Blaze Raxx Story

By Jerry Tarantola,
The Blaze 9-Ball Tour made its way to Raxx Bar & Grill in West Hempstead NY, Sunday September 27, 2009.  A strong field of 29 players came out to play, including Mika Immonen, Marlon Manalo, Oscar Bonilla, Joey Korsiak, Pete Tascarella Sr, and ladies points leader Erin McManus, to name a few.  This was a $1,000-added event, and each set was a race to seven.

Marlon Manalo, who was visiting New York in preparation for the US Open, led the top half of the bracket with wins over Pat Byrne 7-2, Ariel Rivera 7-2, Oscar Bonilla 7-4, and Pete Tascarella Sr, 7-3. Leading the bottom half of the bracket was World Champion Mika Immonen with wins over Joey Korsiak 7-6, Antonio Guerrero 7-1, Rob Pole 7-3, and Mike Fingers, 7-0.

Facing off to play for the hot seat were the two favorites in this event,  Marlon Manalo and Mika Immonen. This was a well-played match with Mika pulling away late in the set to win the match 7-5, and send Marlon to the one loss-side.

Meanwhile on the one-loss side, Joey Korsiak had fought his way back after a hill-hill loss to Mika Immonen to meet Oscar Bonilla in the quarter-final,  The two Long Island-based players had a very close battle, but Joey made it to the hill first.  Joey broke with the score at 6-4 and had an open table, but he hit the the 6 ball too hard when coming back uptable with the cue ball, and missed position.  Oscar would win both that game and the following game to go 6-6.  In the hill-hill game, Joey ended up with the same shot on the 6, but overcompensated, leaving himself short on position for the 7.  Joey elected to play a safe, trying to lock the cue ball behind the 8 downtable, but it leaked out, leaving Oscar a tough thin cut shot, which he sliced in, using the 9 ball for position on the 8, to win the set.

This win moved Oscar Bonilla on to the semi-final match against Marlon Manalo. This was another closely-fought match, and Oscar edged ahead of Marlon, 5-3. Marlon didn’t give up however, and he won the next three games to reach the hill first. Oscar came back to win the next game and make it hill hill, but Marlon had a monster break in the tie-breaking game, and ran out the rack  to win the match 7-6.

The final was a re-match between the undefeated Mika Immonen and Marlon Manalo, which would be a true double elimination, with Marlon having to beat Mika twice.  With Mika recently winning the Galveston World Classic 10-ball event, it appeared like no one one be able to beat him at Raxx.  And in the first set that’s exactly how it appeared, as Mika jumped out to a big 5-1 lead. However, the tables turned after Mika missed a 7-9 combo, and Marlon began to rise from the ashes. At 5-4 there was an interesting turn of events, as Marlon missed the one, but got lucky and hooked the cue ball dead on the 2.  The 1 ball was left sitting near the side pocket, and Mika kicked it in, but the cue ball followed and scratched, allowing Marlon to run out the rack at tie at 5-5.  Marlon took the next two games to win 7-5 and move the finals to the second set.

In the second set of the finals, Marlon started out flawless, with a 3-0 lead.  Marlon broke hot in the fourth game and it looked like he had an open runout, but surprisingly over-cut the 6, giving the game to Mika.  Mika would break and run out the following game to go 3-2 in Marlon’s favor.  From this point on, Marlon would dominate the match with some great shot-making, including a full-table kick into the 3-ball to combo in the 9.  Marlon showed his strength in the final match, making it his second win of the weekend, after his Saturday win in the Tri-State Tour at Master Billiards.

Blaze Tour Director Jose Burgos would like to thank tour sponsor Blaze Cues, but most of all he would like to thank all players for coming out, and he looks forward to seeing everyone at the next event.

1st             Marlon Manalo             $915.00

2nd            Mika Immonen             $500.00
3rd             Oscar Bonilla                $200.00
4th             Joey Korsiak                 $150.00
5th/6th       Pete Tascarella Sr.      $70.00                 
Mike Fingers                 $70.00

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