Rivera Rakes in First Predator Win
Predator 9-Ball Tour / West Hempstead, NY
Lionel Rivera triumphed over a 79-player field at the April 18-19 stop of the Blatt Billiards Predator 9-Ball Tour. This event was hosted by Raxx Pool Room in West Hempstead, NY, and was the tour’s second A-B-C-D stop of the 2009 season.
The main tournament began Saturday and drew 62 of the Tri-State area’s strongest players. Picking up right where he left off from the first A-B-C-D event, where he took third place, Rivera took advantage of a first-round bye and fell into dead stroke by defeating John Mazes 7-2, Craig Seal 7-4, Mike Wong 7-4, and Thomas Wan 7-4 to remain unscathed after the first day. Albert Estevez also enjoyed a first-round bye and then defeated Dave Ascolese 7-3, Bobby Varughese 7-3, and Shawn Sookhai 7-6.
As day one came to a close, only four were left undefeated—Rivera, Beau Baer, P.J. Puma, and Albert Estevez. On the A-B side, Rivera faced Baer for a chance at the hot seat, while in the C-D bracket, Puma battled Estevez.
While Rivera remained in control of his game on day two, Baer seemed to be a different player. Rivera took advantage of a couple of mistakes and dominated Baer 7-2 for a chance at the hot seat, while Estevez took care of Puma to earn his shot at the hot seat, winning 7-5. The match for the hot seat was a barn-burner, with Rivera squeaking out the win 7-6.
On the one-loss side, Shawn Sookhai staged a comeback by winning four in a row—three of them hill-hill matches—to earn a shot at the semifinals against Estevez. But Sookhai seemed to lose his steam against Estevez, who won 7-3 for a chance to redeem himself.
In the finals, Rivera could not be denied as he calmly ran rack after rack to claim his first Predator Tour stop of this season, winning 7-4.
The tour also hosted the Delta-13 second-day B-C-D event that was won Charles Lentini, who defeated Dave Deserio in the final 7-4.
1st Lionel Rivera $1,000
2nd Albert Estevez $ 675
3rd Shawn Sookhai $ 500
4th Beau Baer $ 350
5th Thomas Wan $ 250
7th Alex Gonzalez $ 175
9th Charlie Lentini $ 100
13th Bob Mammarella $ 50