Aranas wins Predator Pro Am qualifier to CSI Predator World 10-Ball Championship while
Meyer survives strong, double-hill challenge to go undefeated on Predator Pro Am Tour

It’s rare, if not downright unheard of, that a pool tournament, especially among the sport’s elite, is set up as a winner-take-all scenario. That, however, is just what occurred on Sunday, June 23, when 15 competitors gathered at Raxx Billiards in West Hempstead, NY vying for a single, winner payout in a $500-added event, which would qualify that winner for the upcoming, $100,000-added CSI/Predator World 10-Ball Championships, set for July 22-26 at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. Zoren James Aranas won four matches in a row in a single elimination format to claim the $1,500 first-place prize and a paid entry to the Vegas event next month.

The event was held under the auspices of the Predator Pro Am Tour, which, concurrently, held its 10th tour stop of the year, a $1,000-added A/B/C/D event that drew 80 entrants to Raxx Billiards. Between the Open/Pro event qualifier, the A/B/C/D tour stop and two Second Chance events, 124 players (with some event overlap) traveled out to Long Island for this multi-event weekend. A report on the A/B/C/D tournament and the two Second Chance events will be posted separately.

The qualifier event featured exactly 201 games of pool. In winning, Aranas won 40 of the 51 games in which he competed (78%). His opponent in the finals, Omar Alshaheen, won 35 of 63, for a game-winning average of 55%. Alshaheen’s opponents chalked up an average of six games against him and he faced a double hill battle in the third, semi-final round. Aranas’ opponents won an average of just under three games per match.

Aranas opened with a 10-1 victory over Pat Fleming, as Alshaheen downed Jeremy Sossei 10-6. In the second round, Aranas defeated tour and event director Tony Robles 10-5. Alshaheen, in the meantime, defeated Jimmy Rivera 10-3.

In the semifinals that followed, Elvis Rodriguez, who’d defeated Mike Dunn 10-5 and Holden Chin (owner of Raxx Billiards) 10-8, was eliminated in a shutout by Aranas. Thorsten Hohmann, who’d defeated Mike Badsteubner and Joey Korsiak, both 10-6, forced a 19th and deciding game against Alshaheen, who advanced to meet Aranas in the finals.

In the final match, Aranas downed Alshaheen 10-5 to claim the top prize and his literal (ticket) on a plane to Vegas for the CSI/Predator 10-Ball Championships next month.

As James Aranas was busy working on an undefeated run to qualify for the upcoming 10-Ball Championships in Las Vegas (see separate story), Brooke Meyer was at work trying to secure (according to our records) his first victory on the Predator Pro Am Tour since April of 2016. Three years ago, in what would prove to be his best earnings year to-date, Meyer spoiled the party that might have celebrated a first-ever victory for New York’s Alison Fischer (not to be confused with English Pro Allison Fisher), downing her twice to take that title. On the weekend of June 22-23, Meyer, sitting in the #8 slot amongst the tour’s A players, went undefeated again, this time downing Jose Kuilan (#13 among C players) twice to capture the $1,000-added, A/B/C/D event that drew 80 entrants to Raxx Billiards in West Hempstead, NY.

Meyer and Kuilan met in the hot seat match, once Meyer had sent Jay Vapanta to the loss side 7-2 and Kuilan had dispatched Stephen Motilal to that side of the bracket 7-4. Meyer claimed the hot seat in a double hill fight and waited on what would prove to be another one in the finals.

On the loss side, Motilal picked up Bob Toomey, who’d defeated Michelle Brotons 6-3 and Debby Buyukveniz 7-5 to reach him. Vapanta drew Max Watanabe, who’d recently eliminated Miguel Laboy 7-1 and Chulo Castro 7-4.

Watanabe, who sits at #9, one spot below Meyer among the A players, defeated Vapanta 7-2, as Motilal ended Toomey’s weekend 7-5. Watanabe took the quarterfinal match that followed, 8-6 over Motilal, before he was eliminated, double hill, in the semifinals by Kuilan 9-8.

It looked, for a while, as though Kuilan was going to cash in on his semifinal momentum to snatch the event title out of Meyers’ hands. He was on the hill ahead of Meyer, but watched as Meyer, slowly, but surely closed the gap. At 10-9, Kuilan attempted a good-looking 6-9 combo that would have ended it, but instead, when it failed, allowed Meyer to tie it up and forced the deciding game. Meyer ‘pushed’ on the last break, and for a few minutes, both players benefited from sequential lucky rolls that put their opponent in tough shape. Meyer broke out of the pattern to finish the rack, winning the game, match and event.

Matt Klein took the Second Chance event, which drew 16 entrants, downing Ambi Estevez in the final. Abel Rosario and Marisol Palacio shared third place in the single-elimination event. The Third Chance drew 13 players and was won by Miguel Laboy, following a double hill final against Bob Toomey. Joe Wilson Torres and Shashi Hajaree shared third place honors in this one.

Tour director Tony Robles thanked Holden Chin and his Raxx Billiards staff, as well as title sponsor Predator Cues, Ozone Billiards, PlayNAPL.com, The DeVito Team, PoolontheNet.com, Cappelle (BilliardsPress.com), AZBilliards, Pool & Billiards Magazine and Billiards Digest. The next stop on the Predator Pro Am Tour (#11), scheduled for July 13-14, will be hosted by Amsterdam Billiards in Manhattan, NY.

Story by Skip Maloney AZBilliards

 
L-R Jose Kuilan (2nd), Max Watanabe (3rd), Brooke Meyer (1st), Stephen Motilal (4th)
L-R Omar Alshaheen (Runner-Up) and James Aranas (Winner)
L-R Bob Toomey (2nd), Joe Wilson Torres (3rd/4th), Shashi Hajaree (3rd/4th), Miguel Laboy (1st)
L-R Russell Masciotti (2nd) and Miguel Laboy (1st)
Complete Payouts Amateur
1 USA MEYER Brooke 1,300
2 KUILAN Jose 1,000
3 WATANABE Max 650
4 USA MOTILAL Stephen 500
5 USA VAPANTA Jay 300
5 USA TOOMEY Bob 300
7 BUYUKVENIZ Debby 200
7 USA CASTRO Chulo 200
9 USA LABOY Miguel 150
9 USA FINNEGAN Bill 150
9 USA BROTONS Michelle 150
9 USA CLAYTON KC 150
13 USA PALACIOS Marisol 100
13 USA PANZARELLA Mike 100
13 USA CARANDANG Jason 100
13 USA GOBERDHAN Jason 100
2nd Chance
1 Matt Klein 160
2 Ambi Estevez 100
3/4 Abel Rosario, Marisol Palacios 30 ea.
3rd Chance
1 Miguel Laboy 130
2 Bob Toomey 90
3/4 Joe Wilson Torres, Shashi Hajaree 20 ea.
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