Thursday, December 20

Seminole Tribe 10-Ball Season Final at the Hard Rock Hotel in Fort Lauderdale

Happy New Year! How are you? I hope fine. Let me update you what happened the last month.

In December I was playing the Seminole Tribe 10-ball Season Final. Its also known as the Steve Mizerak Championships, at the Hard Rock Hotel in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The format was 10-ball winner break, rack your own. I like that. And if the 10-ball goes to bottom two pockets it doesn't count, it spots up but it qualifies as a pocketed ball on the break.

I started out pretty good winning the first match against Johnny Archer 8-0!!!! I really used every opportunity well against Archer while he wasn't on his A-game. He had 3-4 unforced errors which can explain the deficit. As it turned out it was a tough draw.I had to play Thorsten Hohmann right after and lost to him. This time I didn't play bad but it was Thorsten that really played well. He edged me out 8-4. The next match on one-loss side was tough, but I won. The following day I was all business as I started with Charlie Hill-Billy Bryant and beat him 7-1. I pretty much played a perfect game and came with some tough shots and good safeties to keep the pressure. After that I won over Helena Thornfeldt, then Tony Crosby. Then I had to pay Archer again as he had made his way through the one-loss side all the way from the 1-round loss. I was again up 5-0 when Archer finally won a game. I still ended up winning 7-1, so it was little if any consolation for him.

Meanwhile Thorsten and Rodney Morris were battling for the "hot seat" (winners bracket finalists play for a spot in the finals). It was a lot of drama as both players had chances to run out on hill-hill. Thorsten came short on his jacked-up stroke for the 8-ball and thus just gave "Rocket" the match.

So Thorsten goes to loser side to face me again. He usually plays really well against me so naturally I had to come with some good stuff for this one. I started out good and was able to keep the pressure this time. I finally beat Thorsten after he beat me many times in a row. Score 8-1.

The next stepping stone would be Louis Ulrich on Sunday. Although Ulrich had a good set, I controlled the end result with an 8-5 concluding score, sending Ulrich home in fourth place and moving on into the semi-finals against Deuel. Against Deuel it seemed like I was cruising to a win again when I made a critical error when score was 5-3 in my favor. I was on a really good lay-out after making a lot of tough shots. I just had this simple 8,9 and 10 left but I rushed the shot. So what could have been a 6-3lead turned into a nightmare as Corey Deuel was able to turn tables on me. It's weird how sometimes the "luck turns". So Corey beat me 8-5, and I had to settle with 3rd place.

After that Rodney was victorious in the final 9-7 over Corey. It was a nailbiter, but in the end I think Rodney really deserved it. He had played a strong tournament not losing to anyone.

After the finals Seminole tribe showed their compiled images and video of Steve Mizerak on a slideshow. I was honored to see again some footage of one of the greatest pool players that ever lived. He was a true gentleman and I am proud to say I knew him and was able to play straight pool and 9-ball against him in his later career. He will never be forgotten.

Despite not winning the tournament I was proud to have given it a good fight winning against a long line of champions in the one-loss side.I just need to now focus on getting my pace figured out as I do not want to miss simple shots like that again.If you want, you can look at the CueTable link here:

Hope you enjoyed the blog and I wish you all the best in 2008! See you again soon.


Saturday, December 1

I had an interesting November starting with the World Championships in Manila

I was able to win two straight games in the Preliminaries(including beating Jeromy Jones 9-6) so I made it to the last 64.

There I met a Chinese Taipei guy Fu first round. It was a good match for me I played well. 10-5 for me.Then I beat Tony Drago in Televised match 10-6 to advance in the final 16. It was a nervous match for both of us but I think I outplayed him with my good safety play. Third knockout round I was up against Alain Martel from Canada. Also I was happy with my performance though the match was close 11-8. I broke and ran the last three to edge him out.Quartefinals was against young talented guy Vilmos Foldes from Hungary. It was scheduled for 10.30 am which I thought was kind of Strange for a World Championships quarterfinal!I had had a late schedule the whole week and it seemed to me I was a little sleepy still that time. My eyes were open I could not really see the edge of the balls. I made some uncharacterestic errors, though I had many chances to get back in the game. at 6-4 in his favor I tried a bank shot and after missing it he punished me winning four straight racks. So I was down 10-4, I made a slight come-back winning 3 racks in a row. At 7-10 I had an empty break and he ran out. 11-7 final score.

It was a decent result but I felt like If I win that match I might win the gold. Next time I will make sure I am awake no matter how early the game.

Next week most of the "top guns" went for an invitational tournament south of Manila to Dumanguete Island. I was definitely a star-studded field as 8 of 32 was former World Champions. Anyways all the foreigners were having a a hard time there, as a lot of top players got knocked out early. Wu, Yang, Archer, Hohmann was some of the early exits. I was able to finish as the top foreigner as a made 5th place. I lost to Alex Pagulayan 9-7 despite being in a early lead of 5-2. It seemes the breaks change sometimes in the game of nine-ball and thats exactly what happened there. Alex proceeded to win the tournament in an all Filipino final against Ramil Gallego.

Then it was time to go Japan for the annual All Japan Championships.

I made easy work of early rounds there winning 3 straight games to make the top 32.

The final day starts early: 9.30 I had to play Kawabata-San 1st round. It was a decent match I was a little luckier on the breaks. Also maybe my cue-ball was in better control on the break. I won in the end 11-9? I forgot.

The 2nd match I faced Lu from Chinese Taipei. It was a lot of mistakes early in the match it seemed like this table was little faster than others. We both kept overrunning position for next ball. in the end it turned out to be a good match with plenty of drama. I was down 10-8, then I ran two racks to make it 10-10. On the hill-hill rack i had a pretty good break but one of the balls knocked the cue ball in the bottom corner. Straight in. Then I had to watch what I thought was going to be a clearance. In the end it was Lu who was more nervous because he missed the the 3 ball which was really the key shot of the rack. I then made a thin cut on the 3 and gained position to run out to make it 11-10!

Next match was against my old friend and rival Ralf Souquet. I felt great because I had just come from a difficult match with LU. I was breaking good and running out most of the time. Ralf of course responded in similar fashion. I did get a nice package in the end with 3 run-outs to make it 10-6. Then my luck changed. I had a tough shot on the 1 down the "long rail" at 10-6. I missed it. Souquet played a good safety and made it eventually 10-7. then he had three terrific breaks with good lay-outs to make it 10-10. Then after the break he played a nice safety I had no choice but to intentianally foul while trying to tie up the 4 with the 8-ball. I failed in this and then Souquet proceeded what seemed as a routine run-out. a 6-foot shot on the 8 straight in with stop shot and the nine would have been in good shape. THEN he miscued! Lady luck decided not to give me any easy shots cos the 8 hit two points of the corner and was in a tough place to shoot either corner for me. I was forced to play safe. I failed in snookering the 8 and Souquet banked the 8 in the side. He still had a slightly difficult shot on the 9. He missed it but sent the cue ball all the way to the other side of the table. It was a long shot for me near the rail. I hit the 9 too thin an left it pretty easy for Ralf to just finally lag it in.

Indeed it's 5th place again! Strange streak. I wish the next one is better or perhaps a win!

Anyways I guess its not a bad average.

I am back in New York now for a few weeks b4 heading to Finland for Christmas. I wish all the fans happy holiday season and see you again soon.