Tony Liang Becomes the 2011 Empire State Amateur Champion while Frankie Hernandez Takes Sundays Open/Pro 10-Ball

Naldo Troncoso, Tony Liang and Clive Rose

The 2nd Annual Predator Tour Empire State Amateur Championships was held on February 26-27, 2011 at Raxx Pool Room in West Hempstead, NY.  Raxx owner and player in his own right Holden Chin has been an ongoing supporter of the Predator Tour and always provides optimal conditions and a welcoming atmosphere for the players.
In this event, which was the third stop of the 2011 season, 108 amateur players came out to compete for the coveted Empire State title, at the Empire State Amateur Championship as well as a full field of 16 players for the Open/Pro on Sunday for a total of 124 players!

Some of the top names included in the field were Victor Nau, Mark Pantovic, Wilson Cruz, Tim Cahill, Jerry Tarantola, Mike Wong, Phil Davis, Stewart Warnock, Michael Yednak, Derek Schwager, Greg McAndrews, Yesid Garibello, as well as four of the area's top female players, Borana Andoni, Erin McManus, Sandie Patarino, and Gail Glazebrook.

The dominating player in the winner's bracket was Clive Rose (rated a "C+"), who won five consecutive matches to move into the winner's bracket final, versus the top player from the A/B side of the chart.  In this hot seat match to determine who would be guaranteed a spot in the finals, Clive defeated "A" player Tony Liang by a score of 8-4.  

Clive, who is originally from Canada, had placed in 17th-24th in last year's Empire State Amateur Championship, and in speaking with Clive about his results in this year's tournament, he said, "Since I came here from Canada, I always wanted to prove to myself that I am one of the top amateurs around the NYC area, and this would be the tournament to do it. I think I had only won about 4-5 matches in the tour previously.  I would like to thank Tony Robles for having the tour, so that amateurs can test their skills in the Tri-State area against other amateurs."

Tony Liang would then bounce back after the hot seat loss to defeat Naldo Troncoso in the semifinal, 8-6.  This event marked a strong performance for Naldo, taking his highest finish on the tour to date.  Naldo put on a display of heart and would to come back after an early loss to Gail Glazebrook, eventually finishing 3rd after winning eight consecutive matches. Stewart Warnock also had a great run, placing fourth after losing a tight hill-hill match to Naldo.

Before losing a tough match to Clive Rose 7-6, Gail Glazebrook also had her highest finish on the tour to date defeating Niko Berdzenishvili  7-2, Naldo Troncoso, 7-1, & Steve Wade 7-6 on day one.  On the winner's side for Day 2, Gail would roll over Omar Alli 7-1, before losing to Clive 7-6, and eventually Naldo Troncoso 7-2, to tie in 5th place with Amit Umadas.  

After Tony Liang eliminated Naldo in the semifinal, he earned a re-match in the finals against Clive Rose… where the tables would be turned in Tony's favor, as he won by a solid 10-6 score.
Congratulations to 2011 Empire State Amateur Champion Tony Liang for a very hard-fought journey through this event. Tony's path to the finals also included gritty winner's side victories over Steve Wright 7-4, Scott Simonetti 7-5, Wali Muhammed 7-5, Scott Bannon 7-5, and Stewart Warnock 7-6.

As a special bonus offered to the players competing in the tournament, The ProShot Glove Challenge created by Keith Larsen of Great Billiards offered cash prizes to the two highest-finishing players who bought the glove before the start of the tournament.  The challenge was won by 2nd place finisher Clive Rose, who received $300, and the runner-up was 3rd place finisher Naldo Troncoso, who received $200.

In Sunday's Open/Pro 10-Ball event, Frankie Hernandez had a spectacular day at Raxx, playing near flawless pool. One of NY's most legendary players, Frankie Hernandez played like when he was on top of his game throughout the event, which had people calling out "Frankie's Back".  Frankie's road to the finals included wins over Tony Robles 8-3, Chris Laz 8-3, and Oscar Bonilla 8-5 in the hot seat match.

After Tony's early loss to Frankie, he came back on the one-loss side to defeat Keith Larsen 8-5, Ginky SanSouci 8-3, Mike Fingers 8-6, Joey Korsiak 8-6, George Rodriguez 8-5, and Oscar Bonilla 8-5.

In the finals it was a match up between two NY greats… and while Frankie looked to run away with the set, Tony put up a good fight and battled back to keep it close, but in the end it was Frankie who came out on top at 9-6.