The nature of pool lends itself to showdowns
between long-time veterans and so-called ‘young
guns,’ although not all of them are necessarily
young. The finals of this past weekend’s (Feb.
15-16) stop on the Predator Pro Am Tour was a case in
point, when newcomer Euryel Castillo, with only six
cash finishes and one event victory (*) on his ‘resume,’
all recorded within the past year, faced off against
Miguel Laboy, with cash finishes and multiple event
victories, dating back 15 years, to his first appearance
at the 2005 US Open 9-Ball Championships, at which he
finished 33rd (along with Tony Robles, by the way).
The ‘young gun’ Castillo came out on top
in this one, going undefeated and taking Laboy down
twice at the $1,000-added event that drew 84 entrants
to Raxx Billiards in West Hempstead, NY.
Their first get-together was in the battle for the hot
seat. Castillo had defeated Monika Callaghan (whose
husband was already toiling away on the loss side) 7-3,
while Laboy was involved dispatching George Poltorak
to the loss side 9-5. In their first of two, they battled
to double hill before Castillo prevailed to claim the
On the loss side, George Poltorak picked up Eli Trajceski,
who’d recently defeated Jaydev Zaveri 7-3 and
survived a double hill battle against Troy Deocharran.
Monika Callaghan drew her husband, Michael, which is
always the kind of match that draws speculation about
how their relationship will proceed immediately after
one of them wins; the standard speculation which follows
a husband victory is usually about the husband spending
at least one night sleeping on a couch. Michael had
defeated Katie Baker 6-3 and Mikhail Kim 7-3 to reach
Poltorak and Trajceski locked up in a double hill fight
that eventually sent Poltorak to the quarterfinals.
He was joined by Michael Callaghan, who’d sent
his wife home (figuratively) 6-3, his assumed night
on the couch possibly avoided by the eventual $1,000
in cash they managed to bring home as a team.
Michael advanced a step further, downing Poltorak in
the quarterfinals 7-4. His loss-side run was stopped
by Laboy who downed him 11-9 in the semifinals, to earn
a second shot at Castillo in the hot seat.
The odds in the final match were likely on Laboy’s
side. Castillo, though, did not apparently get that
memo, as he defeated Laboy 10-4 to capture his first
non-asterisk (meaning, played a final match) title.
A Second Chance event which drew 16 entrants was won
John Francisco, who pocketed $160 for the win. Sean
DaCosta was runner-up ($100), with Debbie Buyukdeniz
and Erick Toledo finishing in the tie for 3rd ($30 each).
Tour director Tony Robles thanked Josh and Holden Chin
and their Raxx Billiards staff for their hospitality,
as well as title sponsor Predator Cues, Ozone Billiards,
PlayNAPL.com, The DeVito Team, PoolOnTheNet.com, Cappelle
(BilliardsPress.com), AZBilliards, Pool & Billiard
Magazine and Billiards Digest. He also thanked his own
Predator Pro Am staff to include his lovely wife, Gail.
The next stop on the Predator Pro Am Tour, scheduled
for March 14-15, will be hosted by Steinway Billiards
in Astoria (Queens), NY.
Story by Skip Maloney AZBilliards