Watanabe goes undefeated to win Predator Tri-State at Clifton Billiards

Max Watanabe and Nishant Narang

Max Watanabe has joined a thankfully growing list of New York City’s tri-state competitors in returning to area tables, unofficially announcing that return with an undefeated run on the Predator Tri-State Tour this past weekend (Sat., Oct. 3). He stretched the geographic definition of New York’s “tri state area” a couple of weeks ago when he competed in the US Open Pool  Championships in Atlantic City, finishing out of the money. This most recent win was his first cash finish on the tour since February, 2020. The $500-added event drew 26 entrants to Clifton Billiards in Clifton, NJ.

Watanabe advanced through the field to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal against Julian Tierney, as the eventual runner-up, Nishant Narang, squared off against another recently-back-at-the-tables, Mike Strassberg. Watanabe and Tierney battled to double hill before Watanabe advanced to the hot seat match. Narang joined him for their first of two, after downing Strassberg 6-3. Watanabe claimed the hot seat 8-4.

On the loss side, in the first money round, Tierney and Strassberg ran right into their second straight loss. Tierney was defeated 7-2 by Joann Mason Parker, who’d eliminated Pashk Gjini 7-2 and Hoa Vu 7-1 to reach him. Strassberg fell to K.C. Clayton, who’d previously gotten by David Fitzpatrick 6-3 and survived a double hill fight against Steve Root.

Parker took the quarterfinal match 9-4 over Clayton but had her loss-side run ended by Narang in the semifinals. An 8-6 win sent Narang to the finals for Round Two of his bout with Watanabe.

The second round played out in much the same way as the first. Watanabe defeated Narang a second time 8-4 to claim the event title.

Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Clifton Billiards, as well as title sponsor Predator Cues, Ozone Billiards, Sterling Gaming, Kamui Tips, Phil Cappelle, Blue Book Publishing, Human Kinetics, Pool & Billiards, Romer Trophies and Professor Q Ball. The next stop on the Predator Tri-State Tour, scheduled for the weekend of Oct. 23-24, will be hosted by New City in Woodside, NY.