Watanabe goes undefeated to chalk up his first 2018 Tri-State victory

Jim Gutierrez and Max Watanabe
Though it would be Max Watanabe’s first 2018 Tri-State win, it would be his second win of the 2017-2018 Tri-State season, which begins in the summer of a given year and ends in the summer of the next. Last November, Watanabe claimed a Tri-State title by downing Jaydev Zaveri in the finals of a Tri-State stop at Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY. He returned to Steinway Billiards on the weekend of June 2-3 to chalk up his second, undefeated win on the tour. The $1,500-added event drew 44 entrants to Steinway.
Watanabe faced separate opponents in the hot seat and finals of this event; Matt Klein in the hot seat match and Jim Gutierrez in the finals. Following victories over Tony Liang, Duc Lam, Eugene Ok and Bob Toomey, Watanabe advanced to his match against Klein with a 7-3 win over John Stiles in one winners’ side semifinal, as Klein advanced to meet him with a 7-2 win over Debra Pritchett. Watanabe claimed the hot seat with an 8-3 win over Pritchett and waited on Gutierrez.
Gutierrez’ loss-side run had begun with a 5-2 loss at the hands of Pritchett in a winners’ side quarterfinal. He opened his loss-side campaign with a 6-2 win over Juan Melendez, and backed it up with a 6-4 win over Ron Bernardo. This set Guttierez up with a re-match against Pritchett. Stiles drew Ada Lio, who’d defeated Ambi Estevez 6-4 and Duc Lam 10-8 to reach him.
The two men (Gutierrez and Stiles) were facing the 7th and 8th top-ranked women on the tour (Pritchett and Lio, respectively). Gutierrez eliminated Pritchett 6-4. Lio advanced to meet Gutierrez in the quarterfinals with a 7-5 win over Stiles.
Gutierrez gave up only a single rack on his way to a 6-1 victory over Lio. He concluded his trip back to the finals with a 7-4 victory over Klein in the semifinals. Watanabe concluded his undefeated run and claimed the event title with a 10-7 victory over Gutierrez in the finals.
Tour representatives thanked Manny Stamatakis and his Steinway Billiards’ staff for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui Tips, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, Human Kinetics, Pool & Billiards, Professor Q Ball, Bender Cues, and DIGICUE OB. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for Sunday, June 10, will be hosted by Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY.