, Dennis Orcollo successfully defended his 2013 "Swanee" Memorial title, wending his way through a full field of 192 entrants, who'd signed on for the $4,000-added event, hosted by Hard Times Billiards in Bellflower, CA. Missing from this year's roster were Orcollo's 2013 finals opponent, Jayson Shaw (who was competing in the Empire State Championships on the opposite coast), along with third-place finisher, Rodney Morris, sixth place finisher Shane Van Boening, Bustamante, Pagalayun, Darren Appleton and Warren Kiamco, to name just a few. 
 
Would they have made a difference? You'd have to assume they would have, one way or another, although whether the final result would have been different is a matter of idle speculation. Orcollo worked his way through seven opponents, including Carlo Biado (twice) and Hunter Lombardo, before running into Mika Immonen (not on hand for the 2013 event) in the hot seat match and then coming back to defeat him in the finals; something that could well have happened had the missing players been competing. 
 
Orcollo's first matchup against Biado came in the fourth round, and it started Biado on a seven-match, loss-side journey that would end with Orcollo in the semfinals. On the winners' side, Orcollo advanced to meet and defeat Miza Estrada, and earned himself a spot in one of the winners' side semifinals, against Lombardo. Immonen, in the meantime, squared off against Oscar Dominguez, in the other semifinal. Orcollo sent Lombardo to the losers' bracket 7-2, and in his first of two against him, met Immonen, who'd sent Dominguez over 7-4. Immonen and Orcollo battled to double hill before Immonen prevailed to sit in the hot seat.
 
It was Lombardo, coming off his winners' side semifinal match, who ran into Biado, who'd most recently defeated Mitch Ellerman 7-4 and Santos Sambajon, Jr. 7-3. Dominguez drew John Morra, who'd been sent to the loss side by Biado. Morra shut out Tang Hoa and spoiled a father/son match by giving up only a single rack to Oscar Dominguez' father, Ernesto. Son Oscar ended Morra's bid 7-5, as Biado was busy eliminating Lombardo 7-1.
 
In the quarterfinal match, Biado downed the younger Dominguez 7-4, which gave Biado a second chance against Orcollo. To no avail, as it turned out. Orcollo took him down a second time 7-5 to earn his own rematch against Immonen. Orcollo went on to claim his second straight "Swanee" Memorial title with an 11-5 victory over Immonen in the finals.
 
Tour Directors David Hemmah and Marie Lim thanked the ownership and staff at Hard Times Billiards for their hospitality, along with sponsors Kamui Tips, POVPool.com, Fast-N-Loose graphic design, and Pool-a-holics Apparel.  

Jay Swanson Memorial Brackets Drawn

Brackets are drawn for the 2014 Jay Swanson Memorial. The field is 182 players strong, with ten spots open for last minute entries on Saturday morning.

 

Dennis Orcollo will be looking to repeat his victory from last year, but former champions Mitch Ellerman, Santos Sambajob, Ernesto Dominguez and Tang Hoa will be looking to keep him from that accomplishment. Other top players in the field include Carlo Biado, Oscar Dominguez, Mika Immonen, John Morra, Brandon Shuff, Louis Ulrich and Hunter Lombardo.

 

Follow along with our online brackets, and watch selected matches online with streaming courtesy of POVPool.com