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Cangialosi and Pross split top prizes on Predator Tri-State Tour

James Cangiosi and Christine Pross

There was a time, a number of years ago, when almost every stop on the Tri-State Tour (now, the Predator Tri-State Tour) featured a competitor who was recording his or her first cash payout and tour victory anywhere. With the onset of the COVID pandemic and the transfer of Predator sponsorship of Tony Robles’ Predator Pro Am Tour to the Tri-State Tour, it would appear that those days are back. This past weekend, Saturday, Dec. 3, a stop on the Predator Tri-State Tour featured a winner and runner-up who recorded their first cash payouts anywhere. Christine Pross went undefeated to the hot seat at a $500-added, ABCD 9-Ball event that drew 35 entrants to Shooter’s Family Billiards in Wayne, NJ, before agreeing, with James Cangialosi, to split the top two prizes.

Their first and only match occurred in their battle for the hot seat. Pross, who would become the event’s official winner, had advanced to a winners’ side semifinal against Steve Persaud, while Cangialosi battled Alfredo Altamarino. Pross won a double hill battle versus Persaud, as Cangialosi won a 7-3 contest against Altamarino. Pross claimed the hot seat 8-4 in what proved to be her final match.

On the loss side, Persaud picked up Dennis Feliciano, who’d lost his first match of the event against Bob Robideau and embarked on a six-match, loss-side winning streak that had recently included a successful rematch against Robideau 7-3 and the elimination of James Ehrig 7-5. Altamarino drew Frank Kasatta, who was also working on a six-match, loss-side streak that would end in the quarterfinals and had also included a recent successful rematch against Jennifer Pass (7-5) and the elimination of Dennis Feliciano III 8-5. 

Persaud downed Feliciano 7-4 and in the quarterfinals, matched up against Kasatta, who’d defeated Altamarino 6-4. Persaud ended Kasatta’s loss-side streak 6-1 in those quarterfinals. 

Cangialosi earned himself a second shot at Pross, waiting for him in the hot seat, with a 7-5 victory over Persaud in the semifinals. Pross and Cangialosi allowed their one and only match, battling for the hot seat, to stand as the defining match. They opted to not play again and as occupant of the hot seat, Pross became the official winner.

Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Shooter’s Family Billiards for their hospitality, along with title sponsor Predator Cues. This event was the last 2022 event of the Predator Tri-State Tour’s 2022-2023 season. A schedule for the 2023 portion of the season has yet to be released. Consult the tour’s listing under the “Tours/Events” tab on the front page of our Web site, which will post further information as it becomes available to us.

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Big Names Fall In Medalla Light Puerto Rico Open

Alex Kazakis

Alex Kazakis, Ko Ping Han and Chang Yu-Lung were among the big names knocked out of the Medalla Light Puerto Rico Open on the second day of play at the Puerto Rico Convention Center, San Juan, while the likes of Kelly Fisher, Margaret Fefilova and Chia Hua Chen are already into the last 16 of the Women’s event.

A goliath match up between Ko Pin-Yi and Alex Kazakis would usually be reserved for the closing stages of any tournament, but here it was a match in the second round on the losers’ side of the draw. Ko had been beaten by Denis Grabe on the opening day but a 4-1, 4-0 win over another Estonian, Gert Gnadeberg, got the two-time World Champion up and running.

A shootout defeat to Jonas Souto Comino in the first winners’ round earlier in the day had sent Kazakis to the one-loss side and, like Ko, he now needed three wins to qualify for the straight-knockout last 32.

Ko looked certain to take the first set 4-1 but missed a straight 3 by going rail first in attempt to gain position on the 4. However, another chance presented itself and was taken in the sixth rack as Ko took the set 4-2.

The first two racks of set two were shared and it was Kazakis who had a clear opening in the third, only to miss the 1 to the side when a simple 2/10 was waiting. Ko took the gift but Kazakis was level again at 2-2 one rack later. The Greek was then able to lead for the first time when Ko missed the 9, but the Taiwanese leveled at 3-3 to move a rack away from victory.

Kazakis needed to hope for a chance as Ko broke on the hill, and he got one immediately as Ko struggled to find power with his break, leaving Kazakis a layout from which he took a clear path to the shootout.

In the tie break, neither player so much as clipped a jaw in their four regulation innings, forcing sudden death where it was Kazakis who blinked first. Ko had already taken a 5-4 shootout lead when the Greek missed his fifth shot to be eliminated from the tournament. Ko’s next opponent will be Tyler Styer.

However, Ko’s brother Ping Han is out of the event after suffering a shootout defeat to Puerto Rico’s Miguel Batista. The home player took the first set 4-3 before Ko fired back, only to lose 3-2 in the shootout. Another local favorite, USA’s Puerto Rico-born Tony Robles, awaits Batista in the next round.

With $100,000 in the prize pot of the 128-player Open, and $75,000 for the 64-player Women’s event, the Medalla Light Puerto Rico Open is the final stop of the 2022 Predator Pro Billiard Series and will be followed in Puerto Rico by the Predator World Junior 9-Ball Championships and Predator World 8-Ball Championship.

In the Women’s Open, eight of the last 16 are now known. Kelly Fisher defeated Kristina Tkach by shootout to reach the single-elimination stage, while Canada Open champion ‘Amber’ Chen was winner over Japan’s Yuki Hiraguchi. Pia Filler, Allison Fisher and Margaret Fefilova make it four Europeans already through.

The other four players to reach the last 16 undefeated are all from Asia, with Filipino speed-shooter Chezka Centeno and Chinese Taipei’s Wang Wan-Ling and Tzu-Chien Wei joining compatriot Chen in the last 16 draw.

The Open event moves to single elimination with 32 players remaining. Winners’ qualification matches commence at 10am local time with Fedor Gorst, Carlo Biado and Francisco Sanchez-Ruiz among those with two chances to qualify. Wiktor Zielinski, Roberto Gomez and Yukio Akagariyama are some of the experienced players who will have to win two matches on the losers’ side of the draw if they are to make it.

The Medalla Light Puerto Rico Open continues from 10am AST on Thursday with six more matches streamed from Table 1 on Billiard TV,  the World Billiard TV YouTube channel and at Kozoom.com. Table 2 has full coverage and commentary on the Predator Pro Billiard Series Facebook Page. All tables can be watch live for FREE at Kozoom.com

Brackets and scores can be found at www.probilliardseries.com

Follow @probilliardseries on Facebook, @probilliardseries on Instagram or @PBilliardSeries on Twitter.

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Fefilova Beats Fisher as Seybert’s Michigan Open Begins

Margaret Fefilova

Fedor Gorst, Kristina Tkach and Margaret Fefilova all made winning returns to the Predator US Pro Billiard Series at the Seybert’s Michigan Open on Wednesday, with Fefilova defeating Kelly Fisher 4-1, 4-3 in one of the best matches of the day.

Gorst, Tkach and Fefilova are all competing in their first Predator US Pro Billiards Series event since the ban on athletes from Russia and Belarus was lifted in the summer. The Seybert’s Michigan Open has divisions for both men and women and is played alongside the CSI Michigan State Championships at the Kellogg Arena in Battle Creek.

Gorst and Tkach both earned 2-0 wins in their opening matches to advance to Thursday’s play, when Gorst will face Tony Robles and Tkach will be up against Japan’s Kyoko Sone.

“It was a bit overwhelming at first because I haven’t been playing in big tournaments for a long, long time,” admitted Tkach after her 4-0, 4-1 win against Nicole Keeney. “I am very happy and excited to be participating again on the big stage.”

Fefilova also started the day with a 2-0 victory, against Lonnie Fox-Raymond. That pitted her against Fisher in the final match of Wednesday’s play on the TV table. Fisher, a three-time Pro Billiard Series champion, had also won 2-0 earlier in the day, with her victory coming against Canada’s Leanne Lini.

Fefilova won the first set 4-1 over Fisher, and in the second had it tied at 2-2 after a kick caused her opponent to scratch on the break. The 25-year-old was finding more success on her break than the Brit but an over-cut 9 gifted Fisher a 3-2 lead.

Safety was the order of the first half of the following rack but when Fefilova took on and missed a risky 5-ball bank, Fisher was at the table. She looked set to take the match to shootout, only to shock the crowd by missing the 10. The pressure and tension was telling as both players missed efforts at concluding the rack – some tougher than others – before Fefilova finally removed the final ball to tie the set at 3-3.

That meant Fefilova would break to win the match, and she kept Fisher away from the table with a brilliant runout to claim a big scalp and remain on the winners’ side of the women’s event.

“I knew to beat Kelly, a great opponent, I had to deliver my best game,” said Fefilova. “Every time I was at the table I had to deliver, that was my goal and I am happy with the win. I enjoyed being out there. When I go out to play I just feel grateful to be here, so it is a good feeling.”

Earlier in the day, Ukraine’s Vitaly Patsura defeated Tyler Styer 4-3, 4-3. “I didn’t show my best game because I was feeling the pressure playing on the TV table,” said Patsura. “I am happy to play the event which beautiful equipment in a beautiful arena.”

The 25-year-old recently beat Alex Pagulayan to win the Texas Open and a rematch awaited in Battle Creek after the Canadian had won in straight sets against Jeffrey Buna earlier in the day. Patsura took the first set but Pagulayan won the second to take the match to a shootout, which the Ukrainian won to move into Thursday evening’s winners’ qualification round. Pagulayan must now win three matches to reach the last 16.

The day’s final match of the men’s division on the TV table saw Thorsten Hohmann taking on German compatriot Moritz Neuhausen. Hohmann took the first set 4-1 and looked to be cruising to victory, in stroke and 3-0 up in the second. However, some awkward cueing at 3-1 required the bridge and resulted in a missed 5, which allowed Neuhausen to cut the lead to 3-2. The current World Under-19 Champion then kept Hohmann in his chair to tie the set at 3-3 with an impressive runout under pressure.

The deciding rack came down to the last three balls but a mis-played safety on the 8 by Hohmann left the youngster with a straight shot and an easy out to force the shootout. By then, momentum in the match had made a seismic shift, and it showed; Hohmann missed his first two from the spot while Neuhausen was perfect, even if his third and winning strike wobbled in the jaw before dropping.

Play continues from 10am local time on Thursday, with six more matches to be broadcast live on watchbilliard.tv and the World Billiard TV YouTube channel.

Brackets and scores for the Men’s event can be found at https://probilliardseries.com/seyberts-michigan-open/

Brackets and scores for the Women’s event can be found at: https://probilliardseries.com/seyberts-michigan-womens-open/ 

The Seybert’s Michigan Open is streamed for free on Billiard TV,  the World Billiard TV YouTube channel and at Kozoom.com

Go to Billiard TV to watch 24/7 Billiard Videos on any device
Follow @probilliardseries on Facebook, @probilliardseries on Instagram or @PBilliardSeries on Twitter to follow the next events.

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Francisco comes from the loss side, again, to win his first on Predator Tri-State Tour

John Francisco & Carlos Duque

Four years ago, during a stop on Tony Robles’ Predator Pro Am Tour at Amsterdam Billiards, New York’s John Francisco, in the midst of what is still his best recorded earnings year (2108), was sent to the loss side in a winners’ side quarterfinal and came back to face and defeat in the finals, the man who’d sent him there, Ehmunrao Toocaram. It was Francisco’s first recorded win and this past weekend (May 21-22), he chalked up his second, this time on the Predator Tri-State Tour. He once again took a loss-side route to the winners’ circle, although it was a considerably shorter route than the one he’d taken in 2018. The $1,000-added event drew 33 entrants to Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY.

Francisco made it to the hot seat match in this event, his first (that we know about) since 2017, when he was denied the hot seat and eliminated in the finals of a stop on the Tri-State Tour. He duplicated all but the last step of that end-game maneuver this time out. He got by Kevin Shin and Abel Rosario to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal versus Jason Goberdhan. In the meantime, his eventual hot seat and final opponent, Carlos Duque navigated his way through Brian Schell (double hill), Amanda Andries and Tom Crane to arrive at his winners’ side semifinal matchup with Mike Pruitt. 

Francisco moved into the hot seat on the heels of a 7-4 victory over Goberdhan and was joined by Duque, who survived his second double hill match, against Pruitt. Duque took a commanding lead in the hot seat match and held on to it, sending Francisco to the semifinals 8-3.

On the loss side, Goberdhan picked up Adrian Daniel, who’d eliminated Thomas Schreiber 7-4 and survived a double hill match against Jaydev Zaveri, to reach him. Pruitt drew Euryel Castillo, who’d knocked out Bob Toomey 7-1 and Tom Crane 9-5.

Daniel gave up only a single rack to Goberdhan and advanced to the quarterfinals. Pruitt and Castillo battled to double hill before Pruitt advanced to join Daniel. In a somewhat surprising turn of events, Daniel advanced to the semifinals after shutting Pruitt out. Francisco came within two racks of doing the same to Daniel in the semifinals, earning himself a second shot at Duque with a 7-2 win.

In the extended-race final, Francisco reached his ‘magic number,’ extending the race to 8. In the end, it proved to be a double hill battle for the title, with Francisco winning it 8-7. 

Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Cue Bar, as well as title sponsor Predator, Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui Tips, Phil Capelle, Pool & Billiards, Professor Q Ball, Bender Cues, Paul Dayton Cues, Bloodworth Ball Cleaner, Joe Romer Trophies and Quick Slick. The next stop on the Predator Tri-State Tour, scheduled for Memorial Day weekend (May 28-30), will be the $2,000-added, 10th Annual George “Ginky” Sansouci Memorial, hosted by Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY. 

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Couvrette comes from the loss side, claims first regional tour title on the Garden State Pool Tour

Michel Couvrette and Robert Calton

As Yogi Berra was famous for saying about the game of baseball, a pool match “ain’t over ‘til it’s over” either. Just ask Michael Couvrette, who, this past weekend (April 2-3), not only had to win five on the loss side, but in a two-set final, was a single game away from defeat, twice; down by nine racks in a race to 10, with his opponent (Marc Lamberti) on the hill. He fought back to win them both, claiming his first recorded regional tour title and his first recorded cash payout since he was runner-up to Borana Andoni at a stop on the Mezz Pro Am Tour, eight years ago.

Overall, it was a strongly competitive weekend at the Garden State Pool Tour’s $450-added, B/C/D Class 9-ball event that drew 53 entrants to Rockaway Billiards in Rockaway, NJ. One-third of the event’s 105 matches went double hill, three of them in a row recorded by Couvrette, on the loss side of the double elimination bracket.

Couvrette started out with three winners’ side victories over Tony Robles (not the pro) and Gary Barnish, both 7-4, and downed Paul Raval 7-2, before running into Joe Valania in a winners’ side quarterfinal. Knotted at 5 in that match, Valania chalked up three in a row to send Couvrette to the loss-side portion of his title-winning run. Valania moved on to face Robert Calton in a winners’ side semifinal, as Lamberti and Rich Cardillo squared off in the other one. 

Lamberti and Cardillo recorded one of the event’s 35 double hill matches, which eventually advanced Lamberti to the hot seat match. He was joined by Calton, who’d defeated Valania 7-4. Lamberti claimed the hot seat 8-4, blissfully unaware of the “victory from the jaws of defeat” battle he’d be fighting before the night was over.

On the loss side, Couvrette worked his way through two straight double hill matches against Nelson Tran and C.J. Chey, before drawing a rematch against Valania. Cardillo, in the meantime, in his first loss-side match, drew Jay Pass.

Pass downed Cardillo to advance to the quarterfinals, as Couvrette chalked up his third straight double hill win in a successful rematch against Valania to join him. Couvrette took down Pass 8-4 in those quarterfinals and then, eliminated Calton 7-5 in the semifinals.

At the start of the two-set finals, needing to win them both, Couvrette began with ‘five on the wire’ in a race to 10. Lamberti took Couvrette’s handicap advantage out of the equation when he jumped out in front 6-1. In the now-race-to-4, Lamberti won the next three to reach the hill. Couvrette went on his first serious run of the opening set, chalking up the next eight matches. With both of them on the hill, Lamberti opted out of playing safe to go for a risky combination that failed. Couvrette stepped to the table and completed the rack to force a second set. 

In the second set, Lamberti once again got out in front by eight racks and was on the hill, one game from claiming the title. Couvrette came back again, knotting things at 9-9 and finished with a flourish; breaking and running the final rack to claim the event title.

Tour representatives thanked room owners, Paul and Gary, and their Rockaway Billiards staff for hosting the tour. The next stop on the Garden City Tour, scheduled for Sunday, April 10, will be and A through D-class 9-ball event, hosted by Clifton Billiards in Clifton, NJ.

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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.

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2021 American 14.1 Straight Pool Championship – Fedor Gorst vs Tony Robles

 

World 10-Ball Champion Kaci Remains Undefeated at CSI Michigan Open

Eklent Kaci

The only real problem with Thursday afternoon’s match between Russia’s Fedor Gorst and Albania’s Eklent Kaçi is that someone had no choice but to lose.

Both competed in that way you’d expect two players who have won recent major championships to challenge each other, with Kaçi using a powerful break and smooth shot making while was Gorst sinking jump shots like he was on the basketball court. Just when it appeared one player had the lead, the other would battle back to either narrow the gap or take the lead themselves.

In the end, it would be Gorst who finally blinked, missing a spot shot in sudden death, as Kaçi remained on the winner’s side of the bracket with the sudden death victory in the third round of the Michigan Open Thursday afternoon at Kellogg Arena in Battle Creek, Mich. With the victory, the reigning World 10-Ball champion qualified for the final 16 single-elimination portion of the tournament and is one of eight players who remain undefeated in this weekend’s event.

Playing in the race-to-four first set, the Albanian used a combination shot on the 10 ball, a break-and-run and a missed shot by his opponent to build a 3-1 lead. Gorst, who won the World 9-Ball Championship in 2019, used a combination shot on the 10 ball in the fifth rack and a missed 4 ball by his opponent to tie the match, but then failed to pocket a ball on the break in the seventh game. Kaci had the opportunity to claim the game but committed a foul on the 3 ball, but he would ultimately win the rack anyways when Gorst overran position on the 6 ball and missed the ball in the corner pocket.

The young Russian regrouped in the second set, claiming the first two games then returning to the table in the fifth game after Kaçi missed position on the 5 ball and played safe. Gorst banked the ball in and ran out the remaining balls to climb onto the hill, 3-2. The next rack was textbook Gorst, as he jumped in the 3 and 4 balls then banked in the 5 ball again to claim the set, 4-2, and force sudden death shots. Both competitors were perfect through the extra session until the fourth inning, where Kaci made his spot shot while Gorst missed.

The match was one of two that went to an extra frame during the afternoon session, with Tony Robles making a second half comeback in his match against Edgie Geronimo to stay alive in the tournament.

Geronimo jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the race-to-four first set, but Robles used a dry break from his competitor to return to the table, claim the next two racks and tie the score. Robles lost control of the table in the fifth rack when he failed to pocket a ball on the break, and the Filipino Geronimo cleared the table to regain the lead. Geronimo, who finished third at the Arizona Open, again failed to pocket a ball on his break in the sixth game but would return to the table when his opponent missed position on the 2 ball, then missed a kick shot on the ball.

Using a break-and-run and a couple of unforced errors by his opponent, Robles rallied in the second set to shut out Geronimo, 4-0, and force a match-deciding extra inning. He then pocketed the first and third shots in the extra period, which was more than enough to defeat Geronimo, who did not make a ball in three attempts.

Robles now moves on to face Abdullah Alshammari Friday afternoon at noon local time, with the winner scheduled to face Aloysius Yapp, who struggled at times in his match against Roberto Gomez Jr. and was defeated in straight sets, 4-2, 4-3. After losing the opening set, Yapp used a break-and-run and a pair of missed shots from his opponent to build a 3-2 lead in the second, but failed to pocket a ball on the break in the sixth rack. Gomez ran out the rack and then tacked on a break-and-run to claim the set and avoid a shootout.

Also remaining undefeated was Austria’s Mario He, who needed a shootout of his own to defeat American Tyler Styer, who overcame a handful of early unforced errors in the first set to clinch the second.

He jumped out to an early 2-0 lead then took advantage of a Styer scratch in the third game and a missed 10 ball in the next rack to pitch a shutout a 4-0 in the first set. After He won the first rack of the second set, Styer managed to swipe a game back then use back-to-back break and runs and a missed kick shot by his opponent to win the set and force sudden death. He was perfect in the extra-inning frame, making all four spot shots while Styer only pocketed two.

The tournament will resume play Friday, with live matches being broadcast on WorldBilliardTV’s YouTube page as well as Billiard TV beginning at noon eastern time. Notable matches include Poland’s Mieszko Fortunski meeting Russia’s Ruslan Chinahov in a win-or-go-home match on the one-loss side, with the winner facing Gorst. Also playing is Estonia’s Denis Grabe, who will face Kuwait’s Bader Al Awadhi, with the winner scheduled to face Spain’s Francisco Sanchez Ruiz. When eight competitors are remaining on both the winner and one-loss side, the brackets will be re-seeded as the format transitions to the single-elimination knockout phase.

This event also is the third stop of the U.S. Pro Billiard Series, which features five open professional events between July and the end of the year. Created by Predator Group and amateur league operator CueSports International, these tournaments will run in tandem alongside of CSI league amateur events being held throughout the country. The winner of each competition receives a guaranteed spot in the $125,000-added 2022 Predator World 10-Ball Championship, which will be held March 28 through April 1 in Las Vegas at the Rio Hotel and Casino.

This competition is played on Predator Pro pool tables covered with Predator Arcadia performance cloth, with Predator Arcos II precision balls, and under the Predator Arena billiard lights.

For more information on the U.S. Pro Billiard Series or amateur leagues, visit www.playcsipool.com.

For the latest information on the Predator Pro Billiard Series action, follow @ProBilliardSeries on Facebook and Instagram. For Live broadcasting watch   or follow WorldBilliardTV on YouTube for replays.

The stars came out in Florida to support the Black Widow Legacy Tournament, raise over $30k

Tommy Kennedy, Jeanette Lee and Mika Immonen

The pool community at large has always been good at coming out to support members of its own extended pool family. At pool tournaments large and small, coast to coast, when a player is in need of help, his or her fellow players, and usually, lots of them, come out in support. This was especially true last weekend (April 10-11), when the player in need was the Black Widow, Jeanette Lee, whose diagnosis of ovarian cancer had galvanized the pool community into a flurry of benefit events, designed to assist Lee and her daughters. Lee, in the meantime, who visited the benefit event on Saturday, had already begun a fierce and determined battle to beat the cancer, with much the same style and verve that has characterized her entire career.

She entered Brewlands Bar and Grill of Carrollwood in Tampa, FL on a wheelchair to (literally) thunderous applause from the hundreds assembled, who stopped shooting pool long enough to welcome her. She thanked everyone and proceeded to tell them that she had already undergone three of six scheduled chemotherapy treatments, and that she was scheduled for surgery on Thursday (April 15). 

“From there,” she explained, noting that the surgery was going to require some extra healing time, “each cycle is about three weeks apart, so . . . I’m supposed to turn the big five-oh on July 9th and am supposed to be finished with chemo the first week of July.”

“The goal,” she added, “is to make it to 50.”

No stranger to pain, having spent the latter part of her career battling scoliosis and becoming the national spokesperson for the disease, she didn’t need to tell people about her courage and strength. Many of the people in the room had been eyewitness to the pain she would occasionally endure during competition. She went on to tell them from where that courage and strength emanated.

“I’m as stubborn as all get-out,” she said. “I plan to be here for my children.”

She paused for just a moment, looking at the crowd that had gathered to support her efforts.

“I could never have imagined this kind of support,” she added, “and I am humbled by it. We’re going to get through this and thank you guys for being on my team.”

Among her friends in the Tampa, FL area where she and her family live, are a number of people quite familiar with the process of organizing pool tournaments. One of them, Jeannie Seaver (the APA’s 2020-2021 Women’s US Amateur Champion, as of March 20) has had experience with benefit tournaments and along with Sonya Chbeeb, jumped at the chance to organize this one. Having become close friends with Lee since she relocated to Florida, they didn’t hesitate to give back, in return for all that Lee had done for them over the years.

“She’s an icon and a legend,” said Chbeeb, “and inspirational in so many ways. (People) can relate to so many of her experiences, with their own; the life struggles she’s gone through can touch so many people’s lives that way. She has always been supportive and helpful to people who want to learn or advance their game, always there for them.”

“We’re doing this for her and her family,” she added. “She’s always been focused on everybody else and now it’s time for her to focus on herself and her family. We wanted to have this event to allow her time to just relax and let someone else take over, to let someone do something for her.”

Though experienced at running benefits, Jeannie Seaver was used to somewhat smaller-in-scale events and thanks, in part, to the pandemic, she hadn’t actually organized one in quite some time. When she heard of the need, signing on to help put it together was obvious to her, and she came to it with what she believed to be reasonable expectations.

“I figured we’d be making $10 to $15k,” she said. “I didn’t think it would be over $30k.”

But it was. Closer to $32k when all was said and done, and thanks to the efforts of the co-tour directors of the Sunshine State Predator Pro Am Tour (Janene Phillips & Bobby Garza), it went off smoothly. As Garza set up the streaming service that would broadcast throughout the event, Phillips, with the assistance of Rob McLaren, Leah Nusbaum and Cami Becker set themselves to the task of running not just one, but two tournaments. Having anticipated the large gathering that eventually did show up, they had decided beforehand to run two separate tournaments, one for higher-ranked competition (Open/Pro) and one for the lower ranks; A & B brackets, as it were. The Open/Pro competitors would compete on the venue’s 9-ft. tables, while everyone else would compete on 8-ft. tables. The A bracket held 63 players, while the B bracket had 89.

And now, as Jeanette likely thought, but didn’t actually say, ‘Let’s shoot some pool.’

Shawn Collie and the Iceman, Mika Immonen win B and A brackets, respectively

Shawn Collie, Carrie Vetrono and Allan Ellison

The competitor who won the larger tournament (the B bracket), Shawn Collie, had, until this weekend (according to our records), cashed in only four events since 2007. It looked as though he was going to struggle again, when he lost his opening match, in a double hill fight against Steven Krogh. Collie moved to the loss side and won 11 matches, concluding his loss-side run the way he’d started, in a double hill fight. He would go on to give up only a single rack in the finals and claim his fifth cash payout and his first-ever tournament win. 

With Collie already at work on the loss side, the eventual, mixed-gender hot seat opponents – Allen Ellison and Carrie Vetrono – advanced through the field. Ellison faced Kim Burbank in one of the winners’ side semifinals as Vetrono squared off against Anthony Rotenberry. Two double hill matches followed, with Vetrono and Ellison moving into the hot seat match, won by Ellison 4-2.

It was Rotenberry who had the misfortune of running into Collie, who was eight matches into his loss-side winning streak. Burbank drew Andrew Erb, who was working on a six-match, loss-side winning streak that was about to end. Collie downed Rotenberry 3-1, as Burbank was busy surviving her double hill match versus Erb. Collie took the quarterfinal match versus Burbank 3-1 and then cleared his last hurdle for the finals, a double hill win over Vetrono in the semifinals.

Collie would put an exclamation point on his loss-side run. As noted at the outset, he gave up only a single rack to Ellison in the extended race-to-6 finals to claim the title.

The Open/Pro segment of the tournament ended with two classic battles between two of the sports more recognizable personalities; the ever-ebullient Tommy Kennedy and the Iceman, Mika Immonen. Behind them both and finishing in third place was ‘young gun,’ Trenton White.

The Iceman got himself into a winners’ side semifinal against Les Duffy, having given up only nine racks over four matches, including a winners’ side quarterfinal, 6-2 win over Tony Robles. Kennedy, rather unceremoniously, dropped event organizer and APA Women’s Amateur Champion, Jeannie Seaver, 6-3 in the opening round and then went on to shut out Mike Sullivan. He then gave up two to Ken Black, before defeating Jeffrey De Luna 6-4. This set him up in his winners’ side semifinal against Ray Linares, who was, when he wasn’t playing, doing duty in the stream booth as a commentator.

Immonen downed Duffy 6-1, as Kennedy was busy sending Linares to the loss side 6-4. Kennedy took the first of his two against Immonen 6-4 and waited in the hot seat for his return.

Duffy and Linares didn’t last a round on the loss side. Duffy was defeated by the ‘young gun,’ Trenton White, double hill. Linares fell to Robles 5-1. White and Robles locked up in a double hill, quarterfinal fight that eventually sent White to the semifinals, where he was shut out by the Iceman. Immonen claimed the Open/Pro side of the Jeanette Lee Legacy Tournament with an 8-3 victory in the finals.

The list of people who brought this event together and saw to it that it ran smoothly is long, and though it’s likely that none of those who contributed in one way or another, were or are interested in being recognized for their efforts, that is exactly the reason that we’ll mention them; beginning with Jeannie Seaver and Sonya Chbeeb, along with Brewlands owner, Larry Wathal and venue manager, Sammy Hewett.

“Larry and Sammy outdid themselves hosting this event,” wrote Janene Phillips. “Larry added $1,500 to the two events, 20% of which went to Jeanette. Sammy was one of the event coordinators and worked around the clock to make sure this event was perfect.”

Phillips, too, was among those who contributed to the success of this event, along with the previously-mentioned Rob McLaren, Leah Nusbaum, Cami Becker and, running the live stream, Bobby Garza and commentators Ray Linares and Cheryl Baglin. With apologies to a number of contributors who stopped into the venue and donated a variety of different items like merchandise, cues and autographed items, noted sponsors included Mezz Cues, Molinari, Roy’s Basement, Predator Cues, Sterling Gaming, Bass Pro Shops, Dunnski Dungeon, Kamui Products, Shells Restaurant of North Tampa, Joss Cues, N the Zone, Tiger Products, Ladies Florida Tiger Tour, Bulletproof Break Tips, and Sammy Hewitt’s Crew – Sara, Bri, Jamie, Mika, Lollipop, Dee, Millie, Mary, Mark, Lauren, Tony, Stephanie, Marci, Nick and the Egnatowski’s. Thanks went out, as well, to all of those who competed in both of the tournaments, including, but by no means limited to, Lee’s fellow professionals Mika Immonen, Tommy Kennedy, Janet Atwell, Jeffrey De Luna and Tony Robles. 

There are two more Black Widow Legacy benefit events scheduled. This coming weekend (April 17-18), Janet Atwell (who competed in this recent event) will host the Black Widow Open at her room, Borderline Billiards in Bristol, TN. Seaver, Chbeeb and company will be on hand for another Legacy event that will be hosted by Stroker’s Billiards in Palm Harbor, FL on the weekend of May 8-9.

Meglino goes undefeated at Beyond Billiards’ 10-Ball Tournament

Anthony Meglino (Ryan Acosta – 1801 Photography)

Anthony Meglino has already made about half of what he made at the tables all of last year and it’s barely March. He cashed (according to our records) in six events last year; three of them at Derby City, one on the Predator Sunshine State Pro Am Tour and two at the Meucci Classics. He’s already cashed in five (that we know of) this year; two on the Predator Sunshine State Pro Am, one on the first of a Bi-Annual pair of events, held under the auspices of AH tournaments and two, at Beyond Billiards in Davie, FL. The most recent Beyond Billiards event – the Beyond 10-Ball Open Tournament – was held this past weekend (Mar. 6-7) and saw Meglino go undefeated to chalk up his first recorded win since he captured an event title on the Sunshine State Pro Am Tour almost exactly two years ago (March 11-12, 2019).

To win it, though, Meglino had to win his final three matches against the competitor who’d won the Beyond Billiards’ Super 9-Ball Open last month (Randy Epperson), the competitor who was that event’s runner-up (Tony Robles) and a seasoned Florida veteran, who’d won seven on the loss side for the right to meet him in the finals (Raymond Linares). The $200-added event drew 32 entrants to Beyond Billiards.

Meglino’s path to the winners’ circle actually went through Linares twice. Meglino opened his campaign with a 7-1 win over Steve Goulding before meeting and defeating Linares 7-4 in the second round. Meglino went on to defeat Cristian Vanegas 7-3, which set him (Meglino) up for a winners’ side semifinal match against Randy Epperson. Tony Robles, in the meantime, got by Raul Alvarez and Rick Sanchez, both 7-5, before defeating Howie Salstein 7-1 and drawing Sam Kantar in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Meglino dispatched Epperson to the loss side 7-3 as Robles, doing what he’d done in the previous Super 9-Ball Open, sent his winners’ side semifinal opponent over; in this case, Kantar 7-1. Also, as he had done in the previous event, Robles followed his winners’ side semifinal opponent over to the loss side, when his hot seat match opponent defeated him; in this case, Meglino, 7-3.

Linares had opened his loss-side campaign with a 6-2 win over Erick Poveda and then survived the first of two double hill matches he’d face, against Chris Filippelli. He went on to defeat Jhay Powell 6-3 and get through another double hill fight, against Bishop Ramcharan, to draw Epperson. Kantar, in the meantime, drew Rick Sanchez, who was also working on a four-match, loss-side winning streak, which had started when he’d been defeated in the second round by Robles. Sanchez had most recently eliminated Dror Ami 6-2 and Yusan Alvarez 6-4.

Kantar stopped Sanchez’ run with a double hill win that sent him to the quarterfinals. He was joined by Linares, who chalked up his 5th loss-side win 6-3 over Epperson. Linares defeated Kantar 6-4 in those quarterfinals.

Robles was, of course, looking to get back into the finals as he had done in the 9-Ball tournament last month. This time, though, he’d have been hoping that he wouldn’t have to share the victory as he’d done with Epperson, when they’d opted out of a final. He never got the chance. In an almost predictable double hill fight between the two veteran competitors, Linares prevailed and got a second shot against Meglino in the hot seat.

While Meglino came into the event looking to claim his first victory in two years, Linares came into it looking for his first victory in three months. Linares had yet to cash in 2021, but had cashed three times on the Predator Sunshine State Pro Am Tour last year, including a bar box victory at the tour’s stop in November. Meglino completed his undefeated run with a 9-3 win over Linares in the finals.

According to Beyond Billiards’ owner Eduardo Gomez, Tony Robles will conduct a Straight Pool Clinic at the Davie, FL location on Sunday, March 21. The event will touch upon the sport’s history, fundamentals, techniques and patterns. RSVP to secure your spot at 954-434-3487. The venue will hold another Beyond 9-Ball Open Tournament on Sunday, April 11.