The names were all familiar ‘Eastern
States’ competitors, recognizeable, for the most
part, by their last names – Rodriguez, Hernandez,
Dechaine in the Pro event, and Osipov, Nau and Ortiz
in the Amateur event. It was Frankie Hernandez who emerged
as the Pro event winner of the 2018 Eastern States Championships
(Stop #12 on the Predator Pro Am Tour), while Alex Osipov
took the Amateur title. Both came from the loss side
to complete their title run and defeated the competitor
who’d sent them there; Hernandez winning three
on that side of the bracket, before meeting and defeating
Jorge Rodriguez in the finals, while Osipov, who lost
his opening match, won nine on the loss side before
meeting and defeating the man who’d sent him there,
Victor Nau. The $3,000-added event ($1,000 in the Pro
event, $2,000 in the Amateur) drew 23 Pro competitors
and 75 Amateurs to Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens),
Hernandez, Rodriguez and the semi-retired Dechaine were
three of the four players in the two winners’
side semifinals of the Pro event, with Rodriguez battling
Hernandez and Dechaine squaring off against Rob Pole.
Rodriguez got into the hot seat match with an 8-5 win
that sent Hernandez to the loss side, where he was joined
by Pole, who’d been defeated by Dechaine 8-3.
Rodriguez claimed the hot seat 8-6 over Dechaine and
waited on the return of Hernandez.
On the loss side, Hernandez picked up Pat Fleming, who’d
eliminated Mike Salerno 8-2 and Predator Pro Am Tour
Director Tony Robles 8-3. Pole drew Rhio Anne (Annie)
Flores, making a strong showing in this Pro event, and
winning two straight double hill matches, against Mike
(Fingers) Badsteubener and wily Predator veteran, Mhet
Vergara, to reach Pole.
Annie Flores moved into the first-money-round quarterfinal
with an 8-3 win over Pole, where she was joined by Hernandez,
who’d sent Fleming home 8-5. Flores’ bid
for further advancement was halted abruptly by Hernandez,
who shut her out. Hernandez then won five matches in
a row on his way to an 8-2 victory over Dechaine in
the semifinals. He completed his run with a successful
rematch against Rodriguez 11-8.
Osipov spends all but one match on the loss side and
in finals, downs the man who sent him over
Alex Osipov, who’s in the midst of his best earnings
year, to date (since 2011), came to the 2018 Eastern
States Championships with two Amateur victories and
one Pro event victory on the Predator Tour this year.
Two of those three victories – the single Pro
and one of the Amateur events – were chalked up
within the last month. So he came, as it were, prepared,
though not for being sent to the loss side by Victor
Nau in the opening round. Apparently not willing to
settle for a short weekend, he worked his way through
nine matches on the loss side (including one forfeit
win) to eventually meet and defeat Nau in the finals.
With Osipov at work on the loss side, Nau advanced to
a winners’ side semifinal against Miguel Laboy.
Raphael Ortiz, in the meantime, squared off against
Luis Carrasco in the other one. Nau sent Laboy to a
match against Osipov with a 7-4 win, and in the hot
seat match, faced Ortiz, who’d sent Carrasco over
7-2. Nau claimed the hot seat with a forfeit by Ortiz,
which meant that the winner of the quarterfinals would
be leap-frogging over the semifinals and move directly
into the finals.
On the loss side, Osipov chalked up loss-side wins #5
and #6 against Paul Everton 8-3 and Mario Lozano 9-7
to pick up Laboy. Carrasco drew Paul Lyons, who’d
recently eliminated Ray Feliciano 7-2 and Suzzie Wong
(the #2-ranked female on the Predator Pro Am Tour) 7-3.
Osipov and Lyons handed Laboy and Carrasco their second
straight loss; Osipov 7-4 over Laboy and Lyons 7-2 over
Knowing that winning the quarterfinal match would propel
them directly into the finals, Osipov and Lyons both
put up a fight. With Osipov, who came into the event
as the tour’s #1-ranked A+ player and Lyons at
#14 among the tour’s C+ players, Lyons began the
quarterfinal race to 10 with five ‘on the wire’
already. He won his four to reach the hill, but Osipov
won his nine to be there as well. Osipov closed it out
and turned for his re-match against Nau.
In the straight-up-extended race to 9 final (Nau came
into the event at #7 among the tour’s A+ players),
Osipov, coming from the loss side, had to be the first
to win seven racks to extend the race. He did so and
went on to claim the Eastern States Championship’s
Amateur title with a 9-4 win.
In a full field, 16-entrant, single elimination Second
Chance event, Ambi Estevez picked up the first place,
$150 prize, after winning a double hill final against
Akiko Taniyama, who went home with a $100, runner up
prize. Ron Bernardo and Freity DeLaRosa finished in
the tie for third place and pocketed $30 each.
Tour director Tony Robles thanked Manny Stamatakis and
his Steinway Billiards staff for their hospitality,
along with title sponsor Predator Cues, PoolOnTheNet.com,
NAPL, Cappelle (BilliardsPress.com), Ozone Billiards
and the DeVito Team. The next stop on the Predator Tour
(#13), scheduled for Sept. 15-16, will feature a $750-added,
Double Points Amateur event and a $250-added Pro event,
to be hosted by Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY.
Story by Skip Maloney AZBilliards