Eugene Ok (pronounced "Oak")
has been climbing the Predator Tour 'win' ladder for
three years, finishing, in that time, 9th (2014), 5th,
4th (2016), and 3rd, this past February. On the weekend
of May 6-7, he hit the top rung, going undefeated to
claim his first Predator title. The $1,000-added event
drew 74 entrants to The Stop, in Nanuet, NY.
Ok advanced through the field to a winners' side semifinal
match against Paul Carpenter, as Rhys Chen squared off
against Elvis Rodriguez in the other one. It was Rodriguez,
who'd sent Ok to the loss side in February, defeating
him in the hot seat match, after which Dave Shlemperis,
the eventual winner, spoiled Ok's bid with a win in
the semifinals. Perhaps looking forward to a re-match
against Rodriguez, Ok defeated Carpenter 7-2. Chen spoiled
any hopes Ok may have been entertaining for that hot
seat re-match by downing Rodriguez 7-2. In his first
hot seat match, Ok downed Chen 7-1.
Moving to the loss side, Rodriguez picked up Casius
Cassie, who'd defeated Shlemperis and Miguel Laboy,
both 7-5, to reach him. Carpenter drew Abel Rosario,
who entered the tournament as the #3-ranked, B class
player on the tour, and following a defeat at the hands
of Tony Ignomirello, was in the midst of a 10-match,
loss-side run which would take him as far as the semifinals.
In wins #7 & #8, Rosario had eliminated Carmine
Andujar 8-6, and Alex Kent 7-4.
Rodriguez and Cassie locked up in a double hill fight
that eventually sent Cassie to the quarterfinals. He
was joined by Rosario, who'd defeated Carpenter 7-4.
Rosario chalked up his final, loss-side win 7-5 over
Cassie, before Chen stopped his loss-side run 7-3 in
Ok, who entered the tournament two spots below Rosario
in the tour's B Class rankings (#5), climbed that rankings
ladder, too, with a victory in the finals. He defeated
Chen 7-3 to claim his first Predator title.
Tim Wotherspoon defeated Dave Callaghan 9-5 in the finals
of a 13-entrant Second Chance Tournament, while Jerry
Almodovar and Corey Avallone shared a third place finish.
A Third Chance event that drew eight entrants saw Jaydev
Zaveri take the top spot with a win over Sarah Preston
in the finals.
Tour director Tony Robles offered special thanks to
the ownership and staff of The Spot, the newest tour
venue, for their continuing hospitality and professionalism
in hosting the tour. He also thanked sponsors Predator
Cues, Ozone Billiards, Poison Billiards, PlayNAPL.com,
The Devito Team, PoolOnTheNet.com, Capelle (BilliardsPress.com),
AZBilliards, Billiards Digest and Pool & Billiard
The next stop on the Predator Tour, scheduled for the
weekend of May 27-29, will be the 7th Annual George
"Ginky" Sansouci Memorial Tournament. Held
under the combined auspices of the Predator Tour, the
Tri-State Tour, and the Mezz Tour, the event will feature
both an Amateur and Pro event. Robles reminded prospective
competitors that the "Ginky" Memorial is a
pre-paid event, which has regularly drawn large fields,
including last year's, which drew a combined total of
244 entrants. Entry fees for the event must be paid
by May 21. Contact Tony Robles at 917-202-2750 or via
e-mail at Tonyroblesnyc@gmail.com.
Story by Skip Maloney AZBilliards