Written by NYC Grind Founder Jerry Tarantola & Editor Alison M. Fischer
The Predator Pro-Am Tour welcomed its regular season players to participate in the tour’s 2012 season finale, held at Raxx Pool Room, Bar & Grill in West Hempstead, NY on December 8-9. In order to qualify for the finale event, players were required to have played in five regular-season events throughout the year.
Raxx Pool Room staff & owner Holden Chin helped provide the ideal space for the area’s top amateur and pro players who came out to compete, spectate, and take in the 2012 Player of the Year award ceremony. Holden is also a strong player himself, and does a lot to contribute to the NY pool landscape, which helps make Raxx one of the area’s best locations for competitive pool. It was impressive to see a full field of 64 players at the event, along with the people who came out to support them and help pack the pool room over the two day-event.
The Amateur 9-Ball division of the event began on Saturday with 64 players, and welcomed back the final 16 players to compete on day two. These top 16 were guaranteed to be “in the money”, but the second day of competition would determine who had what it takes to capture the Predator Tour Pro-Am’s finale title.
On Sunday, as the final 16 players battled it out in the Amateur event, the Open/Pro 10-Ball event kicked off at noon. Here is the breakdown of both events below.
Amateur Division 9-Ball (Handicapped: D+ / A+)
A full field of 64 pool players came out to compete for the bragging rights of snapping off the final event of the Predator Tour’s 2012 season, along with the top prize of $1,400.
The final sixteen player remaining in this event moved on to day two: eight who were undefeated, and eight who were working to fight back on the one-loss side.
Manny Stamatakis B+ over Mike Hertz B 7-6,
Jack Smith A over Atif Khan B+ (7-4)
Romeo Singh C+ over Andrew Cleary C+ 7-2
Charles Young C+ over Mike Boyles C+ 7-4
Manny B+ over Jack Smith A 7-2
Romeo Singh C+ over Charles Young C+
Hot Seat Match:
In the hot seat match on the winner’s side, Romeo Singh played strong to defeat Manny Stamatakis 7-4, and earn a spot in the final match. Romeo would then wait to see who would be the last player standing on the one loss side, to meet him in the finals
Mike Yednak A+ over Steve Mack A+ 7-4
Mike Panzarella A+ over Vincent Rochefort B+ 7-5
Rene Villalobos C+ over Mike Harrington C+
Glen Ramsey C+ over Efrain Burgos C
The final four remaining players then matched up against the four players who moved over from their losses on the winner’s side:
Michael Yednak A+ over Mike Hertz B+ 8-7
Mike Panzarella A+ over Atif Khan B+
Rene Villalobos C+ over Andrew Cleary C+ 7-5
Glen Ramsey C+ over Mike Boyles 7-4
Michael Yednak over Mike Panzarella 7-5
Rene Villalobos over Glen Ramsey 7-1
The winning players, Yednak and Villalobos, then moved on to match up against the two players who were defeated in the final four of the winner’s side:
Mike Yednak A+ over Jack Smith A 7-4
Charles Young C+ over Rene Villalobos C+ 7-5
Mike Yednak A+ over Charles Young C+ 9-8
Michael Yednak, one of the year’s hottest players on the Predator Tour in 2012, had an impressive run through the one-loss side in the season finale.
Yednak would grind his way through to the semifinal, where he would meet Manny Stamatakis. In this close match, Stamatakis would come out as the victor at 7-5 and make it to the finals.
In the finals, Manny Stamatakis would have a chance for a rematch against Romeo Singh. This match was a battle, with both players showing high-level play. When the dust settled, Romeo would edge out Manny in a gritty hill-hill win at 9-8.
Congratulations to Romeo for his very impressive play throughout the event, which earned him an undefeated victory for the year’s end. Romeo Singh has shown longtime dedication to the game, and his hard work enabled him to to let his game shine through at the Predator Tour finale.
Manny Stamatakis also earned credit as runner-up, with his only two losses being to Romeo Singh. Manny is best-known for being a strong supporter of pool in NYC through his ongoing support of tournaments and other events at the Astoria, NY pool room Steinway Billiards. Steinway is host to a wide variety of events including weekly tournaments, independent events, Predator Tour stops, and several pool leagues.
Steinway Billiards will also be the location of the 2013 George “Ginky” SanSouci Memorial, which was one of the most popular event of the season, and co-produced by the Predator Tour, Tri-State Tour, and Mezz Tour.
Congratulations to all of the top finishers, as well as to all of the players participating in the finale, for their hard work and dedication.
Amateur 9-Ball Final Results:
1st: Romeo Singh – $1,400
2nd: Manny Stamatakis – $950
3rd: Michael Yednak – $700
4th: Charles Young – $450
5th/6th: Rene Villalobos, Jack Smith – $300
7th/8th: Michael Panzarella, Glenn Ramsey – $200
9th-12th: Mike Boyles, Andrew Cleary, Mike Hertz, Atif Khan – $125
13th-16th: Mike Harrington, Steve Mack, Efrain Burgos, Vincent Rochefort – $75
Open/Pro 10-Ball Event
A full field of 16 players turned out at Raxx Pool Room for the one-day Open/Pro 10-Ball finale event on Sunday, December 9. The field included Predator Pro/Am Tour owner Tony Robles, who is a legend in the New York area for helping elevate the game on several levels.
Robles has recently garnered a lot of buzz for his role as the technical advisor on the hit HBO show Boardwalk Empire, but Tony has been making waves on and off the table in this game since the early 90′s. As a player as well as an instructor, Tony Robles has helped influence the up-and-coming generations of players…and has also fulfilled leadership roles on both the Predator Tour and the National Amateur Pool League, alongside partner Gail Glazebrook.
Along with Robles, the event featured five-time US Open Champion Earl Strickland. Most recently, Earl has been selected as captain for the New York team on the nationwide pro league concept called the World Professional Billiard League (WPBL), set to open its first season on January 3 in Las Vegas. The field also featured top Filipino pro Ronnie Alcano, who is one of the most notable players to come out of the Philippines in recent decades.
While the event featured great legendary talents, it also featured some of the best up and coming talent in the game today. One of the tour’s top emerging players is Connecticut’s Jeremy Sossei, who has been a tour regular over the last few years, and continues to build to his resume as a pro and full-time touring player. Jeremy finished the 2012 season as the Pro Class Player of the Year Runner-Up.
Renowned WPBA pro Jennifer Barretta was also acknowledged for her impressive play all season, having earned the title of Open Class Player of the Year. This is a very notable accomplishment, as Jennifer has now become the first female player to earn this title in the Open division. Along with her pro pool accomplishments, Jennifer has also gained notoriety for being featured in Maxim Magazine, Playboy, The RackStarz Calendar, and being voted as one of the 50 Sexiest Athletes by ESPN. Jennifer has greatly stepped up her game playing against the top men players all season, and has gotten great results on the WPBA Pro Tour, finishing 2012 as the #8 ranked player.
Top up-and-coming New York area players including Daniel Dagodot, Mhet Vergara, and Gregg McAndrews also participated, with Gregg McAndrews having a notable performance to finish third in this event.
This event also brought in 24-year-old phenom Jayson Shaw from Scotland, who has been stirring up buzz in the NYC area following his great performance at this year’s US Open. The Predator Tour finale would make for Jayson’s third appearance on the tour, as well as his third Predator Tour win.
Jayson Shaw would end up going through the event undefeated to land his spot in the final match. Along the way, Jayson earned wins over top player Frankie Hernandez 7-5, Jeremy Sossei 7-3, Tony Robles 7-5, and Gregg McAndrews 7-0.
Taking the long road through the one-loss side, Earl “The Pearl” Strickland came back from a second-round loss to Tony Robles 7-5 to make it all the way to the final. Strickland claimed wins over Scott Murphy 7-2, Jeremy Sossei 7-2, Mhet Vergara 7-5, Frankie Hernandez 7-2, and Gregg McAndrews 7-2 on his path to the final.
In the final match versus Earl Strickland, Jayson Shaw continued to impress the knowledgeable New York crowd by clutching out a close 7-5 win over the Hall of Fame legend Strickland.
Congratulations go out to Jayson Shaw for earning a strong victory at Raxx in the Predator Open/Pro Season Finale. Shaw’s consistently-high level of play has already earned him a title on the UK’s premier pro pool tour, The GB 9Ball Tour (where he is currently ranked #3), and it is clear that he has become a threat to the world’s top players. Look to see Jayson Shaw’s name in many more future headlines!
1st: Jayson Shaw – $1,000
2nd: Earl Strickland – $700
3rd: Gregg McAndrews – $400
4th: Frankie Hernandez – $300