In 2016, Juan Guzman chalked up four event
titles, two each on the Predator Pro Am and Tri-State
Tours and was runner-up to Tony Liang in an event co-sponsored
by the two tours, the 6th Annual George “Ginky”
Sansouci Memorial. The year was, not surprisingly, his
best earnings year since he began appearing in the AZBilliards
database back in 2009. His participation has lagged
a bit in the past couple of years, although there’s
no real way to distinguish between a drop in participation
or just a drop in his advancement to cash winnings.
Either way, on the weekend of April 13-14, at a $1,000-added
stop on the Predator Pro Am Tour, Guzman went undefeated
to capture his first event title since he won a stop
on the Tri-State Tour last June. The event drew 81 entrants
to Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY.
Guzman faced separate opponents in the hot seat and
finals of this event, although he did meet and defeat
Eli Trajceski twice. The first time was in a winners’
side semifinal. Guzman sent Trajceski to the loss side
8-6 and in the hot seat match, faced Esteban Morell,
who’d sent Corey Avallone to the loss side 7-4.
Guzman and Morell battled to double hill in the struggle
for the hot seat, but Guzman claimed it.
Over on the loss side, Trajceski picked up Shawn Sookhai,
who’d defeated Eugene Ok 7-1 and Duc Lam 7-2 to
reach him. Avallone drew Ramilo Tanglao, who’d
recently picked up a forfeit win over Paul Lyons and
then, ended a seven-match, loss-side winning streak
by Debra Pritchett 7-4.
Tanglao and Avallone locked up in a double hill fight
that eventually sent Tanglao to the quarterfinals. He
was joined by Trajceski, who’d eliminated Sookhai
Tanglao ended up on the wrong side of his second straight
double hill match, which sent Trajceski to the semifinals.
There, a 7-3 win over Morell gave Trajceski a second
shot at Guzman.
As it had in their previous matchup in the winners’
side semifinal, the final came within a game of double
hill, but Guzman prevailed a second time to claim the
Tour director Tony Robles thanked Manny Stamatakis and
his Steinway Billiards’ staff for their hospitality,
as well as title sponsor Predator Cues, Ozone Billiards,
PlayNAPL.com, The DeVito Team, PoolOnTheNet.com, Cappelle
(Billiards Press), AZBilliards, Pool & Billiards
Magazine, and Billiards Digest. Robles also thanked
his always-supportive cast of assistants, to include
his lovely wife, Gail.
Although it did so this weekend, the Predator Pro Am
Tour will not be returning to Steinway Billiards for
its next stop (#8), scheduled for the weekend of May
18-19. That event will be the first in the tour’s
history to be restricted to C/D players. According to
Robles, participation has been on the rise at stops
on the Predator Pro Am Tour and while room owners are
generally encouraged by large numbers of participants
at events, there have recently been a few stops that
have featured too much of a good thing; player numbers
exceeding a room’s general capacity and its ability
to complete a given event within a limited time frame.
The restriction to C/D players is designed to address
that issue when the C/D players gather at Gotham City
Billiards on the weekend of May 18-19.
Story by Skip Maloney AZBilliards