Kaci comes back from the loss side to down The Iceman in Predator Open/Pro stop
Klenti Kaci and Mika Immonen

In an article about the Aramith Masters Championship, held in April at Steinway Billiards in New York, and won by 18-year-old Albanian Klenti Kaci, veteran pool journalist Ted Lerner noted that the youngster played "with an almost surreal poise and skill that belied his youth." He not only defeated the Philippines' Carlo Biado in the final of that event, he had previously defeated Jayson Shaw. Twice in a row, and the second time, double hill. Kaci brought his "surreal poise and skill" to Amsterdam Billiards in Manhattan on the weekend of July 8-9 and took out The Iceman, Mika Immonen, twice to claim the Open/Pro title on a Predator Tour stop. The $500-added event drew 22 entrants.

Kaci and Immonen met first in a winners' side semifinal, while Mark Gray and Frankie Hernandez battled in the other one. Despite Kaci's emerging reputation, no one was surprised by Immonen's 7-2 victory over him. A lot of people were surprised (Hernandez among them) by Gray's shutout win that put him in the hot seat match versus Immonen. Immonen claimed the hot seat 7-2, and waited on Kaci's return.

Kaci and Hernandez moved to the loss side and into the event's first money round. Kaci drew Hunter Lombardo, who'd defeated Alex Kazakis 7-5 and Marc Vidal 7-4, to reach him. Hernandez picked up Denis Grabe, who'd advanced past Zion Zvi 7-5 and Besar Spahiu 7-4 (Grabe, another European import, finished 5th in the Aramith Masters Championship).
Kaci downed Lombardo 7-4, and in the quarterfinal, faced Grabe, who'd eliminated Hernandez 7-3.

Grabe put up a quarterfinal fight against his European counterpart, forcing a deciding game, but Kaci won it 7-6, and then, in the semifinals, downed Gray 7-4 for a second shot at Immonen. He completed his loss-side run with an 11-2 victory over Immonen in the finals.

Story by Skip Maloney AZB

 
Complete Pro Payouts
1 ALB KACI Eklent 1,160
2 FIN IMMONEN Mika 600
3 GBR GRAY Mark 300
4 EST GRABE Denis 200
5 USA HERNANDEZ Frankie 100
5 USA LOMBARDO Hunter 100
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