Napoleon Fells Defending Champ Van Boening
Predator 10-Ball Championship / Las Vegas, NV
by InsidePOOL Staff
The final four billiard players returning for Saturday’s final rounds have emerged after a taxing day of elimination at the Predator 10-Ball Championship in Las Vegas, NV. This five-day event is being presented by Predator Products and hosted by the Riviera Hotel Casino.
For the players who had one loss already, the day began at 10:30 a.m. to try to make it through to the final 16. Defending champion Shane Van Boening trudged through Go Takami 10-7 and Nicolas Otterman 10-7 to make it. Allison Fisher held on gamely until a 10-4 loss to Mike Dechaine, who then fell to Gabe Owen in the final one-loss-side round 10-7. Jeremy Jones trounced Stan Tourangeau 10-2, Sweden’s Marcus Chamat bested Ramil Gallego 10-7, and Tyler Edey won 10-5 over Alex Lely. Representing the Philippines, Lee Van Corteza won 10-5 over fellow countryman Jose Parica, while Alex “The Lion” Pagulayan bested Dan Louie 10-8. Rounding out the final eight from the one-loss side was Darren Appleton of Great Britain, ousting Mika Immonen 10-4.
Tournament director Scott Smith redrew the remaining 16 names and put them into a single-elimination bracket. Unfortunately, there was apparently a miscommunication between Smith and event promoter Charlie Williams, for Smith seemed unaware that with the change in format, the race changed to 11 instead of 10. This was not discovered until Tony Drago had already “won” his match with Darren Appleton 10-6. The match was considered a concession to Drago by Appleton.
Chamat, playing Niels Feijen out of The Netherlands, reached the “hill” 9-3 to find that he had another two racks to go instead of one. Momentarily taken aback, Chamat was forced to watch Feijen take control of the table after a 5-10 combo gave the Dutchman a game. A break and run-out saw Feijen move another step closer; however, Feijen was playing to break up the 9 and 10 balls in the next and scratched. Chamat took the hill (again) and then broke and ran out the final table to win 11-5.
Canada’s Tyler Edey struggled through a tough match-up with reigning world champion Daryl “Dazzler” Peach that he ultimately won 11-7, while Alex Pagulayan thoroughly trounced John Schmidt to advance to the quarterfinals. From a 5-2 and then a 9-4 lead, Pagulayan took the hill but then missed the 9 ball. Schmidt bagged that game but then scratched on his next break, handing the match to Pagulayan.
Robb Saez and Francisco Bustamante played a hotly contested match that went double-hill, with Bustamante advancing. On the flip side, Jeremy Jones had a rather one-sided match with Great Britain’s Raj “Hitman” Hundal. In a set where Jones took an early lead and never relinquished it, the Texan soon found himself up 10-4. He flubbed the following 1 ball, but when Hundal scratched on the 6, it was all over.
Former U.S. Open champ Gabe Owen put up a good fight against Filipino Lee Van Corteza and managed to keep the score fairly even until the score was 7-6 Van Corteza. “Van Van” won the next and then missed a bank attempt on the 9 ball, but Owen also missed the 9, so Van Corteza took that rack. A safety skirmish in the next rack ended when Owen missed the 7 ball in the side, with Van Corteza reaching the hill. The Filipino broke the final rack, and it was no gimme, but he carefully ran out to win 11-6.
The fickle finger of fate paired Ernesto Dominguez and Shane Van Boening together again. Dominguez, having already defeated “The South Dakota Kid” once in this event, might not have taken him seriously enough the second time around, for it wasn’t long before Van Boening took a 5-2 lead. He pushed that to 7-4 and then 9-5. Van Boening missed the 1 ball in the fifteenth rack, and Dominguez cleared the table but came up dry on his following break. Van Boening ran out to reach the hill 10-6. He scratched on the 1 ball trying to play safe, and it looked as though Dominguez might be able to stage a comeback. But the table mechanic got funny on the 8 ball and missed it, leaving three balls for Van Boening, who won 11-6.
In the quarterfinal round, there was another all-Filipino match-up, as Bustamante met with Van Corteza. With the score tied 4-all, Bustamante gradually pulled away from his opponent, going up 8-5 and then 10-6. He played a defensive shot on the 1 ball in the next rack, and Van Corteza fouled, allowing Bustamante the win.
Chamat had an excellent match against Van Boening in which he whizzed to a daunting 7-3 lead over the defending champion. He faltered a bit when he got out of line on the next 9 ball and missed, and Van Boening took the next rack. They traded the next two to make it 8-5, and then Van Boening missed what appeared to be an easy 7. Chamat took that rack and then the next when Van Boening scratched, giving Chamat ball in hand and the hill. Van Boening started to make a comeback, winning the next two racks, but at 10-8, he scratched on the break. The last rack was a dicey one, but with a sweet break-out shot off the 7 ball into the 9 and 10 balls, Chamat claimed the victory 11-8.
Jones started off strong in his match against Edey, quickly reaching a 6-3 and then a 9-4 lead. When he missed the 5 ball in the side, though, Edey got back in gear to stage a return, taking that rack and the next to make it 9-6. Jones took ball in hand after Edey scratched to reach the hill, but when “Double J” missed a cut on the 4 ball, Edey took that rack. Edey did not manage to catch up in time, though, for when he underhit a 2-8 combo in the last rack, Jones was out for the 11-7 win.
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In probably the most entertaining match of the evening, recent World Pool Masters champion Pagulayan met the fast-firing Drago on the featured table. It turned out to be the closest quarterfinal match of the event, with the players trading rack for rack. Pagulayan reached the hill first after Drago hung up a 4 ball, making it 10-8 Pagulayan. Drago got his chance in the next game, running out from the 2 to pull within a rack. A five-inning safety battle on the 6 ball ended with Pagulayan erroneously calling a foul on himself, and Drago made it a hill-hill nail-biter. The Maltese came up dry on his break, and Pagulayan pushed out. Drago played a safety on the 1, and Pagulayan kicked at it and left a shot for Drago, who dished up to win 11-10.
Saturday’s two semifinal matches will be between Chamat and Drago at 12:00 PST and Bustamante and Jones at 2:00 PST. For live coverage of the 8th Annual Predator 10-Ball Championship, please visit Predator10ball.com, Kozoom.com, and InsidePOOLmag.com.