It is a significant rite of passage; moving
from the top ranks of Amateur status to the loftier
competitive environment where the Open/Pro players do
battle. On the weekend of March 3-4, at a $250-added
Open/Pro event on the Predator Pro Am Tour, Raphael
Dabreo took that step, winning his first-ever Open/Pro
event, and according to tour director Tony Robles, was
“super happy about it.”
“Like a kid in a candy store,” said Robles.
DaBreo, working as a B player, first showed up on the
AZBilliards’ radar 10 years ago, when he won his
first stop on the Tri-State Tour. A year later (2009),
he won two more on that tour. He won his first stop
on the Predator Pro Am in 2010. Over the next eight
years, he chalked up a baker’s dozen (13) more
on the two tours, as he climbed the rankings ladder.
On average, we reported here last October, he’d
won an average of one event per year on both tours,
dating back to those initial victories.
In a concurrently-run, $750-added Amateur event over
the weekend, Lukas Fracasso-Verner went undefeated through
a field of 53 entrants to claim that title (more on
this a little later in this report). Both events were
hosted by The Spot in Nanuet, NY.
DaBreo had a crack at a Predator Open/Pro event about
three weeks ago, (Feb. 10-11), when he made it to the
semifinals (downing Robles on the loss side along the
way), before being eliminated by the event’s winner,
Kudlik Marek. His first Open/Pro victory followed the
same script, with the significant difference of coming
back from the loss side to win it. He advanced to a
winners’ side semifinal versus Jimmy Rivera in
this most recent event, while Joey Korsiak and Zion
Zvi squared off in the other one.
Korsiak got by Zvi 7-4. DaBreo battled Rivera to a deciding
game, before Rivera sent him to the loss side. Korsiak
claimed the hot seat 7-4 over Rivera and waited on DaBreo’s
On the loss side, DaBreo picked up Robles (whom he’d
met in the quarterfinals of the Feb. 10-11 event), who’d
defeated Victor Nau 7-3 and Mike Salerno 7-2 to reach
him this time. Zvi drew Jorge Teixeira, who’d
gotten by Yesid Garibello 7-3 and Dave Shlemperis 7-1.
DaBreo got by Robles again; this time, 7-4, as Zvi eliminated
DaBreo, apparently very motivated to collect his first
Open/Pro title, chalked up two straight double hill
wins to get a shot at Korsiak in the hot seat. He downed
Zvi in the quarterfinals, and then, Rivera in the semifinals.
A 9-5 win over Korsiak in those finals secured DaBreo’s
first Open/Pro win.
Fracasso-Verner goes undefeated to take Amateur division
Last February, at the age of 15, Lukas Fracasso-Verner
became the second-youngest player to ever win a stop
on the Predator Pro Am Tour; the first, being Thomas
Rice, who, at 14 won a stop on the tour in 2013. What
was particularly significant about Fracasso-Verner’s
victory at the time was that he’d won 13 loss-side
matches to meet and defeat the hot seat occupant, Atif
At this most recent stop on the Predator Pro Am Tour,
Fracasso-Verner, now 16, chalked up another victory,
this time going undefeated through a field of 53. He
advanced through the field to a winners’ side
semifinal against Rhio Anne “Annie” Flores,
while Adam Miller met up with Feng Zhao in the other
winners’ side semifinal. Miller downed Zhao 7-3,
while Fracasso-Verner and Flores locked up in a double
hill battle that did eventually send Flores to the loss
side. Fracasso-Verner then downed Miller 9-5 to claim
the hot seat.
On the loss side, Zhao picked up Suzzie Wong, who’d
gotten by Greg Matos 6-3 and won a double hill match
against Matthias Gutzmann. Flores drew Mark Zamora,
recent double hill winner over Ocheign Carlos and Max
Watanabe 7-5. The ladies advanced to the quarterfinals;
Wong, over Zhao 7-2, and Flores over Zamora 7-4.
The ladies then locked up in a double hill fight, won
by Wong. Miller took the semifinal 6-3 over Wong. Fracasso-Verner
completed his undefeated run with a double hill 9-8
win over Miller in the finals.
A Second Chance event drew eight entrants. It was won
by Wax Watanabe, who defeated Rich Hourihan in a double
hill final. Watanabe pocketed $100, while Hourihan took
Tour director Tony Robles thanked the ownership and
staff at The Spot for their hospitality, as well as
special thanks to title sponsor Predator Cues, NAPL,
Ozone Billiards, The DeVito Team, PoolOnTheNet.com,
BilliardsPress.com, AZBilliards, Billiards Digest and
PoolMag.com. Robles also extended thanks to his entire
Predator Staff, including his wife, Gail Robles, Mandy
Wu, William Finnegan, Irene Kim, and Rob Omen. The next
stop on the Predator Pro Am Tour, scheduled for the
weekend of March 17-18, will be an A/B/C/D event hosted
by Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY.
Story by Skip Maloney AZBilliards