Watanabe goes undefeated to chalk up his first win in a year on Predator Tri-State

Max Watanabe and Jay Chiu

About three weeks shy of a year ago, Max Watanabe went undefeated to claim a Predator Tri-State Tour title, competing in Clifton, NJ. About two weeks ago, he was runner-up to Sean Zeng in Mhet Vergara’s Pro Am (MVP) Tour’s Raxx Classic out on Long Island. This past weekend (Saturday, Sept. 10), he went undefeated to chalk up his first 2022 title at a Predator Tri-State stop at Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY. He has a ways to go before he can match his best recorded earnings year (2019), but he’s more than halfway there now and working on it. The $1,000-added event drew 28 entrants to Cue Bar.

Watanabe got by Mikhail Kim, Lidio Ramirez and survived a double hill battle against Julian Tierney to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal against Jose Estevez. Bob Toomey, in the meantime, worked his way through Brandonne Alli, Bianca Martinez and Pat Meyers to arrive at his winners’ side semifinal match versus the eventual runner-up Jay Chiu.

Watanabe and Estevez locked up in a double hill fight that did eventually send Watanabe to the hot seat match, where he was joined by Toomey, who’d sent Chiu to the loss side 6-4. Toomey came within a game of forcing a single, deciding match, but Watanabe edged out in front toward the end and claimed the hot seat.

Chiu moved over and picked up Alli, who’d followed his opening round loss to Toomey with five straight loss-side wins which had recently eliminated Pat Myers, double hill, and Paul Lyons 6-1. Estevez drew Julian Tierney, who’d followed his winners’ side quarterfinal loss to Watanabe with wins over Basdeo Sookhai 7-5 and Lidio Ramirez 7-4.

Chiu and Tierney advanced to the quarterfinals; Chiu, 6-1 over Alli and Tierney, 7-1 over Estevez. Chiu eliminated Tierney 7-3 in those quarterfinals to earn his rematch against Toomey in the semifinals.

Chiu got his shot at Watanabe, waiting for him in the hot seat, with a 6-3 win over Toomey in those semifinals. Chiu and Watanabe battled to double hill in the finals that followed, before Watanabe completed his undefeated run to claim the event title.

Tournament director Dan Cintron and tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Cue Bar for their hospitality, along with title sponsor Predator Cues, Poison Cues, Arcos 2 Balls, Ozone Billiards, Sterling Billiards, Kamui, Hustlin’ USA Clothing, Bloodworth Ball Cleaner, Billiard Engineering, Joe Romer Trophies, Phil Cappelle Publications, Pool & Billiards and Billiards Digest. The next Predator Tri-State event, scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 5, will be hosted by Shooter’s Family Billiards in Wayne, NJ.

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