The Next Stop on the Predator Pro-Am Tour is...
 Stop #7
March 14-15

$1000 Added
ABCD Saturday at Noon
Open/Pro Sunday at Noon

Cue Bar
45-18 Bell Blvd
Bayside, NY 11361
718.631.2646
directions
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Click here for full 2015 Predator Pro-Am Tour Schedule
 
Jeffrey Ignacio Claims Second Predator Tour Win with Stop #5 at Cue Bar
 
L-R Tony Robles (3rd), Lee Kang (2nd), Jeffrey Ignacio (1st), Elvis Rodriguez (4th)
Story & Photo by Alison Fischer / NYC Grind
 
Following his winning romp at the US Bar Table Championships in Reno where he took the 10-Ball, 8-Ball, and All-Around, Jeffrey Ignacio headed east to New York, where he dropped in to the Predator Pro/Am Tour’s fifth stop of 2015. The event, held at Cue Bar in Bayside, NY (Queens) on March 1, would be Ignacio’s second appearance on the tour, as he won the tour’s season opener at Steinway back in January.
In this event, Ignacio came out on top of the winner’s bracket and went to the hot seat match after defeating area players Elvis Rodriguez (7-4) and Eugene Ok (7-2). Meeting him in the final of the winner’s bracket was tour founder Tony Robles, who had a prior 7-5 win against another strong young player based in New York, Lee Kang. Their match for the hot seat would be closely contended and go to 6-6 after Robles trailed 5-6. At hill-hill, Robles made two balls but scratched, turning over the final rack to Ignacio for the win.
Jeffrey Ignacio in the hot seat match vs Robles. (Photo: Alison Fischer)
Making his way through the loss bracket would be local top amateur Elvis Rodriguez, who eliminated Eugene Ok (7-4) to move into the quarterfinal. There, he would match up with Lee Kang, who escaped a hill-hill match his friend Mike Wong (7-6). Kang, who hails from Korea and plays and works out of Carom Cafe in Queens, has had a few strong appearances on the tour since coming to New York in the fall of 2014. Kang again played strong and would go on to the final after a 7-4 win over Elvis Rodriguez and a near-sweep of the semifinal, only allowing Tony Robles to win one rack for a final score of 7-1.
In similar fashion, undefeated Jeffrey Ignacio left Lee Kang in the dust to lead the final 6-0, before making his first misstep with a dry break. Kang then made the one and the two, but left himself having to shoot over the eight to play the three and missed. Ignacio had no direct shot on the three, and attempted a carom into the seven but missed, while leaving the cue ball tied up on the seven. Kang gave the shot back, and Ignacio fouled on a masse attempt, leading to Kang’s first rack of the match.
Lee Kang had a tall order to fill after trailing in the final 6-0. Keeping his composure solid and having nothing to lose, Kang went on to win the next rack to make it 2-6 and had a chance to go 3-6, but his 8 ball shot down the rail caught the corner of the side pocket, turning over the game for Ignacio to go 7-2. However, Ignacio also slipped up with a surprising miss in the following rack, allowing an easy out to make it 7-3. Kang made a ball on his next break, but was hooked on the one and pushed out. With no view of the one, Ignacio returned the shot, and Kang jumped, missing it but making a good hit. It was then a battle for the 10 ball, and Ignacio missed a carom attempt, allowing Kang to put another on the board.
Ignacio also let the next rack get away from him, with missed a back-cut on the ten to get on the hill…and instead, Kang got within two, trailing 5-7. The following game would put Ignacio on the hill at 8-5, but his next break ended up to be unfruitful, and Kang put another mark up to stay alive and trail 6-8. However, Kang’s comeback would end there, as Ignacio closed the door to end up the winner at 9-6.
Both players showed great sportsmanship and put on an entertaining performance for the spectators at Cue Bar, congratulations to Jeffrey Ignacio and Lee Kang.
The Predator Pro/Am Tour would like to give special thanks to its sponsors for their support: Predator Cues, The National Amateur Pool League, Delta-13 Racks, NYC Grind, PoolOnTheNet.com, Gotham City Technologies, and Ozone Billiards.
The next event on the Predator Pro/Am Tour will be Stop #7 at Cue Bar in Bayside, NY on March 14-15.
Complete Payouts Open/Pro
1st: Jeffrey Ignacio – $500
2nd: Lee Kang – $300
3rd: Tony Robles – $150
First-Time Winner Bud Robideau Takes Predator Am 9-Ball at Cue Bar
 
L-R Ron Mason (4th), Carl Yusuf Khan (2nd), Chris Brooks (3rd), Bud Robideau (1st)
Story & Photo by Alison Fischer / NYC Grind
 
After falling short in the hot seat match, Bud Robideau of Kingston, NY made a turnaround to stake out his first-ever win on the Predator Pro/Am Tour on the weekend of February 28-March 1 at Cue Bar in Bayside, NY. In what was the tour’s fifth stop of 2015, Robideau, who began playing on the tour in 2014, made it through five successful matches before being toppled by Carl Yusuf Khan. To get to that point, Robideau’s run included wins over Jud Parker, Joe Wilson Torres, Chris Brooks, Jamiyl Adams, and Joe Gibbons.
It was then that he took on Khan, who is a regular competitor on both the Predator and the Tri-State tours. Khan had another strong performance to follow up his recent win on the Tri-State at Rockaway…as he went through to the final match at Cue Bar, undefeated. Khan landed in the “hot seat” to wait for the final after a 7-2 win over Robideau, after his strong 7-3 win over former Predator winner Ron Mason.
Taking the spotlight on the loss side was one of the players on Robideau’s hit list, Long Island player Chris Brooks. Brooks made a rebound from his loss to Robideau, and continued on to secure six match wins, which was capped off by a 7-5 win over former tour stop winner Jamiyl Adams in the quarterfinal, his second victory in the event against Adams.
Brooks then faced Robideau for the second time in the tournament. This match would come down to the very last game, at 6-6—which is when Robideau played a winning safety. While Brooks got a fair hit on the ball, he left an open shot, and Robideau ran out the rack for the win.
In Robideau’s second take against Carl Yusuf Khan in the final, this match would also go down to the wire. They also battled to the very last game—in which a missed one ball shot by Khan turned the table to Robideau, who ran out the rack to finish on top at 9-8.
Following his run to victory, NYC Grind caught up with Bud Robideau to hear about his perspective on the turning points for his game.
“After a big struggle and barely squeaking out a win in the semi final, I knew I had to step up my game for the final. Carl beat me the winner’s bracket, and only missed one shot the whole set. I just tried to stay calm and be thankful to have the chance to play in the final. Carl missed a couple shots early, which gave me a little lead and allowed me to let my stroke out. I just tried to stay focused and play smart shots, and everything worked out. I can’t believe the adrenaline rush after winning tournament,” Bud explained.
Congratulations to Bud Robideau, Carl Yusuf Khan, and all of the top finishers at Cue Bar.
The Predator Pro/Am Tour would like to give special thanks to its sponsors for their support: Predator Cues, The National Amateur Pool League, Delta-13 Racks, NYC Grind, PoolOnTheNet.com, Gotham City Technologies, and Ozone Billiards.
The next event on the Predator Pro/Am Tour will be Stop #7 at Cue Bar in Bayside, NY on March 14-15.
Complete Payouts ABCD
1st: Bud Robideau – $1,000
2nd: Carl Yusuf Khan – $600
3rd: Chris Brooks – $400
4th: Ron Mason – $250
5th/6th: Joe Gibbons, Steve Wright – $100
7th/8th: Jamiyl Adams, Dave Shlemperis – $70
Amir Uddin Takes the 2015 Empire State Amateur Championship for His First Predator Win
 
L-R Ray Feliciano, Amir Uddin, Arturo Reyes, Mike Panzarella
Story & Photo by Alison Fischer / NYC Grind
 
Finishing third at the Predator Pro/Am Tour’s third stop of 2015 clearly wasn’t good enough for longtime New York player Amir Uddin…because on the very next weekend, he outdid himself and won his first-ever title on the tour—the Empire State Amateur 9-Ball Championships.
Uddin, who plays regularly Steinway Billiards (where he took third on February 15 and had a runner-up finish in 2014), was not to be held back by a single player over the course of the two-day Empire State event at Raxx Pool Room in West Hempstead, NY.
Out of 101 players, Uddin went undefeated to land at the top and take the title. On his way through the winner’s side of the bracket, none of his opponents got within range of winning—as his run included wins over Jamiyl Adams, Mark Perel (7-3), Andrew Cleary (7-3), Todd Trent (7-2), and George Poltorak (7-4), which sent him into the winner’s side final.
Mike Panzarella, a Raxx-based top amateur and winner of 2014 Predator Stop #21, also had a strong performance in this event, and would be the player to come out of the upper half of the bracket and meet Uddin in the hot seat match, after defeating another notable tristate area player, Alex Osipov (7-4).
Stealing the show on the loss side of the bracket was tour regular Ray Feliciano, who has been on a hot streak with first and second place finishes on the Tri-State Tour. Feliciano may have lost his very first match of the event at Raxx to local Long Island player Mike Ettl, but it did not slow him down. Feliciano went on a tear, taking down eleven straight opponents, including Arturo Reyes (7-3) in the quarterfinal, who had also been impressive with dominant score lines on his way to finishing in fourth place.
Waiting in the semifinal match for Feliciano was Mike Panzarella, following his loss in the hot seat match. This close match was where Feliciano’s run ended, as Panzarella closed the door at 7-5, putting him into the final for a second chance at Amir Uddin. This final match for the title would be a single “extended-format” race to eight or ten. As Uddin was undefeated, he would win the match if he got to eight games, but if Panzarella mad it to eight first, the set would be extended to ten for them both.
With the match running into the early morning hours, both players showed signs of fatigue, but did not let up. The match stayed close, and it came down to 7-7. In the fifteenth rack, Uddin missed a four ball and Panzarella then made a failed attempted at banking the ball. Uddin then ran out the rack to finalize his undefeated win with a score of 8-7 against Panzarella.
The Predator Pro/Am Tour would like to give special thanks to its sponsors for their support: Predator Cues, The National Amateur Pool League, Delta-13 Racks, NYC Grind, PoolOnTheNet.com, Gotham City Technologies, and Ozone Billiards.
The next event on the Predator Pro/Am Tour will be Stop #4 on February 28 - March 1 at Cue Bar Lounge and Billiards in Bayside, NY (Queens).
Complete Payouts ABCD
1st: Amir Uddin - $2,000
2nd: Mike Panzarella - $1,300
3rd: Ray Feliciano - $1,000
4th: Arturo Reyes - $700
5th/6th: George Poltorak, Alex Osipov - $450
7th/8th: Todd Trent, Greg Antonakos - $250
9th-12th: Izzy Matos, Mark Perel, Chulo Castro, Steve Wright - $150
13th-16th: Rene Villalobos, Chris Brooks, Scott Murphy, Shawn Sookhai - $100
17th-24th: Juan Guzman, Akiko Taniyama, Gail Robles, Christian Smith, Rafael Ortiz Jr, Miguel Laboy, Andrew Cleary - $70
Jorge Rodriguez Becomes the 2015 Empire State 10-Ball Champion
 
L-R Mhet Vergara, Jorge Rodriguez, Raphael Dabreo, Tony Robles
Story & Photo by Alison Fischer / NYC Grind
 
At noon on Sunday, February 22, the journey would begin for the open and pro players of the 8th Annual Empire State Championship—which garnered a field of sixteen of the tour’s toughest players to Raxx Pool Room, Bar and Grill in West Hempstead, NY on Long Island.
Throughout the two-day event, feature matches were streamed live in a co-production from AZBtv and NYC Grind. With a record of former champions including Dennis Hatch, Mike Dechaine, Jose Parica, Earl Strickland, Marc “Spain” Vidal, Jayson Shaw, and 2014 winner Wang Can, the title has become one of the most coveted in New York.
Tour veteran Jorge Rodriguez, house pro of Brooklyn’s Gotham City Billiards, would be the player to dominate the winner’s bracket in this sixteen-player field. To start out, he had a 7-3 win over amateur player Nigel Francis, the defeated Predator Stop #3 amateur winner Victor Nau by the same score.
For the “final four” match, Rodriguez was then up against tour founder Tony Robles, in a match that went down to the wire and ended with a 7-6 win for Rodriguez. To lock down his position in the final, Rodriguez would then defeat Mhet Vergara 7-2 in the match for the hot seat.
Prior to Robles’ loss to Rodriguez, he would set the other eventual finalist—Raphael Dabreo—on his path through the left side of the bracket. Dabreo, who runs his cue repair business ‘Cue 2 Go’ out of Steinway Billiards, has quickly elevated his game over the last few years, and made his presence known at Raxx.
With a loss to Robles on his record, Dabreo moved on up through the bracket, knocking out Thomas Rice (7-6), Chris Derewonski (7-3), and Koka Davladze (7-5). At that point, Dabreo would have his-ever first tournament win against Robles, punctuated with a stunning 7-2 scoreline, in the quarterfinal. Veteran open class player Mhet Vergara was waiting for Dabreo in the semifinal.
In the match for the title both Dabreo and the undefeated Rodriguez were hungry for their first title. Dabreo would move ahead to a 5-2 lead…but it was at this point that an error would turn out to be costly for him, and the momentum in favor of Rodriguez—who went on to tie the match 5-5.
Dabreo then leveled it at 7-7, but the following rack put Rodriguez on the hill at 8-7. After capitalizing on a couple errors, Rodriguez closed out his last needed rack to go undefeated for the 2015 Empire State 10-Ball title.
Following the final, Rodriguez described his strategy for staying in the match despite being down. “In the beginning, I got a couple bad rolls, and he kept putting the pressure on me…so I had to stay focused and just wait for my turn. Once I tied it up, I got more confident.”
After having competed in all seven of the tour’s seasons so far, this would be Rodriguez’s very first win. “It means a lot…it means everything to me,” he said. “All the hard work that I put in, the practice and tournaments, for the past ten years. It means a lot to me, I’m happy.”
“It’s the best event in New York, without a doubt, the Predator Tour. I’m just happy to be here and finally win a big one.
The Predator Pro/Am Tour would like to give special thanks to its sponsors for their support: Predator Cues, The National Amateur Pool League, Delta-13 Racks, NYC Grind, PoolOnTheNet.com, Gotham City Technologies, and Ozone Billiards.
The next event on the Predator Pro/Am Tour will be Stop #4 on February 28 - March 1 at Cue Bar Lounge and Billiards in Bayside, NY (Queens).
Complete Payouts Open/Pro
1st: Jorge Rodriguez - $1,000
2nd: Raphael Dabreo - $600
3rd: Mhet Vergara - $350
4th: Tony Robles - $200
Mike Dechaine Snags Predator Tour Open 10-Ball at Steinway Billiards
 
L-R Chris Derewonski, Mike Dechaine, Jorge Rodriguez
Story & Photo by Alison Fischer / NYC Grind
 
As per usual, the Predator Pro/Am Tour’s Open/Pro 10-ball division was stacked with a number of the New York area’s most talented players at the tour’s third stop of 2015, held at Steinway Billiards in Astoria, NY on Sunday, November 15.
Included among the regulars in the field were Steinway-based Israeli pro Zion Zvi, Gotham City Billiards house pro Jorge Rodriguez, Steinway owner Manny Stamatakis, tour owner Tony Robles, Chris “The Polish Champion” Derewonski (who was moved from the A++ to the Open class on the tour in 2014), and top amateurs Juan Guzman, Keith Adamik, and Roberto Mendoza.
However, it would be top US-ranked pro Mike “Fireball” Dechaine, the 2014 Ginky Memorial Champion, who paid a visit to the Predator and stole the show. Robles would have the misfortune of drawing Dechaine in the first round resulting in a 7-2 score in favor of Dechaine…who went on to take wins over Kapriel Delimelkonoglu (7-4) and Manny Stamatakis (7-1).
Dechaine was then met by Steinway-based Derewonski in the winner’s side final, who had just come off wins over Adamik, Mendoza, and a hill-hill battle with Rodriguez (7-6). Derewonski was not able to hold up against Dechaine, however, and ended the match with three games to Dechaine’s seven.
Meanwhile, the final four players standing in the loss bracket paired up to see who would move on to the quarterfinal. In that round, Jorge Rodriguez came away with a 7-5 win over Steinway regular Juan Guzman…while Stamatakis scored an upset 7-3 win over Zvi. Rodriguez, one of New York’s top forces, was then successful in taking out Stamatakis in the quarterfinal with a final score of 7-4.
The semifinal would then be a rematch between Rodriguez and Derewonski, but it would not be a close one, as Derewonski played very strong to win 7-3.
Moving on to the race to nine final, Chris Derewonski would have a closer fight against Mike Dechaine through the first half of the match, as he got within one—to trail 5-6—before Dechaine pulled away for a 9-5 final win.
The Predator Pro/Am Tour would like to give special thanks to its sponsors for their support: Predator Cues, The National Amateur Pool League, Delta-13 Racks, NYC Grind, PoolOnTheNet.com, Gotham City Technologies, and Ozone Billiards.
The next stop on the Predator Pro/Am Tour will be the $3,000-added Empire State Championships, to be held on February 21-22 at Raxx Pool Room in West Hempstead, NY. This event will be live streamed for free via the AZBtv Ustream Channel, in a co-production from AZBtv and NYC Grind.
Complete Payouts Open/Pro
1st: Mike Dechaine - $650
2nd: Chris Derewonski - $400
3rd: Jorge Rodriguez - $200
4th: Manny Stamatakis - $150
Victor Nau Goes Undefeated to Win Predator Stop #3 at Steinway Billiards
 
L-R Amir Uddin, Samantha Adler, Annie Flores, and Victor Nau.
Story & Photo by Alison Fischer / NYC Grind
 
One of the Predator Pro/Am Tour’s longtime players, Victor Nau, would again earn his spot on top as the winner of the tour’s Amateur 9-Ball division in its third event of 2015. The popular Astoria, NY pool room Steinway Billiards was the host for this event, which brought 58 players in from the frigid temperatures on the weekend of February 14-15.
The format for each of the tour’s amateur division events features a split-bracket, where B+ through A++ players are divided into one half and D through B players compete in the other—until the last play ers standing in each half face off in the ‘hot seat’ match and the quarterfinal.
Victor Nau, an A+ class player from New York whose last tour victory was in 2013 at New Jersey’s Castle Billiards, held off all of his opponents to go undefeated at Steinway. At the end of the first day of the event, Nau was among the last four undefeated players in the field. The four players in the winner’s bracket were joined by the final four players left standing in the loss bracket as they moved into the second day of competition.
Of the total original field of 58, eleven were women—two of whom were included in the last four undefeated players. In the upper bracket, it was Steinway-based player Annie Flores (B+) who went up against Victor Nau (A+), who narrowly moved forward into the winner’s side final after a 7-6 win over Flores. In the lower half of the final four, Brooklyn player Samantha Adler took on Amir Uddin in a match that was also close, but ended up ay 7-5 in Uddin’s favor. In the final winner’s bracket match, Victor Nau would overtake Uddin at 8-5, setting himself up for the final while Uddin waited to play the winner of the quarterfinal play the final.
On the loss side of the bracket, the final four match-ups resulted in a 7-3 win for Rhys Chen over Ron Mason in the upper bracket, and victory for tour newcomer Ron Chau over Tommy Schrieber, also 7-3. The ladies who had lost in the final four on the winner’s side were then paired with Chau and Chen, and both would bounce back and secure spots in the quarterfinal. Adler (D+) defeated Chau 7-5, while Flores threw down a 7-1 score against Chen.
In the quarterfinal, it would be a battle between the last ladies standing, Samantha Adler and Annie Flores. With their handicap differences, Adler was spotted four games in the race to nine. Flores maintained her steady and focused play, and with the match tied 6-6, she pulled away to win the next three. 25-year-old Adler put on impressive performance and turned heads with her execution at Steinway, landing in fourth place—her personal record finish in any tournament. Additionally, tour founder Tony Robles remarked that she achieved the tour’s record finish for a player in the D+ Class.
Annie Flores then proceeded into the semifinal, where she met up with Amir Uddin. Flores spotted Uddin one game on the wire in their match, and would only allow Uddin to win three more in their race to seven, as she won the match 7-4 to then face Victor Nau in the final. Nau played very solid again in the final, taking down a 7-4 win over Flores to make for an undefeated showing.
The Predator Pro/Am Tour would like to give special thanks to its sponsors for their support: Predator Cues, The National Amateur Pool League, Delta-13 Racks, NYC Grind, PoolOnTheNet.com, Gotham City Technologies, and Ozone Billiards.
The next stop on the Predator Pro/Am Tour will be the 2015 Empire State Championships, to be held February 21-22 at Raxx Pool Room, Bar & Grill in West Hempstead, NY.
Complete Payouts ABCD
1st: Victor Nau – $1,000
2nd: Annie Flores – $675
3rd: Amir Uddin – $475
4th: Samantha Adler – $350
5th/6th: Rhys Chen, Ron Chau – $180
7th/8th: Tommy Schrieber, Ron Mason – $120
9th-12th: John Morrison, Nigel Francis, Joe Wilson-Torres, Duc Lam – $80
Liam Tully Scores His First Predator Tour Win, Undefeated at Cue Bar
 
L-R: Arturo Reyes 2nd, Liam Tully 1st, Meshak Daniel 3rd
Story & Photo by Alison Fischer / NYC Grind
 
A new champion rose out of the Predator Pro/Am Tour’s bracket on Saturday, January 24 at Cue Bar, the host for the tour’s second stop of 2015. Not only was this event the first tour win for Rye, NY player Liam Tully, it was also his first time playing in the Amateur 9-Ball division of the Predator.
Although rated a ‘B+’ on the tour, Tully had only ever competed in the tour’s Open 10-Ball division, since it is a single-day event held on Sundays.
“I don’t normally get to play Saturdays, but I got had a rare weekend off from work and I was excited to compete. This was my first A-D Predator event,” explained Tully, who plays out of Steinway Billiards and resides in Rye, NY.
To start out Tully’s run, he had a near-shoutout over Lionell Swanston (7-1), then two narrow wins over John Schott (7-6) and Roberto Mendoza (8-7).
“I started out not liking the way I was playing, but found my gear after a lucky win against Roberto Mendoza hill-hill when he pocketed the 8 and scratched cross side getting position on the nine. From there on, I played solid against Omar Alli (7-2), Mike Corona (7-5), Meshak Daniel (7-4), and Arturo Reyes,” Tully said.
Liam Tully’s win over Daniel guaranteed his place in the final, where he would eventually face Reyes. Daniel (rated ‘B’) was the player to come out of the B/C/D side of the bracket and meet Tully in the winner’s side, following his 7-5 win over Tommy Schrieber.
As Daniel waited for his next turn at the table in the semifinal, tour veteran Arturo Reyes was working on his long trek through the loss side of the bracket. Reyes had lost his second match of the day to Brooke Meyer of Connecticut (7-6), but bounced back to impressively win nine straight matches.
In five of the nine matches, his opponents were unable to win more than three games. To make it to the quarterfinal, Reyes won 7-4 over Michael Corona, and was met there by Tommy Schrieber, who had a solid prior win over Ray Feliciano (7-3).
The quarterfinal was a close match, with Arturo Reyes pulling away to win 8-6 over Schrieber, who finished in fourth. Reyes then continued on his streak, winning 7-3 in the semifinal over Meshak Daniel.
The final would end up being a closely-fought match between Reyes and the undefeated Liam Tully in their race to seven. Tully would push forward to get within one game at 6-5, when Reyes had a chance to tie 6-6.
Reyes explained how the final moments of the match played out: “In the final, while down 6-5, I was running out the table when I shot the 8-ball and it skidded and hung in the pocket for Liam to win. He played great!”
Following the match, Tully talked about what led to his winning day at Cue Bar.
“I found success in keeping my focus on the importance of each rack. I didn’t let my misses bother me. I didn’t think I was going to win until I beat Mike Corona. He’s been playing good lately. Once I got through him I knew I could win the whole thing. Also, my fiancée and I are having a baby next month, so I thought about my son and didn’t want to let him down. He was my inspiration.”
The Predator Pro/Am Tour would like to give special thanks to its sponsors for their support: Predator Cues, The National Amateur Pool League, Delta-13 Racks, NYC Grind, PoolOnTheNet.com, Gotham City Technologies, and Ozone Billiards.
Next up on the Predator Tour will be Stop #3 at Steinway Billiards in Astoria, NY (Queens) on February 14-15.
Complete Payouts ABCD
1st: Liam Tully – $1,000
2nd: Arturo Reyes – $600
3rd: Meshak Daniel – $400
4th: Tommy Schrieber – $300
5th/6th: Ray Feliciano, Michael Corona – $200
7th/8th: Roy Lim, Tom Hagan – $130
9th-12th: Dan Faraguna, Omar Alli, Gus Iliopoulos, Stephen Dempsey – $90
Stewart Warnock Kicks Off 2015 With a Comeback Predator Tour Win at Steinway
 
L-R Miguel Laboy (2nd), Stewart Warnock (1st), Rene Villalobos (3rd)
Story & Photo by Alison Fischer / NYC Grind
 
After falling short of the finish line over the past two seasons, Stewart Warnock would start off the Predator Pro/Am Tour’s 2015 season on the right foot, winning the season opener Amateur 9-Ball event at Steinway Billiards in Astoria, NY. Tour stop #1 took place over the weekend of January 17-18, and drew an impressive field of 110 players—with a record number of seventeen women among them.
On day one, Bardonia, NY-based Warnock picked up speed from the start, taking wins over Bogie Uzdejcyzk (7-4), Steve “The Russian” Astashen (7-2), Annie Flores (7-6), Lidio Ramirez (7-6), and Victor Nau (7-4) before being turned over to the loss bracket by one of the tour’s 2014 winners, Miguel Laboy (7-4).
Laboy, who finished 2014 as the ‘A’ class Player of the Year and has since been moved to ‘A+’, then proceeded to the final of the winner’s bracket. In the split-bracket format, Laboy would take on the winner of the B/C/D bracket to determine who secured a place in the final.
This time, that player would be tour veteran Rene Villalobos (B), who made it out of the bracket after a 7-6 win over Adrian Daniel (C+). Villalobos had a close match against Laboy, but the A+ player prevailed in the end, winning 7-5 to move on to the final.
While Laboy waited for the final and Villalobos waited for the semi, Stewart Warnock was busy making tracks in their direction. Following his loss to Laboy, Warnock defeated Victor Nau for the second time (7-6), which bumped him into the quarterfinal.
Warnock’s opponent in the quarterfinal was a newcomer to the tour, New Jersey player Mike Figueroa. Although Figueroa’s stay in the winner’s bracket was short-lived, he made up that on the loss side, as he won seven straight matches to land in the quarterfinal. It was there that Figueroa’s run ended, as Warnock took a close 9-7 victory to put him through to the semifinal, while Figueroa ended up in fourth place.
The semifinal was a grind of a match between Warnock and Villalobos, who went all the way to 7-7 before Warnock put away the winning rack. Moving on to the final, Warnock would rematch with Miguel Laboy for the title. The format for the match was an extended race to seven—Laboy would win in seven, but if Warnock got to seven first, the set would go on to nine.
In the final, Warnock had momentum and sharpness on his side after playing three straight matches, while Laboy had a long wait. The scoreline reflected these factors, and Warnock secured a 9-3 comeback win to kick off the Predator Tour season.
Joining the event’s top finishers was 2014 D+ Player of the Year Erin Bechner, who had one of her best tour finishers, tying in 9th-12th. Congratulations to all of the top finishers at Steinway.
The Predator Pro/Am Tour would like to give special thanks to its sponsors for their support: Predator Cues, The National Amateur Pool League, Delta-13 Racks, NYC Grind, PoolOnTheNet.com, Gotham City Technologies, and Ozone Billiards.
Next up on the Predator Tour will be Stop #2 at Cue Bar in Bayside, NY (Queens) on January 24-25. Visit PredatorProAmTour.com for more tour information and schedule.
Complete Payouts ABCD
1st: Stewart Warnock – $1,700
2nd: Miguel Laboy – $1,200
3rd: Rene Villalobos – $850
4th: Mike Figueroa – $600
5th/6th: Adrian Daniel, Victor Nau – $420
7th/8th: Chris Brooks, Al Zea – $300
9th-12th: Erin Bechner, Chris Guarigilia, Duc Lam, Tony Liang – $180
13th-16th: Amir Uddin, Lidio Ramirez, Andrew Cleary, Rhys Chen – $125
17th-24th: Dan Faraguna, Alex Osipov, Darrin Schmidt, Franklin Avala, Steve Wright, Ron Vitelo, Justin Muller, Rhio Anne Flores – $80
Jeffrey Ignacio Avenges His Loss to Strickland to Win the Predator Tour Season Opener
 
L-R Jeffrey Ignacio (1st), Jorge Rodriguez (3rd), Earl Strickland (2nd)
Story & Photo by Alison Fischer / NYC Grind
 
To follow up his lackluster debut at the Turning Stone Classic, Filipino Jeffrey Ignacio made another opening appearance in the U.S—this time—a winning one.22-year-old Ignacio would have a successful showing at the Predator Pro/Am Tour’s first event of 2015, held at Steinway Billiards in Astoria, NY on January 17-18. This Open/Pro 10-ball event brought in a total of twenty-two players to compete for an $800 first prize.
Among the event’s other frontrunners were tour regulars Jeremy Sossei, Jorge Rodriguez, tour owner Tony Robles, Zion Zvi, Frankie Hernandez, and last but not least, Steinway house pro and former world champion Earl Strickland, who would be Ignacio’s opponent in the final.
It would be Strickland who secured his place in the final via the winner’s bracket, as defeated Ignacio in the winner’s bracket final (7-5) after wins over Mhet Vergara (7-5) and Tony Robles (7-4). On his half of the bracket, Ignacio put away wins over Lee Kang (7-6) and Frankie Hernandez (7-5) before his loss to Strickland.
Ignacio would then wait for the semifinal, to take on an opponent who had a long route to make it there. That player would turn out to be Gotham City Billiards house pro Jorge Rodriguez, who fought through six matches to get there. Among his highlighting wins, Rodriguez defeated Jeremy Sossei (7-6), Jorge Rodriguez (7-5), and Zion Zvi (7-2).
However, Rodriguez would be stopped short by the young Ignacio, who upended him in the semifinal at 7-3. Moving on to face Strickland for a second time, Ignacio finished strong in the final—taking down “The Pearl” by a score of 11-5 to leave a remarkable first impression on the fans at Steinway.
The Predator Pro/Am Tour would like to give special thanks to its sponsors for their support: Predator Cues, The National Amateur Pool League, Delta-13 Racks, NYC Grind, PoolOnTheNet.com, Gotham City Technologies, and Ozone Billiards.
Next up on the Predator Tour will be Stop #2 at Cue Bar in Bayside, NY (Queens) on January 24-25. Visit PredatorProAmTour.com for more tour information and schedule.
Complete Payouts Open/Pro
1st: Jeffrey Ignacio – $800
2nd: Earl Strickland – $400
3rd: Jorge Rodriguez – $300
4th: Zion Zvi – $200
5th/6th: Frankie Hernandez, Tony Robles – $100
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