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

Kevin Guimond and Wellington Reyes Storm the Tour

Kevin Guimond and Wellington Reyes Storm the Predator Tour at BQE Billiards & Cafe

By Jerry Tarantola, NYCgrind.com

(photo: L-R Amateur Division 1st Place Wellington Reyes, Tony Robles & 2nd Place Melvin Aguilera)

On May 8th & 9th, Tony Robles welcomed 51 of the strongest players in the Tri-State area for the 7th stop of the Ozone Billiards Predator Tour. This tour stop was hosted by BQE Billiards in Queens NY. Special thanks to BQE owners and staff Nick, John, Theo & Gus for adding $1,000 and letting us use their beautiful room. Top amateur players like Victor Nau, Michael Yednak, John Alicea, Mike Wong, Lionel Rivera, and Scott Simonetti topped off a strong field.

In the amateur event, Melvin Aguilera made a strong statement coming in as a D player… knocking off several top guns. Melvin went straight through the winner’s bracket, defeating Travis Walker (7-4), John Hacsi (7-4), Alberto Estevez (7-4), Sam Li (7-5), and Brent Boemmels (7-5), earning a spot in the hot seat. Before the hot seat match began, Tony Robles raised Melvin from a D to a C player for his much-improved speed.

Brent Boemmels, who was rated an A in this event, also made a strong statement. Brent grinded out W’s over John Ortiz (7-6), Mike Wong (7-3), Alex Gonzalez (7-2), Scott Simonetti (7-3), and Wellington Reyes (7-4)… before losing to Melvin Aguilera (7-5).

L-R Open Pro Division Winner 1st Place Kevin Guimond & 2nd Place Winner Jeremy Sossei

In the one-loss bracket, Brent was lined up with a rematch against Wellington Reyes. Wellington bounced back from that loss to Brent to defeat John Alicea (7-6) and Sam Li (7-4).  Sam had an impressive run on that day, winning four consecutive matches, before losing to Melvin Aguilera (7-5) and Wellington Reyes (7-4).

In the hot seat match, Brent came out strong, but a combination of a few bad rolls and costly errors shifted the momentum. Wellington capitalized and took over the flow and control of the set… leading to a 7-3 final score.

The stage was set for a final match up between Wellington Reyes, who came in on the one-loss side, versus Melvin Aguilera in the hot seat. Wellington had come from the one-loss side to win the tournament… capping off a stand out day with a 9-8 victory in the finals.

Final Results:

1st: Wellington Reyes $800

2nd: Melvin Aguilera $600

3rd: Brent Boemmels $400

4th: Sam Li $300

5/6th: John Hacsi, John Alicea $200

7-8th: Alberto Estevez, Wali Muhammad $125

9-12th: Mike Wong, Ramilo Tanglao, Scott Simonetti, Steve Way $85

In the Open/Pro field, things got shaken up by Kevin Guimond.  Kevin, who had won the Empire State Amateur Championships in March, stormed through Oscar Bonilla 8-6, Zion Zvi 8-6, and George “Ginky” Sansouci 8-7 to make it to the finals. Jeremy Sossei came from the one-loss side to meet Kevin in the finals, but was unsuccesful, and Kevin claimed the case game to win the final match. Congratulations to Kevin Guimond for an impressive first win in the Open/Pro Predator field.

Open/Pro:

1st: Kevin Guimond $600

2nd: Jeremy Sossei $300

3rd: George “Ginky”  Sansouci $100

Tony Robles and the Predator 9-ball 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.com, Digital Ink Printing, Billiards Press, RJH Custom Cues, Jim Murnak Cue Cases, Go4Pool.net, and NYCgrind.com.

For more information on the Ozone Billiards Predator 9-Ball Tour, please log on to: www.predator9balltour.com

The next event on the Predator Tour will be held at Master Billiards on May 29-30.