Tri-State Tour / Sunnyside, NY
by Lea Andrews
June 6 was John Alicea’s day to shine, and his undefeated run through a field of 48 earned him first place on the Tri-State Tour stop. The $1,500-added double points A-D event was hosted by Master Billiards in Sunnyside, NY, and was sponsored by Sterling Games and Ozone Billiards.
The tournament featured separate brackets for A-B and C-D players in the earlier rounds, and a mixed field for the later rounds. Alicea plowed his way through the winners’ side of the A/B bracket, ultimately taking down Tony Eglesias 8-7. Meanwhile, Alicea’s opponent for the hot seat match, C-ranked Alex Berszinn, was working his way through the C/D bracket, ending with a 6-3 win over Nicholas Cahn.
On the one-loss side, still in separate brackets, players were fighting to get to the mixed-field bracket. In the A-B bracket, Tony Panzarella earned his spot with a 7-6 win over Stuart Warnock, while Bernie Chua earned the C-D spot with an 8-2 win over Ron Mason.
The mixed-field bracket pitted B+-ranked Panzarella against Chua, who moved up to a D+ during the tournament, and Eglesias against Cahn. Panzarella and Eglesias moved on with 9-7 and 7-6 wins, respectively, and their face-off was set.
Meanwhile, in the hot-seat match, Alicea dominated Berszinn 10-6, sending him to meet the victor of the Panzarella/Eglesias match, which turned out to be Eglesias with a 7-5 win. Eglesias was ready for his rematch with Alicea, but he needed to get through Berszinn—he took the match hill-hill and put Berszinn in third.
For Eglesias to win the event, he would need to reach 8 games first, at which point the race would be extended to 10, while undefeated Alicea would win if he reached 8 games first. Eglesias got to a 5-1 and then 6-2 lead, but Alicea tied it at 6. Eglesias took the next five racks in a row, but Alicea, in whom many see the spark of a future world champion, was not going to let the race go long—playing with the skill that had garnered him his A+ ranking, he took the next two games for the win.
1st John Alicea $1,190
2nd Tony Eglesias $710
3rd Alex Berszinn $420
4th Mike Panzarella $250
5th Nicholas Cahn $160
7th Stuart Warnock $120
9th Robert Kite $90