Safba Breaks Through

Zee Shan Safba Breaks Through at Mr. Cue Billiards

By Alison M. Fischer, NYCgrind.com

(photo: L-R 1st Place ABCD Winner Zee Shan Safba, 3rd Place Charlie Lentini & 2nd Place Scott Murphy)

The Ozone Billiards Predator 9-ball Tour was hosted by Mr. Cue Billiards in Lindenhurst, NY on August 14-15th. This $1,000-added event was worth double points as this 12th stop of the season was a warm-up for the upcoming Seminole Tribe of Florida Empire State Championships.

A total field of 52 players came out to take a shot at the $1,000 first prize, including Scott Simonetti, Stewart Warnock, Michael Yednak, Charlie Lentini, Jerry Tarantola, John Alicea and Mike Panzarella. Four of the tour’s lady players, Gail Glazebrook, Linda Cheung, Borana Andoni, and Diana Rojas also came out to battle.  Diana would be the eventual highest-finishing female, placing tied for 9th.

The tournament bracket for this event was split up between the A/B players the C/D players. Rene Villalobos  was impressive in grinding out several tough wins over Taran Gunness 7-4, Anthony Zoccolillo 7-5, and Bob Schlott 7-6, before losing a nail-biter to Zee Shan Safba 7-6.

Zee Shan fought through the C/D bracket with wins over Linda Cheung 7-4, Pat Dibuono 7-6, Al Frances 7-3, and ultimately Rene. This run set up a hot seat match against Mr. Cue veteran house player, Charlie Lentini… which ended in Zee Shan’s favor at 7-4.

Several C/D players were also putting together impressive performances on the one-loss side, including Diana Rojas, Anthony Zoccolillo, Al Frances, and Bob Schlott.  After losing to Zee Shan Safba on the winner’s side, Rene squeaked out a close 7-6 win over Bob Schlott, lining up the quarterfinal match against Scott Murphy, who was grinding through the A/B west side of the bracket.

Scott Murphy is the owner of Mr. Cue Billiards, and proved that the house room advantage can definitely come into play. Scott, who is rated a B, lost his first round to one of the favorites, John Alicea (7-6), then began an impressive comeback. Scott battled through the one-loss side with wins over Chris Laz 7-6, Bob Mammarella 7-2, Michael Yednak 7-6, Ryan Klett 7-2, T.J. 7-3, Scott Simonetti 7-4, Stewart Warnock 7-5, Jerry Tarantola 7-3 and ultimately Rene Villalobos 7-3.

This long battle set Scott up for the semifinal match against house man Charlie Lentini, who had previously lost to Zee Shan Safba in the hot seat match.  Before losing to Zee Shan, Charlie has been the player to beat, having wins over Darren DeFilippis 7-3, Raphael Dabreo 7-0, T.J. 7-3, Stewart Warnock 7-0, and Jerry Tarantola 7-3.

In the semifinal match between the two house players, Scott Murphy emerged victorious with a dominant 7-3 score.  The final match was then set between Scott and Zee Shan Safba. When the dust settled, it was Bellerose, Queens player Zee Shan Safba who edged out a hill-hill 9-8 victory, breaking through for his first Predator Tour win.

This stop on the Predator Tour also featured a $300 added second day, single elimination event.  Ten players participated, and rising to the top of the bracket were Tony Sinacore & Scott Murphy, who split in the final, each taking $180. Coming in tied for 3rd/4th were Shawn Sookhai & Geoff Conway, winning $60.

The top finishing players in this event enjoyed earning double points, which boosted up their season ranking status as they prepare for the upcoming Seminole Tribe of Florida Empire State Championship. This banner event will take place at Raxx Pool Room over the weekend of September 4-5, and boasts an $8,000-added prize fund.  The added funds are made possible in part by the Seminole Tribe of Florida.

Final Results:
1st: Zee Shan Safba – $1,000
2nd: Scott Murphy – $600
3rd: Charlie Lentini – $450
4th: Rene Villalobos – $300
5th/6th: Bob Schlott, Jerry Tarantola – $225
7th/8th: Stewart Warnock, Anthony Zoccolillo -$150
9th-12th: Diana Rojas, Frankie Cologne, Scott Simonetti, Al Frances – $100

John Alicea Wins

John Alicea Wins His First Predator Event of the Season while Tony Robles Claims the Open/Pro 10-ball

By Alison M. Fischer, NYCgrind.com

(photo: L-R 3rd Place: Jim Munak, Noel Bensurto, 2nd Place: Daniel Dagotdot and 1st Place Winner: John Alicea)

Hosting a field of sixty-seven players, the Ozone Billiards Predator Tour held its 11th stop of the 2010 season at the Amsterdam Billiard Club on July 24-25.  With a wide range of top NYC-area amateur players in the A/B/C/D 9-ball event, along with the eight-player Open/Pro 10-ball event, there was plenty of great play to be seen at Amsterdam Billiards on this weekend.  Top players in the amateur event included Michael Yednak, Victor Nau, John Alicea, Stewart Warnock, and Jerry Tarantola, along with three top female players, Emily Duddy, Diana Rojas, & Gail Glazebrook.

In this event, one of the New York area’s top young rising stars, John Alicea from Bayonne, NJ, would run to the top of the A/B/C/D 9-ball event.  John rolled through the winner’s bracket with wins over Peter Ziemak 7-5, Donald Chu 7-5, Tony Liang 7-6, Simon Lau 7-2, Daniel Dagotdot 7-3, and then defeated custom cue case maker Jim Murnak 7-4 to take the hot seat on day two. Jim Murnak won the top (C/D) bracket  while John Alicea took down the bottom (A/B) bracket to set up the match for the hot seat.

While Daniel Dagotdot has been showing impressive advances in his Predator Tour performances, he would make this event his best finish yet, eventually claiming 2nd place.  On day one of the tournament, Daniel claimed four winner’s side matches against Christian Smith (7-6), Stewart Warnock (7-4), Noel Bensurto (7-5), and John Ortiz (7-4) before his loss to John Alicea in the winner’s side final four.

On day two, Daniel went on to defeat Victor Nau (7-2), Alberto Estevez (7-5), followed by Jim Murnak in the semifinal (7-2) to move on for a rematch against John Alicea in the finals.  In the final match, Daniel Dagotdot came back from behind in a battle against John Alicea, but still fell short.  John completed his undefeated run through the event with a 7-6 final score, to win his first Predator Tour event of the 2010 season.

The top female finisher in this event would be longtime Amsterdam league player and reigning BCAPL National Champion Gail Glazebrook.  After winning her first-round against Ramilo Tanglao (7-5) Gail lost to Troy Deocharran (7-4), but came back on the one-loss side to defeat Chuck Giallorenzo (7-4), Suleyman Savci (7-5), and avenged her loss to Troy Deocharran (7-6) before falling to John Stiles (7-5) to finish tied for 13th. Strong performances were also seen from Mike Panzarella, Victor Nau, Jim Murnak, and Mathew Harricharan.

Congratulations to John Alicea for his dominant win in this event, along with Daniel Dagotdot for his strong runner-up finish!

Final Results:

1st: John Alicea – $1,000

2nd: Daniel Dagotdot – $650

3rd: Jim Murnak – $475

4th: Alberto Estevez – $325

5th/6th: Victor Nau, Mathew Harricharan – $215

7th/8th: Mike Panzarella, Luis Novas – $150

9th-12th: John Stiles, Simon Lau, Andrew Kane, John Ortiz – $100

13th-16th: Gail Glazebrook, Robert Plaut, Jerry Tarantola, Noel Bensurto – $75

Open/Pro 10-ball:

With Amsterdam Billiards being home to some of NYC’s top powerhouse players, pool fans who came out for this Predator Tour stop were due to see some great match ups.  Many of the notable players who played in this event also play in the leagues at Amsterdam, including George “Ginky” San Souci, Zion Zvi, Mike Miller, and House Pro Tony Robles.  Amsterdam 14.1 League Director Danny Barouty along with Connecticut top pro Jeremy Sossei also came to make their mark at this event.

“The Silent Assassin” Tony Robles was given a first-round loss from Jeremy Sossei, 8-4.  But, Tony then charged through the one-loss side with wins over Jose Cruz (8-5), Zion Zvi (8-5), Danny Barouty (8-5), then got retribution against Jeremy Sossei with an 8-2 win to move on to the finals.

Meanwhile, George “Ginky” San Souci was busy firing through the winner’s bracket, with wins over Ron Mason (8-4), Zion Zvi (8-2), and Jeremy Sossei (8-0) to claim the hot seat.  In the final match, Ginky faced Tony Robles in a match that Tony dominated.  Congratulations to Tony Robles for bouncing back to win this event.  Tony currently holds the #1 position on the tour’s rankings, while George San Souci trails at #2.

Tony Robles and the Predator Tour would like to thank their sponsors: Predator Cues, Poison Cues, Ozone Billiards, Delta-13 Racks, The Seminole Tribe of Florida, The Seminole Pro Tour, Poolonthenet.comAZBilliards.com, Digital Ink Printing, www.pool.bz, Billiards Press, Cuetable.com, Master Chalk, RJH Custom Cues, Webb Custom Cues, Jim Murnak Cue Cases, Go4Pool.netNYCgrind.com, Billiards Digest, Inside Pool Magazine, Pool & Billiards Magazine, Maxim Billiards & The Tournament Guide.

Final Results:

1st: “The Silent Assassin” Tony Robles – $700

2nd: “Ginky” George Sansouci – $400

3rd: “The Giant Killer” Jeremy Sossei – $150