The Blaze Tour rolled through Rockaway Billiards in Rockaway, NJ on November 22nd, 2009. While the host room Rockaway Biliards is a tour favorite location, the event drew fewer players than expected..
Several of the top players on the grind came out to try to take advantage of the lack of other top players who went to to the Snookers event. Mike Miller, Spanky Kaba, Wali Muhammad and Jerry Tarantola all were looking to make a statement. NY area aspiring women’s professional “Snookie” Diana Rojas, made the trip to Jersey as well. “Snookie” has been recently tearing it up in the NYC area, while consistently showing heart and determination. Snookie was joined in the tournament by another aspiring female player who has been breaking through lately, Sandy Paterino.
Junior Champion Jonathan Castillo continues impress the Tri-State Area as his game continues to rise. Jonathan ran into a brick wall in Nick Kos who played a near flawless set and had Jonathat 6-1 before battling back to 6-5 before Nick was able to capture his seventh game.
Rockaway Billiards has 18 Gold Crown I Billiard Tables, which played similar to the way the tables played in the legendary pool hall, Golden Q in Queens, NY. Hosts Bob and Karen Guerra were tremendous hosts and Bob was impressive in bouncing back from a 1st round loss to win two consecutive sets 7-1, 7-2.
The mix between old school equipment and mistique as well as new school talent and energy was enjoyable to see unfold. Early in the tournament Spanky Kaba and Bruce Nagle were impressive with gritty early victories staying on the Winners Bracket, while Jerry Tarantola upset Mike Miller by a 7-5 score to earn two consecutive wins.
Snookie was impressive in bouncing back from a first round loss to shut out Frank Rosa 7-0, while Mike Miller was stirring it up on the one loss side. Mike caught a gear and went through Paul Johnson 7-2, Yusef Khan 7-3, Jerry T 7-2, Nick Kos 7-5 and Spanky 7-2… earning him a spot in the finals.
Nick Kos was solid in battling back from 4-0 in one match before coming back from 6-1 to almost tie it 6-6. Nick had a long shot on the nine ball with a slight angle and misjudged it as he scratched in the corner pocket after pocketing the nine ball to tie the score at 6-6.
Mike Miller was matched up against Spanky Kaba who couldn’t fade Mike Millers effective break and run out gear, which led to a 7-2 score.
In the finals it was a a match up of the two hottest players in the tournament… Mike Miller blazing his way through the one loss side, as well as Bruce Nagle’s who’s play has been remarkable.
Bruce went through Scott Abramowitz, Frank Rosa, Mike Watson, Jerry T, Spanky in impressive fashion. Bruce has been in dead gear as he has settled into his new pool room newly opened in January called Bankshot Bililards in Luzerne,PA.
Mike Miller won the flip, and from his first inning at the table, Bruce took control of the match. Jumping out to a 2-0 lead, then 4-2 lead… which surprised most players which pegged Mike as the favorite.
Mike missed a key 8-ball to close the gap to 5-3, allowing Bruce to extend his lead and to 5-2. Bruce never looked back as he sailed to a final score of 7-2.
Congratulations to Bruce Nagel who’s agressive play and fast tempo stormed the the tournament in impressive fashion.
The Blaze Tour’s Next Stop is at Drexline Billiard Club in Drexel Hill, PA on November 29.
1st: Bruce Nagle $620
2nd: Mike Miller $300
3rd: Spanky Kaba $215
4th: Jerry Tarantola $70