Vidal the Victor at Predator Billiard Tour Finale
2008 Empire State 9-Ball Championship / West Hempstead, NY
The First Annual Empire State 9-Ball Championship, presented by the Predator 9-Ball Tour, took place October 11-12 at Raxx Pool Room Bar & Grill in West Hempstead, Long Island. The $3,000 added event had 75 of the Northeast’s top players come to participate in this historic event, including Jose Parica, George Sansouci, Marc Vidal, Shaun Wilkie, Joey Korsiak, and Tony Robles, with Vidal winning this first inaugural prestigious event.
The event started with an awards ceremony to celebrate the players of the 2008 season. The players of the year were:
|Predator 9-Ball Tour Awards|
|Pro Division||Tony Robles||Runner up||Shin Park|
|Open Division||Joey Kong||Runner up||Bobby Blackmore|
|A Division||Michael Wong||Runner up||John Alicea|
|B Division||Lionel Rivera||Runner up||Thomas Wan|
|C/D Division||Alfonso Passariello||Runner up||John MacArthur/Jay Chiu (Tie)|
|Female Division||Gail Glazebrook||Runner up||Borana Andoni|
Third-place players of the year were also rewarded, as were all the junior competitors who participated during the season. A special thanks was also given to tournament director William Finnegan for all his hard work and dedication throughout the season.
Day one action saw Oscar Bonilla win over Bobby Blackmore 8-3, Jay Plonski 8-4, Jorge Rodriguez 8-6, and Mike Miller 8-5. Vidal also started the day by taking against Rob Omen 8-4, Eric Tang 8-4, Thomas Wan 8-4, and Wilkie 8-6.
At the bottom of the chart, George Sansouci won his first five matches, defeating Alfonso Passariello 8-2, Mike Panzarella 8-5, Robles 8-7, Pete Tascarella Sr. 8-4, and Eddie Abraham 8-4. Lenny Favata also showcased his talent with wins over William Finnegan 8-3, Wali Muhammad 8-5, Jay Chiu 8-1, Frankie Hernandez 8-5, and Jerry Tarantola 8-5.
On day two, Vidal bested Bonilla 9-7, while Sansouci won against Favata 9-8 to set up the hot seat match. Vidal was playing some of the best pool of his life but also battled his own mistakes. Trailing 7-3 against Sansouci, Vidal fought back to make it hill-hill. But in the final game, Vidal under-stroked the 7 ball and left himself tough on the 8. He successfully pocketed the 8 ball but watched in horror as the cue ball rolled into the opposing corner pocket, giving Sansouci ball in hand on the 9 and the victory.
On the one loss side, Bonilla ousted Robles 9-3, while Favata eliminated Wilkie after a hill-hill match, guaranteeing that a new face would appear in the winner’s circle. Bonilla proceeded to best Favata 9-6 to earn a rematch against Vidal. Still fuming over the loss to Sansouci, Vidal tortured Bonilla in their rematch 9-3 and went on to exact revenge.
In the final, Vidal started off by taking a commanding 6-2 lead. Sansouci, though, took advantage of a couple of errors and came back to tie the match 6-6. In the next rack, Sansouci made a jump shot to cut the 2 in the corner but missed an easy shot on the 5. Again, Vidal struggled keeping the cue ball on the table, giving up ball in hand three times on the 9 ball.
With the score 10-9 in his favor, Vidal broke and made a ball but couldn’t pocket the 1 ball. After the players had traded several innings, Vidal left the 9 hanging in the pocket. Sansouci had a shot on the 2 but missed it. Calmly Vidal stepped up to the table and pocketed four balls to set up a 7-9 combination for the 11-9 win.
Highest Finishing C/D
William Finnegan $ 100
Highest Finishing Female
Gail Glazebrook $ 100
Photo courtesy of NYCGrind.com