Mezz Pro-Am Tour / West Hempstead, NY
by Jerry Tarantola, NYCgrind.com
A field of 31 top New York-area players came out to Raxx Billiards in West Hempstead, NY, to compete for top honors at the August 8 Mezz Pro-Am Tour. Some notable players in attendance included George “Ginky” SanSouci, Shaun Wilkie, Matt Krah, Rob Pole, John Alicea, Victor Nau, Gregg McAndrews, and Brett Stottlemyer, along with three of the tour’s lady players, Caroline Pao, “Snooky” Diana Rojas, and Linda Cheung.“Ginky” was making noise early through the winners’ bracket, rolling over Matt Krah 7-1, John MacArthur 7-1, and Rob Pole 7-2, before losing to Zion Zvi 7-5. Zvi had also been steamrolling over his opponents, including an impressive 7-0 win over Mike Miller. In the following match between Zvi and SanSouci, Zvi jumped out early, playing flawless 5-3, but SanSouci responded by tying it up 5-5. Zvi then won the next game, and SanSouci was breaking and running out when he uncharacteristically scratched on the 6 ball, giving the set to Zvi 7-5.
Zvi then was lined up for a match against young gun John Alicea to determine who would take the hot seat. Alicea had just come off a come-from-behind win against Brett Stottlemeyer, where he battled
back from 6-4 to win 7-6.
That win was immediately followed up by an impressive 7-5 win over the tour’s current number-one-ranked player, Josh Brothers. In the match for the hot seat against Zvi, Alicea outplayed the more seasoned Zvi, controlling the momentum of the set, which led to an impressive 7-2 scoreline.
After his winners’ side loss to Alicea, Stottlemyer defeated Mike Fingers in dominant fashion 7-2. Prior to this loss, Fingers had been impressive in grinding out several consecutive hill-hill matches in a row. This win against Fingers lined up Stottlemyer against SanSouci, who was fresh off his close battle with Zvi.
SanSouci took a 4-3 lead before Stottlemyer tied it up at 4-4. Stottlemyer got up 6-5, broke, made a ball, and played safe on the 1 ball. SanSouci kicked it one rail hard and lucked the ball in the side pocket, tying the set at 6 each. On the break, SanSouci made a ball and had an easy shot on the 1 ball. The 2-9 was a dead combo, so SanSouci easily made the 1 and then the combo for the win.
That win lined up a rematch between SanSouci and Zvi. Zvi got ahead early 3-2, but SanSouci came back
to take the lead 6-4. Zvi responded by winning the next game, closing the scoreline to 6-5. With the alternate break format, it was SanSouci turn to break, and he broke and ran out a clutch rack to set up a match between the teacher versus the student in the finals.
“Ginky” was impressive in following up a win in the last Mezz Tour event he played in, but the big story here is John Alicea’s evolution as a player. Alicea was hot coming off of the last Predator Tour win, and he has been tearing up the local scene of late. The 22-year-old up-and-coming player has been putting in the work on the practice table as well staying busy in competition. SanSouci would have normally had to defeat John Alicea twice in the finals to win, but Alicea decided to let his opponent share the title as co-champions, as SanSouci was celebrating his birthday with friends and family.
1st John Alicea $735
George SanSouci $735
3rd Zion Zvi $350
4th Brett Stottlemyer $170
5th Mike Fingers $100
Jay Chiu $50
Barry Banks $25
Diana Rojas $25