As he did last August on the Tri-State
Tour, Max Watanabe came from the loss side to meet and
defeat the hot seat occupant during the Predator Tour's
2017 season opener, on the weekend of January 7-8. The
$1,000-added event drew 74 entrants to Steinway Billiards
in Astoria (Queens), NY.
Impacted by a powerful storm, it was the first time
in Tour Director Tony Robles' memory that the Predator
Tour's season opener had drawn less than 100 entrants.
Though impacting the quantity, the storm had no discernible
effect on the quality.
With Watanabe already at work on a seven-match, loss-side
winning streak, it was Abel Rosario who advanced to
the hot seat. He'd defeated Troy Deocharran 7-4 in a
winners' side semifinal, as Brooke Meyer downed Rhys
Chen 7-3 in the other one. Rosario claimed the hot seat
7-5 over Meyer and waited for Watanabe to complete his
Watanabe had been sent to the loss side by Rhio Anne
(Annie) Flores. Four matches into his loss-side journey,
right after defeating Dev Bhattacharya 8-5, they met
a second time. Watanabe eliminated Flores 7-3 and drew
Chen. Deocharran picked up George Poltorak, who'd gotten
by Jose Kuilan 7-3 and Tommy Schreiber 7-2 to reach
It was Watanabe and Poltorak who advanced to the quarterfinals;
Watanabe 7-2 over Chen, Poltorak 7-3 over Deocharran.
Poltorak, due to a conflicting personal appointment,
forfeited the quarterfinal match.
Watanabe then defeated Meyer 7-5 in the semifinals to
earn a shot at Rosario in the hot seat. In the extended
race to 9, Watanabe reached the 'trigger' number of
racks (7), went on to complete his successful run 9-5
and claimed the event title.
Tour director Tony Robles thanked Manny Stamatakis and
his staff at Steinway Billiards, as well as title sponsor
Predator Cues, the NAPL, Ozone Billiards, PoolOnTheNet.Com,
Cappelle Publishing, and Delta-13 Racks. Robles also
acknowledged the continuing support and assistance of
Mandy Wu (ass't TD), Irene Kim, and his "lovely
wife," Gail Robles. The Predator Tour will return
to Steinway Billiards for a $1,000-added event, scheduled
for the weekend of Jan. 28-29.
Story by Skip Maloney - AzB