Archive Page

Aravena goes undefeated at season opener of the Sunshine State Predator ProAm Tour

Rolando Aravena, Raymond Linares and Kodi Allen

Pool being the kind of game that it is, it’s not uncommon to learn that a relative ‘unknown’ has won a regional tour event. Happens all the time, because an ‘unknown’ may be a ‘known’ in a given area, honing his or her skills at local tournaments and league play. Until this past weekend, the first and only time that Rolando Aravena had his name appear in our AZBilliards database was in September 2019, when he and Justin McNulty split a third-place prize in a Scotch Doubles event on the Sunshine State ProAm Tour. This past weekend (Feb. 4-5), Aravena signed on to the Sunshine State Predator ProAm Tour’s 2023 season opener in a field that included (among others) his Scotch Doubles partner McNulty, Raymond Linares, Anthony Meglino, Donny Mills, Mike Delawder, Jason Richko, Bobby Garza and former US Open 9-Ball Champion, Tommy Kennedy. Aravena went undefeated at the $1,500-added event that drew 50 entrants to Stroker’s Billiards in Palm Harbor, FL.

Brackets being what they are, Aravena didn’t have to play all of the ‘knowns’ that signed on, but he did face a few of them along the way. He got by Justin Logan, Casey Grove and Jimmy Garza before running into Anthony Meglino in a winners’ side quarterfinal. Designated for tour purposes as a ‘pro,’ Meglino had to give Aravena two games in a race to 8. They battled to double hill before Aravena prevailed to face his former Scotch Doubles partner, McNulty, in one of the winners’ side semifinals. McNulty forfeited the match and Aravena leapfrogged into the hot seat match. In the meantime, former junior competitor Kodi Allen (now 20) had his own list of well-known competitors to contend with. He sent Dan Marchini, William Shafer and Bobby Garza to the loss side, before facing the eventual runner-up, Raymond Linares in the other winners’ side semifinal and defeating him 7-3 to meet Aravena. Aravena claimed the hot seat 8-4 over Allen and waited for what turned out to be the return of Linares.

On the loss side, Linares ran into Meglino, who’d followed his loss to Aravena with victories over Derrick Santos 8-3 and Casey Grove 8-2. Lee Heuwagen, who’d lost his opening-round match to Tommy Kennedy 8-3 (who was then downed by Donny Mills 8-5), was working on a six-match, loss-side winning streak. Along the way, he’d eliminated Jason Richko 8-4, Bobby Garza 8-5 and Donny Mills 6-3 before benefiting from Jason McNulty’s earlier forfeit and leapfrogging into the quarterfinals. He was joined by Linares, who’d survived a somewhat predictable double hill battle versus Meglino. 

Linares ended Heuwagen’s loss-side streak 6-5 (Heuwagen racing to 7) and then defeated Allen in the semifinal 7-2. With a single “bead on the wire” that he didn’t need, Aravena downed Linares 10-5 to claim title to the Sunshine State Predator ProAm Tour’s season opener. 

Tour directors Janene Phillips and Bobby Garza thanked Jose Del Rio and his Stroker’s staff for their ongoing hospitality and support of the tour, as well as title sponsor Predator Cues, Kamui, Central Florida USA Pool League, Stitch It To Me Embroidery, AZ Billiards, Jamison Daniels, Dr. Billiards and Dr. V’s Custom Shop. The next stop on the Sunshine State Predator ProAm Tour is to be announced.

Go to discussion...

Eberle Goes Undefeated, Chalks Up First Recorded Win In Three Years At Bankshots 10-Ball Open

Scott Tollefson, Tommy Kennedy and Max Eberle

The last time Max Eberle recorded a victory at a major tournament, it was in his home town of Las Vegas, NV, almost exactly three years ago at the 24th Annual “Swanee” Memorial. He came from the loss side to defeat at-the-time ‘young gun,’ 23-year-old Chris Robinson-Reinhold, now better known as Mosconi Cup veteran, Chris Reinhold. Though he hasn’t been idle since that time, Eberle does appear to have taken some time off in 2021 and came back last year to cash in seven events; three of them associated with the Derby City Classic (Banks, One Pocket and 9-Ball), three memorial tournaments – The “Swanee” Memorial (3rd), the Brendan Crockett Memorial (5th), and the Andy Mercer Memorial (7th) – and he finished 17th at the American 14:1 Straight Pool Championships in late October.

This past weekend (Jan. 14-15), Eberle and former US Open 9-Ball Champion Tommy Kennedy squared off in the hot seat match of the Bankshots 10-Ball Open, a $140-added 10-ball event that drew 32 entrants to Bankshots in Dunedin, FL. They might have eventually met again in the finals, but before that happened, they, along with Scott Tollefson, agreed to a three-way split that left Eberle, the hot seat occupant at the time, as the official winner, Kennedy as the runner-up and Tollefson in third place.

Eberle’s path to what amounted to the title-defining hot seat match went through Trenton White, Jason Schlauch and Dave Stem to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal versus Florida veteran Anthony Meglino. Kennedy, in the meantime, had to contend with two double hill matches against his first two opponents, Jarred Schlauch and Lee Heuwagen. Kennedy survived them both, and downed Penera Mota to arrive at his winners’ side semifinal against Tollefson.

Eberle sent Meglino loss-side packing 7-5 and was joined in the hot seat match by Kennedy, who’d defeated Tollefson 7-1. Three times proved not to be the charm for Kennedy, as he and Eberle battled back and forth to double hill in that hot seat match. Eberle dropped the last 10-ball and in effect, became the event winner when he claimed the hot seat.

On the loss side, Tollefson picked up Stem, who’d followed his loss to Eberle with victories over Jamison Daniels 5-1 and Heuwagen 5-2. Meglino drew a rematch against Chris Daly, whom he’d defeated in the second winners’ side round. Daly moved west to begin a four-match loss-side streak that had included the recent elimination of Mota 5-3 and Jason Schlauch 5-2.

Meglino ended Daly’s modest loss-side streak with a punctuation mark, shutting him out and advancing to the quarterfinals. Tollefson joined him after defeating Stem 5-2.

In what proved to be the last match of the event, upon which rode $140 in cash (the difference between 3rd and 4th place money), Tollefson defeated Meglino 5-2. Negotiations for the three-way split of the top three prizes got underway and Eberle earned his first (recorded) event win in three years.

Go to discussion...

DeLawder goes undefeated to win Sunshine State Predator ProAm Tour season finale

Anthony Meglino, Romeo Brown and Mike DeLawder

Hall and Meglino split top prizes on added One Pocket event

In only his second cash finish on the 2022 Sunshine State Predator Pro Am Tour this past weekend (Nov. 26-29), Mike DeLawder went undefeated through a field of 70 entrants to claim the tour’s season finale, its $2,500-added 9-Ball Championships, hosted by Racks Billiards in Sanford, FL. This year’s tour finale added a $1,000-added One Pocket event which drew 21 entrants to the same location and saw Justin Hall and Anthony Meglino split the top two prizes.

The One Pocket tournament started a couple of hours before the 9-Ball Championships on Saturday, and finished after them, at around 3 a.m. on Monday morning, when, after a 4-hour, 46-minute semifinal, Meglino and Hall opted out of a final match and chose to split the money. 

Justin Hall made it to his One Pocket winners’ side semifinal match without giving up a rack, shutting out Raymond Linares, George Saunders and Ricardo (Joel) Rodriguez to pick up Can Salim. From the other end of the bracket, Meglino got by his first two opponents the same way (shutout), before Shannon Fitch put up a double hill fight in their winners’ side quarterfinal. Meglino advanced to draw Manuel Montas.

Meglino shut Montas out, as Hall was giving up his first rack of the tournament to Salim. In what would prove to be the defining match of the One Pocket event, Hall downed Meglino 3-1 and claimed the hot seat. 

On the loss side, Salim picked up Fitch, who’d followed his loss to Meglino with a shutout win over Saunders and a double hill win over Mike DeLawder. Montas drew Kyle Bova, who’d lost his opening round match to Meglino and went on a five-match, loss-side streak that would take him as far as the quarterfinals. He’d recently eliminated Rodriguez, double hill, and shut out Greg Pugh.

Bova shut out Montas and in the quarterfinals, faced Salim, who’d defeated Fitch 3-1. Salim ended Bova’s winning streak by shutting him out in the quarterfinals, before he and Meglino embarked on their epic, double-hill, semifinal struggle for a spot in the finals. Meglino finally closed it out. He and Hall, who would, as occupant of the hot seat at the time, become the event’s official winner, agreed to split the top two cash prizes, as the Sunshine State Predator Pro Am Tour concluded its Thanksgiving Day weekend season finale a few hours before dawn.

Anthony Meglino and Justin Hall

DeLawder faces Meglino in hot seat match of 9-Ball Championships

The dual events occurred more or less simultaneously over the weekend and the much-larger 9-Ball Championships featured many of the 21 entrants competing in One Pocket, among them the top three finishers from that event; Justin Hall, Anthony Meglino and Can Salim. Meglino would battle Mike DeLawder for the hot seat and finish in 3rd place, while Hall and Salim finished 13th and 9th, respectively.

DeLawder’s path to the winners’ circle, after an opening round bye, went through Mike Deere, Manuel Montas, Monthep (Bee) Hongsyok and David Grossman before running into Tommy Kennedy in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Meglino, in the meantime (also following a bye), advanced through Ross Webster, Vincent Cardonia, Jesse Link, and (blissfully unaware of the four+ hour match they’d be playing later), Can Salim to arrive at his winners’ side semifinal against Serafin Serrano. Ramel (Romeo) Brown, who would challenge DeLawder in the finals, would win his first three matches before being sent to the loss side by Kennedy 9-2 in one of the winners’ side quarterfinals.

With a single “bead on the wire” in a race to 9, DeLawder defeated Kennedy 8-8. Meglino joined him in the hot seat match after defeating Serrano 9-5. With that same single “bead on the wire,” DeLawder claimed the hot seat over Meglino 8-3.

On the loss side, Brown, en route to the finals, was in the midst of his five-match, loss-side winning streak and had followed his loss to Kennedy with wins over Lee Heuwagen 5-4 (Heuwagen racing to 7) and David Singleton 7-5, before picking up Serrano. Kennedy drew George Saunders, who was working on his own modest, four-match, loss-side streak having recently eliminated Ricardo (Joel) Rodriguez, shutting him out, and Greg Pugh, Jr. 6-2.

Brown finished Serrano’s 9-ball campaign 7-3, while Saunders was busy doing likewise to Kennedy 5-3. Brown and Saunders battled to double hill in the quarterfinals that followed, Brown advancing to the semifinals against Meglino, who, at the time, was looking to get his first shot in the finals of both events. Brown spoiled that party 7-3 and turned to face DeLawder.

In the final, it was Brown who carried the single “bead on the wire” in a race to 11 against DeLawder. They battled to double hill before DeLawder completed his undefeated run 11-9 to claim the event title.

Tour directors Janene Phillips and Bobby Garza thanked all who attended, watching and/or playing/supporting the event, along with Jana Dixon and Rob McLaren for their assistance. They also thanked the ownership and staff at Rack’s for their hospitality, along with title sponsor Predator Cues, Jamison Daniels, Kamui, Stitch It To Me Embroidery, Dr. V’s Custom Shop, Central Florida USA Pool League and AZBilliards. Added thanks were extended to Garza with Lights Out Streaming and Jacksonville Roofing, USA. 

“We’d like to thank everyone for their continued support,” wrote Phillips and Garza in their tour information e-mail. “We will see you all in February for our season opener at Stroker’s in Palm Harbor, FL.”

When it becomes available, further information about the Sunshine State Predator Pro Am Tour’s 2023 schedule can be found on the tour’s listing, here on the AzBilliards website.

Go to discussion...

Yapp wins 9-ball and 10-ball events at $10K-added, 3rd Annual Meucci Classic

Silviana Lu and Aloysius Yapp

Silviana Lu wins Ladies 9-ball

Yep, Yapp won ‘em both. And his girlfriend, Silviana Lu won the other one. 

The 3rd Annual Meucci Classic at Racks Billiards Sports Bar & Grill in Sanford, FL this past weekend (Nov. 10-13) gave Singapore’s Aloysius Yapp his third and fourth 2022 event victory, which added to his already-best (recorded with us) earnings year since we recorded his first two cash winnings in September of 2012, a week apart; a 17th place finish at the Party Poker World Cup of Pool in Quezon City in the Philippines (won by Mika Immonen) and a week+ later, a 33rd place finish at the China Open in Shanghai (won by Dennis Orcollo). 

So, the Meucci Classic was nowhere near his first rodeo. By the same token, Yapp’s presence outside of a fairly consistent group of world-travelling pool professionals had him flying under a lot of the US pool-playing radar until he showed up in the finals of the 2021 US Open 9-Ball Championships in Atlantic City and battled in the finals (unsuccessfully) against Carlo Biado. He became a much more consistently-present figure for the rest of the year, with appearances in (among others) the American 14:1 Straight Pool Championships (9th), the International 9-Ball Open (17th), the International Open’s Big Foot 10-Ball (3rd behind Joshua Filler and Mika Immonen) and a win on the Predator US Pro Billiard Series in Battle Creek, Michigan.

He’s cashed in 19 events this year, winning four of them, runner-up in two and 3rd in three. He won this year’s Michigan Open and the Sandcastle Open before heading to the eastern shores of Virginia where he finished 9th at this year’s International Open 9-Ball tournament and was 3rd for the second time at the Big Foot 10-Ball event; this time, behind the juggernaut known as Fedor Gorst and Joshua Filler. He shuffled off to Sanford, FL last weekend, where he went undefeated through seven opponents, downing Austria’s Max Lechner twice; double hill in the hot seat match and 9-5 in the finals of the $4,000-added, 121-entrant 9-Ball tournament.

Left in the good-company dust (among others) were Austria’s Wiktor Zielinski, Poland’s Mieszko Fortunski, Germany’s Moritz Neuhausen, Finland’s Mika Immonen, Austria’s Mario He, Greece’s Alex Kazakis and Estonia’s Denis Grabe. Lithuania’s Pijus Labutis finished the tournament with the distinction of having won the most consecutive matches, 10 of them on the loss side, before he was stopped by Lechner in the semifinals. Leading the American charge for the title was BJ Ussery, Jr., who finished 4th; an outstanding finish for the South/mid-Atlantic competitor. Also in the US lineup were local stalwarts Anthony Meglino, Donny Mills, Mike Delawder, Raymond Linares, Bobby Garza and 1992’s US Open 9-Ball Champion, Tommy Kennedy.

The 3rd Annual Meucci Classic’s $5,000-added, 63-entrant 10-Ball Tournament was a different story. Same ending, just a different story. The 10-Ball battles preceded and overlapped the 9-Ball battles, so Yapp availed himself of the six-opponent practice opportunity, with an extra ball in the game, and went undefeated. He got by Poland’s Konrad Juszczyszyn and two Americans, George Saunders and Alan Rolon Rosado, to advance to the 16-player, single-elimination phase of the event. Yapp was joined in the winners’ side advancement by Wiktor Zielinski, Bosnia/Herzegovina’s Sanjin Pehlivanovich, Dmitri Loukatos, Taipei’s Jung Lin Chan and Jeffrey DeLuna. BJ Ussery, Jr., who’d go on to finish fourth in the 9-Ball competition, advanced, as did Donny Mills. Joining them from the loss side were Adam Wheeler, Max Lechner, Pijus Labutis (who would not get the most consecutive win prize in this event), Jani Uski, Mika Immonen, Mario He, David Singleton and Denis Grabe.

Ussery would engage in the only double hill battle of the single-elimination’s first round, against Jani Uski, and it would knock him out of the 10-Ball competition. Three of the four quarterfinal matches went double hill; Immonen over Uski, Yapp over Labutis, and Grabe over Lechner. Zielinski downed Pehlivanovic 11-5.

Zielinski ‘iced’ the Iceman, allowing him only a single rack in one of the semifinal matches, while Yapp was a little busier, eliminating Grabe 11-7. Yapp claimed the 10-Ball title with a stingy 11-3 victory over Zielinski.

Indonesia’s Silviana Lu goes undefeated, winning 81% of her 37 games to claim Ladies title

In this, her first year as a cash-winning player in our AZBilliards database, Indonesia’s Silviana Lu has cashed in only two events. She finished in a tie for 5th place at the Asian Pool Federation’s 9-Ball Open, Women’s Division in August. A month later, she finished in the tie for 9th place at the WPBA’s Michigan Open. Her boyfriend, Singapore’s Aloysius Yapp finished in the tie for 17th in the former event and won the latter.

She has recorded her first event victory with us as a result of going undefeated through a field of 27 entrants in the $1,000-added Ladies 9-Ball event. And she did so by defeating her six opponents with an 81% game-winning average (30-7), shutting out half of them and not allowing any of them to chalk up more than three against her; Nicolle Cuellar, who has Florida-area tour victories and cash finishes going back 10 years to the former Flamingo Tour.

Note to competitors looking to take advantage of the increased amount of money being offered at Scotch Doubles events across the country: In addition to the Fillers (Joshua and Pia) and the Fedor Gorst/Kristina Tkach pairing, you might want to watch out for the Yapp/Lu partnership.

Lu’s trip to the winners’ circle went through Marge Soash (0), Cuellar (3), Palmoa Santana (1) and Jessica Human (1) to arrive at the hot seat match versus Jennifer Berzinski to whom she gave up two racks to claim the seat. Adriana Villar, who lost her opening match to Cuellar and won eight on the loss side (shutting out three and surviving a double hill match against Helene Caukin), challenged Lu in the finals. Lu shut her out to claim the event title.

In addition to the 218 participants in the three events (with some duplication), tour representatives thanked title sponsor Meucci Cues, the ownership and staff at Rack’s for their hospitality, Outsville, JB Cases, Carlos Sanchez productions, Fort Worth Billiards Superstore and Clutch Shot Billiards Apparel.

Go to discussion...

Kennedy/Hunter go undefeated to win Open/Amateur divisions of 5th Annual Labor Day Classic

Rhyan Hunter and Ameet Kukadia

Capone’s 5th Labor Day Classic, held this past Labor Day weekend (Sept. 3-4), is in the books and the undefeated winners are Tommy Kennedy in the $500-added Open event and Rhyan Hunter in the $1,000-added Amateur event, which was open to competitors with a Fargo Rate of 640 and under. Both events yielded full fields; 64 in the Amateur event and 16 in the Open event at Capone’s in Spring Hill, FL.

Hunter was the only player in the Amateur event having to give the entire field a single game on the wire, which wasn’t enough for anyone to come close to him. His precision shooting and heart gave him the victory in every match. He opened with a shutout over JT Russell and advanced through victories over Justin Logan 7-3, Justin Ward 7-3 and another shutout, versus Dan Mello, to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal against Andy Crews. In the meantime, eventual runner-up Ameet Kukadia, slowly becoming a regular at Capone’s events, advanced to the other winners’ side semifinal versus (unrelated to Dan) Mike Mello, who was playing in his first event at Capone’s. 

Hunter defeated Crews 7-3, as Mike Mello sent Kukadia to the loss side 7-4. Hunter claimed the hot seat 7-4 over Mello and waited on Kukadia’s return.

On the loss side, Kukadia drew Dan Mello, who’d survived a double hill match against Jamison Daniels and shut out Justin Logan to reach him. Crews picked up Justin McNulty, who’d also survived a double hill match, against Benji Estor, and came within a second straight double hill match, downing Litos Davila 6-4. 

Kukadia and McNulty advanced to the quarterfinals; Kukadia, 6-2 over Dan Mello and McNulty, 6-4 over Crews. Kukadia defeated McNulty in those quarterfinals 6-3 and then won his redemption match versus Mike Mello 6-2 in the semifinals.

To claim the title, Kukadia needed to win two matches against Hunter in the finals that followed. Hunter completed his undefeated run with a 7-2 win in the only set necessary.

Tommy Kennedy (File photo)

Kennedy weathers ‘challenge’ storms to go undefeated in Open event

The Open event had its share of past champions, including Jason Richko (2019) and Tony Crosby (2021). Not present was the Labor Day Classic’s 2020 Champion, Donny Mills, who was ‘laboring away’ at Turning Stone in New York state over the weekend. 

“He was doing damage up there,” said TD Carrie Vetrono, “and finished as runner-up. Congratulations to Donny.”

Tommy Kennedy was a former champion, as well (2019), and his undefeated run through the Classic made him the first competitor to have his ‘name up in lights’ as winner of the event, twice. It was not an easy journey for TK.

Of the five matches Kennedy played to claim the Labor Day Classic’s 2022 Open title, two went to double hill and two more came within a game of it. He opened with an 8-6 win over Marcus Murillo and a double hill win over Richard Broumpton, which set him up in a winners’ side semifinal against one of the former champions, Jason Richko. In the meantime, Lee Heuwagen and Tony Crosby were working their way to their meetup in the other winners’ side semifinal; Crosby arriving with a 16-3 aggregate score against Zee Zee Green (0) and Ross Webster (3), Heuwagen arriving with a 16-4 aggregate score against Bobby Jones (3) and Guy Jones (1). 

Kennedy got into the hot seat match 8-6 over Richko. Heuwagen joined him after a commanding 8-2 win over Crosby. TK grabbed the hot seat 8-4.

Crosby wanted the trophy and came back from the loss-side, knocking out Sandeep Swain 7-5, Ross Webster 7-1 in the quarterfinals and this time, victorious over Heuwagen in their semifinal rematch 7-5.

Kennedy and Crosby locked up in what was Kennedy’s second double hill match. After a long day of shooting, Crosby fell short, giving way in the 15th rack and handing Kennedy the title.

TD Carrie Vetrono thanked everyone that participated and helped make Capone’s 5th Annual Labor Day Classic the tournament that it was. 

“Without everyone’s help we could not do this,” she said. “Special thanks to Rocco-Rocky McElroy and his Capone’s staff for all they do, as well as Joel Vetrono and Anthony Fisher for helping send matches out on the amateur event.”

The next event at Capone’s, scheduled for the weekend of October 8-9, will be an Open Handicap event that will play out on the venue’s 9-foot tables. 

See y’all on the rail!

Go to discussion...

Meglino and Kennedy split top prizes on Stroker’s Masters Classic

Tommy Kennedy, Anthony Meglino and Raymond Linares

It was all of that.

Labeled as a “Masters Classic,” the August 20-21 stop on the Florida Pool Tour featured (among others) Anthony Meglino, Tommy Kennedy, Ray Linares, Mike Delawder and 28 other pool Masters. It concluded with Meglino, Kennedy and Linares finishing 1, 2 & 3, although when the hour hand on the clock was in the vicinity of 5 a.m. on Sunday morning, Meglino and Kennedy opted out of a final and split the top two prizes. As the undefeated occupant of the hot seat at the time, Meglino claimed the $1,500-added event title, which had drawn its (capped-at) 32 entrants to Stroker’s in Palm Harbor, FL.

In effect, the hot seat match between Meglino and Kennedy became the championship match. As it turned out, Meglino’s ‘toughest’ opponent (based on racks against him) was Kim Dyer, who faced him in a winners’ side quarterfinal. Meglino had opened with a 7-2 win over Dave Stern and followed that up with a victory over Tim Barron 7-4, before meeting up with Dyer, who scored five racks against him. Meglino advanced to draw the 14-year-old ‘phenom’ Konnor McFadyen in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Kennedy, in the meantime, downed Stroker’s owner, Jose Del Rio 7-4 and Linares 7-2 to draw Jimmy Garza in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Meglino downed McFadyen 7-3 and was joined in what turned out to be that championship hot seat match by Kennedy, who’d sent Garza to the loss side 7-5. Meglino claimed the hot seat 7-4 over Kennedy.

The ‘kid’ McFadyen drew Linares, who’d followed his loss to Kennedy with wins over Mike Delawder 7-3 and Jamison Daniels 7-2. Garza picked up Lee Heuwagen, who’d lost to McFadyen 7-5 in the other winners’ side quarterfinal and then eliminated Del Rio and Michael Xiarhos, both 7-5.

Saturday was slipping into Sunday as Linares finished McFayden’s day+ with a shutout. Garza joined him in the quarterfinals after ending Heuwagen’s day+ 7-4. Linares and Garza locked up in a double-hill semifinal fight that did eventually give Kennedy the chance for a rematch against Meglino, waiting for him in the hot seat.

Didn’t happen. Dawn was coming at the time and the two Florida vets were done, literally and figuratively. They split the top cash and headed home.

Tour representatives thanked Del Rio and his Stroker’s staff as well as sponsors Aramith Balls, Outsville, Simonis Cloth, Salotto Pro, DigitalPool, FargoRate, Crosby’s Billiards and Darts Supply, Straight Shooter Gear, propatchlab.com and XLPress Co. The next stop on the Florida Pool Tour, scheduled for the weekend of Nov. 5-6, will be the $A1,500-added Capone’s Winter Classic Championship, hosted by Capone’s in Spring Hill, FL.

Go to discussion...

Mills and Meglino take turns as Winner/Runner-up at double tournament on Florida Pool Tour

Donny Mills

Two, two, two ‘ments in one.

For those too young to remember, Doublemint Gun used to run TV commercials with a jingle that described their product as having “two, two, two mints” in one. Thus, the reference above, describing this past weekend’s (March 19-20) activities on the Florida Pool Tour; the Stroker’s Spring Classic, featuring a $1,000-added 9-Ball ‘ment on Saturday and a $500-added 10-Ball ‘ment on Sunday, hosted by Stroker’s Billiards in Palm Harbor, FL. 

Donnie Mills went undefeated in the 64-entrant, Saturday 9-Ball event, downing Anthony Meglino in the finals. Meglino lost the hot seat match to Mills and came back to defeat him in the 16-entrant, Sunday 10-Ball event. Gerson Martinez Boza was third in the former and Scott Tollefson finished third in the latter.

Mills downed Ed Medina 8-1 in the opening round of Saturday action, went on to defeat Justin Jenkins, by the same score, and Jesse Fonda by shutout, before defeating Meglino for the first time in a winners’ side quarterfinal 7-2. Mills advanced to meet Stroker’s owner, Jose Del Rio in a winners’ side semifinal. Gerson Martinez Boza, in the meantime, had gotten by James Allen and Scott Tollefson, before shutting out Trevor Braymore in a winners’ side quarterfinal to meet up with Justin Hall in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Mills and Boza advanced by the same 8-1 score to the hot seat match, over Del Rio and Hall, respectively. Mills grabbed the hot seat, defeating Boza 7-5.

On the loss side, Hall and Del Rio ran right into their second loss, sending Meglino and Tony Crosby to the quarterfinals. Meglino then dropped Crosby into fourth place and got a second shot at Mills, waiting for him in the hot seat, by defeating Boza 5-3. Mills completed his undefeated run with a second victory over Meglino to claim the Stroker’s Spring Classic 9-Ball title.

Meglino loses hot seat match to Mills, comes back from semifinals to claim 10-Ball title

Mills downed Jason Richko 7-5 in the opening round of Sunday’s 10-ball action, and then sent Tommy Kennedy to the loss side, drawing Travis Croft in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Meglino, in the meantime, defeated Ray Linares in his opening round, and after sending Mike Lear to the loss side, picked up Tony Crosby in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Crosby fought Meglino to double hill before Meglino prevailed, advancing to the hot seat match. Mills joined him after defeating Croft 7-4. Mills took the first of the day’s two against Meglino 7-5 and sat in the hot seat, waiting for him to get back from the semifinals.

On the loss side, Crosby picked up a rematch against Scott Tollefson, whom he’d defeated in the opening winners’ side round and was working on a four-match, loss-side streak that would take him as far as the semifinals, He’d recently eliminated 14-year-old Sofia Mast 7-2 and Tommy Kennedy 7-3. Croft drew Justin Stock, who’d also been sent to the loss side by Crosby and defeated Marcos Yalan 7-3 and Jason Richko 7-5 to reach Croft.

Croft advanced to the quarterfinals 7-3 over Stock. Tollefson joined him after sending Crosby home 7-3. Tollefson then took the quarterfinals 7-5 over Croft, before Meglino finished his loss-side trip 7-2 in the semifinals. Meglino spoiled Mills’ chance of winning both events with a 9-3 win in the finals.

Tour representatives thanked Jose Del Rio and his Stroker’s staff for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Aramith, Outsville, Simonis Cloth, salottopro, DigitalPool, FargoRate, Crosby’s Billiards and Darts Supply, Straight Shooter Gear, patchlab.com, Sniper, and XL Express Co. The next stop on the Florida Pool Tour, scheduled for the weekend of May 21-22, will be the $1,500-added Capone’s Super 32 10-Ball Championship, hosted by Capone’s in Spring Hill, FL.  

Go to discussion...

Kennedy and Meglino split the top two prizes on the Predator Sunshine State Pro Am Tour

Tommy Kennedy, Anthony Meglino and Justin Gilsinan

They were the last two standing at the season finale of the Sunshine State Pro Am Tour in December, 2019 and this past weekend (March 5-6), they were the last two standing at the $1,000-added, second stop on the 2022 Predator Sunshine State Pro Am Tour, which drew 38 entrants to Cue-Phoria Billiards and Café at Winter Park, FL. Neither of the events featured a final match because at the end, reported as 3 a.m. in both cases, Tommy Kennedy in the hot seat and Anthony Meglino, coming back from a few matches on the loss side (both times), opted out of a final and split the top two prizes. Kennedy, in the hot seat, was the official winner both times.

It was, thanks in part to the pandemic, Kennedy’s first win since that 2019 event on the same tour. He’d won an event on his own Southeast Open 9-Ball Tour in August of that year. Meglino, on the other hand, had chalked up six event victories in that time frame, four of them on the Predator Sunshine State Pro Am Tour, and three of them in 2021, which turned into his best recorded earnings year, to date. Meglino is well on his way to making 2022 better than last year at the tables.

Kennedy opened his campaign with wins over Michael Anderson, David Nguyen and Raymond Linares, advancing to a winners’ side semifinal against former tour director of the New York City area’s Predator Pro Am Tour and now, transplanted Floridian competitor, Tony Robles, who, in the preceding winners’ side quarterfinal, had sent Meglino to the loss side, double hill. In the meantime, Justin Gilsinan, winner of this past January’s Florida State Amateur 9-Ball Championship, had defeated Michael McGuire, Brent Mireles and KC Donahey to meet up with Justin Toye in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Kennedy sent Robles to the loss side 7-5 and in the hot seat match, was joined by Gilsinan, who’d survived a double hill battle over Toye. Kennedy claimed the hot seat 7-5 over Gilsinan.

On the loss side, Robles picked up a rematch against co-tour director of the Predator Sunshine State Pro Am Tour, Bobby Garza, who, after that 7-1 loss had embarked on a five-match, loss-side streak that had recently eliminated Donahey 5-3 and Monthep Hongsyok, double hill. It was Toye who picked up the battling-back-to-the-finals Meglino, who’d followed his loss to Robles with wins over Orlando Dixon 5-1 and Raymond Linares 7-3.

Garza and Robles locked up in a double hill fight that eventually sent Garza to the quarterfinals. He was joined by Meglino, who’d defeated Toye 7-3. Meglino allowed Garza just a single rack in those quarterfinals and advanced to the semifinals against Gilsinan.

Gilsinan didn’t give up his potential second shot against Kennedy in the hot seat easily. He fought for it right down to the 13th deciding game, but Meglino closed out what proved to be the last match of the event. He and Kennedy agreed on the split as the sun was painting thin, early colors in the horizon skies over Winter Park, FL.

Tour directors Janene Phillips and Bobby Garza thanked Faheem Zia and the staff at Cue-Phoria Billiards and Cafe for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor Predator Cues, Diamond Billiards Products, Kamui Brand, Stitch It To Me Embroidery, AZ Billiards, Safety Harbor Resort and Spa, Central Florida USA Pool League, Jamison Daniels, Eastern Billiards and Andy Cloth. Phillips went on to thank her co-tour director Garza for providing the Lights Out Streaming, sponsored by Jacksonville Roofing and Andy Cleary for his graphics. She also noted and thanked Brent Mireles, Jimmy Antonietta and Tony Robles for their commentary on the stream.

The next event on the Predator Sunshine State Pro Am Tour, scheduled for the weekend of April 9-10, will be a $1,500-added event hosted by Brewlands North in Lakeland, FL.

Go to discussion...

Gomez Eyes Big Foot Challenge Title

Roberto Gomez

On his way to winning the International One Pocket Invitational on Saturday, Roberto Gomez defeated Omar Al Shaheen in the quarter finals under the lights of the feature table. Less than 48 hours later, it was the same two players facing off on the Diamond Big Foot 10′ table for a berth in the final four at the International Big Foot 10-Ball Challenge as part of the International 9-Ball Championship at the Sheraton Waterside Hotel in Norfolk, Virgina. 

Shaheen looked as if he would avenge that one pocket loss, as he was running an open rack at hill-hill. Unfortunately, a poor leave on the 8-ball was the end of the line for Al Shaheen as he was forced to kick at the ball and left a very routine three ball out for Gomez. Gomez will face the winner of today’s match between Alex Pagulayan and Mika Immonen. 

German sensation Joshua Filler continued the outstanding play that the fans have seen all week as he defeated Denis Grabe and will next face the winner of today’s match between Aloysius Yapp and Shane Van Boening. 

The Big Foot Challenge will wrap up with the final match tonight at 9pm eastern time and can be watched as part of the online PPV for this event at https://www.onsitepool.com/accustats/. For the first time in the history of this event, fans can watch action on any table as part of the PPV coverage. 

Action continued on Monday in the main event with more than a few surprising results. Former US Open Champion Tommy Kennedy won a hill-hill match against Wiktor Zielinski and will next face another surprise of this event, Shane Wolford, in his next match. Wolford was the winner of a tough 10-8 match against Thorsten Hohmann on Monday. 

In other 9-Ball matches, Darren Appleton dropped a 10-7 match to Mario He, Fedor Gorst defeated Kelly Fisher 10-5, Jonathan Pinegar beat Alex Pagulayan 10-3 and Dee Adkins sent Tyler Styer to the one loss side 10-6. 

Follow all of the action with Live Scoring and online brackets from both the 9-Ball and 10-Ball events. AzBilliards is working along with digitalpool.com to help put those brackets online.

Ronny Park Benefit Memorial – Lori Oliver vs Tommy Kennedy