The Blatt Billiards Predator 9-Ball Tour
The Blatt Billiards Predator 9-Ball Tour opened up the 2009 season at Raxx Pool Room in West Hempstead, NY with 70 players vying for the top prize. Top players in attendance included Jeremy Sossei, Oscar Bonilla, Ignacio Chavez, Fran Crimi, Empire State Champion Marc “Spain” Vidal, Liz Ford, Sean “Alaska” Morgan, Bobby Blackmore & Tony Robles.
Day one had its share of surprising matches and stand out players. Tour owner Tony Robles started out strong with wins over Thomas Wan 8-4 & Marc Vidal 8-3 but ran into trouble against Jeremy Sossei, losing 8-5. Robles fought back through the one-loss side until he ran into Oscar Bonilla, losing 9-7 and finishing 7th/8th.
Liz Ford started the Predator tour season in winning fashion. Liz won highest finishing female, easily finishing 3 rounds higher than any of the other ten females in the event. But this wasn’t enough for the WPBA pro as she fought hard at the end of day one defeating Pete Tascarella Sr. 7-4 to return for day two action to play Pete Tascarella Jr., the son in the family of cue makers. Pete Jr. couldn’t tame Miss Ford either and lost to her 9-6. Liz continued to play strong against Jeremy Sossei keeping it close in the beginning, but Jeremy took control of the match at 3-3 and never looked back. Ford lost 9-4 to Sossei, finishing 9th-12th.
Other standout players included John Alicea, who continues to push and test many of the tours top players. On day one, John scored big wins over Victor Nau 8-4 and Jeremy Sossei 9-5. Day two saw John struggle and lose to Mhet Vergara 9-2 and Oscar Bonilla 9-5 leaving Alicea to settle for 5th/6th. Our other 5th/6th finisher was Jerry Tarantola who came out swinging on day one. With his monster break on his side, Tarantola easily defeated Jonathan Trager 8-0, Caroline Pao 8-3, and Pete Tascarella Jr. 8-2. Tarantola looked good playing Bobby Blackmore on day two with a 9-7 win but hit a wall name Ignacio Chavez, losing 9-2. Tarantola seemed to lose his steam and became another Sossei victim finishing with a 9-5 loss.
Mhet Vergara had his best Predator 9-Ball tournament ever staying undefeated on day one with wins over “the other” Allison Fischer, Andrew Kane, Chris Laz, and Lionel Rivera . On day two, Vergara continued to have success with a close call against Holden Chin winning 9-8 & John Alicea 9-2. Vergara then took on Ignacio Chavez for the hot seat. Ignacio played incredible pool this tournament with convincing wins over Dave Danchak 8-3, Steve Wright 8-5, Sean “Alaska” Morgan 8-5, Mike Fingers 9-2, & Jerry Tarantola 9-2. In the hot seat match, Chavez was the clear winner defeating Vergara 9-4.
Oscar Bonilla had a long road to the final three. He started out strong defeating Justin Muller 8-4 and Rob Omen 8-0, but lost to Holden Chin on the hill. On the one-loss side, Bonilla fought back defeating Thomas Wan 7-2, Lionel Rivera 9-5, Mike Fingers 9-2, Tony Robles 9-7, John Alicea 9-5 and made Jeremy Sossei settle for 4th place with a 9-5 win.
Semi-final action saw Bonilla and the recently defeated Vergara battle for a chance at Chavez in the finals. Vergara appeared focused but tight during the match against Bonilla. Bonilla capitalized on the tension and defeated Vergara 9-4 for a chance at Chavez in the finals.
The final was all Chavez. The rested Chavez seemed calm and poised throughout the match and dominated Bonilla. The final race to 11 seemed one-sided as Chavez was beating Bonilla 9-4. Bonilla mounted a comeback closing the gap 10-7, but Chavez put an end to Bonilla’s run and finished the set winning the tournament with an 11-7 final score.
The tour also started an amateur event on Sundays for B-C-D players. Players that played in the Open event on Saturday got a lower entry fee in the event which includes bonus points for the player of the year standings. Of the 26 players, Romeo Singh and Jose Soto ended up in the finals. In the end, Soto took the 1st place prize, defeating Singh 7- 4.
For payouts and standings visit: www.predator9balltour.com