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Orcollo Continues His Hot Streak at Reno Open

Dennis Orcollo, who also recently won the U.S. Bar Table 8-Ball Championship and the Hard Times IPT Qualifier, proved he can hold his own in 9-ball as well, with a run through the field of 159 players at the Reno Open.

Orcollo was smoking the competition, scoring notable wins over Corey Deuel, Tim Hall and Rich Geiler, before taking the hot-seat on Sunday with a dominating 9-1 win over former Reno Open champion Kim Davenport.

Davenport was a die-hard, however, dropping to the one- loss side where he had to face Texan Jui-Lung Chen. Chen’s appearances are rare, but he made the most of this one with wins over Victor Ignacio, Chris Bartram, Bobby Hunter, Gandy Valle, Warren Kiamco and Gabe Owen. He had to settle for third though, as Davenport earned a hard fought 9-7 win to set up a rematch with Orcollo in the finals.

Orcollo looked on his way to another dominating win in the finals as he sprinted out to an early 5-1 lead. Davenport showed his tenacity though, winning six straight games to take the lead, 7-5, and then took the match, 9-7, to force a second set in the true double-elimination finals.

In the second set of the final, Orcollo got to the hill first at 8-7, but scratched on the break and watched in dismay as Davenport tied the match at hill-hill with a flawless table run. Davenport broke the final game and made a ball, but had no position on the 1 ball. Davenport pushed out to a long straight shot on the one and Orcollo took advantage with a slow rolling shot on the 1, followed by a shakey table run to earn the 9-8 victory.

Third Round Brings All-Star Match-ups at the Reno Open

The 2006 Reno Open is underway at the Sands Regency in Reno, Nev., yielding a field of 156 players.

Tournament coordinator Mick McMillin said that the number of players at the tournament, usually at or above the 200 mark, has decreased this year due to the International Pool Tour qualifiers.

Nonetheless, some great pool is being played. The third round brought about several marquis matches, including a match between longtime friends Gabe Owen and Jeremy Jones. Jones now has the upperhand, defeating his friend, 9-5.

Edwin Montal came up against Rodney Morris in the third round, besting him, 9-2, and Dennis Orcollo sent Cory Deuel to the one-loss side, 9-5.

Kim Davenport remains undefeated in the fourth round, and will match up against Filipino Jose Parica. Young Austin Murphy also remains on the winners’ side, winning his first three matches, and will face Bobby Hunter today.

Sambajon Big Skins Winner

After a fluke scratch cost him a shot at $54,000 at the end of the finals of the Skins Billiards Championship, tiny Santos Sambajon held on to win a three-game playoff to pocket the same amount and bring his total Skins winnings to a gargantuan $73,500.

“It’s unbelievable . unbelievable,” the 45-year-old Filipino native said afterwards. “It’s five times as much as I’ve ever won before in a tournament. Six times!”

It was his second playoff victory of Saturday evening at the Skins, produced by Billiards International at the Resorts hotel and casino in Atlantic City, N.J. Sambajon barely snuck into the finals by winning a three-game playoff for $16,500 at the end of his semifinal bracket.

The finals then brought together Sambajon, Danny Basavich, Cory Deuel and Jose Parica for a shot at $54,000, divided into “skins” for each of 12 games. Any player who could win three games in a row would collect the accumulated value of the skins up to that point. However, unlike in previous rounds, none of the players in the finals could muster three consecutive wins. The value kept escalating until it maxed out at $54,000 in the 12th rack.

The only player with a shot at the astronomical sum at that point was Sambajon, who won the 12th game. Under the Skins rules, he would be allowed two more games in which to win the booty. Otherwise, the four players would draw for spots in a single-elimination playoff.

Sambajon collected the 13th game after Deuel inadvertently fouled on a shot on the 3. Then, in the 14th rack, Parica left Sambajon a wide-open shot on the 4. Breathing heavily to dispel tension, Sambajon sank the 4, but the cue ball spun around the table and caromed off the 6 into the corner pocket. Enraged and frustrated, Sambajon threw his head back and stayed in that position for almost a minute.

A grinning Parica cleaned up to trigger the playoff. Basavich, who had his own shot at the $54,000 dashed by Sambajon in the 12th frame, knocked out Deuel with a daredevil bank on the 2 that comboed in the 9. In the next game, Sambajon took advantage of a loose Parica safety to knock out his Filipino countryman.

It all came down to the lag for the last game, where Sambajon bested Basavich by an inch or so. He promptly sank three balls on his break, and ran out for the mammoth payday.

“Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!” Sambajon screamed, his arms shooting up to the ceiling.

It was a giant blow to Basavich, softened just a bit by his $17,000 in winnings from previous rounds.

“What are you going to do?” the gregarious “Kid Delicious” said with a smile. “It is heartbreaking to know I could have won $54,000 more.”

U.S. Fields Powerhouse Platoon for World Championship

The United States has fielded one of its strongest contingents yet for the 2005 World Pool Championship, bringing 12 proven shooters with at least one significant title each.

Producer Matchroom Sport this week announced the draw for the round-robin stage of the 128-man event, to be held July 2-10 in Kaohsiung, Taiwan.

The U.S. contingent will consist of former world champions Johnny Archer and Earl Strickland; U.S. Open victors Rodney Morris, Jeremy Jones and Gabe Owen; Reno Open champs Mike Davis, John Schmidt and Danny Basavich; BCA Open winners Cory Deuel and Charlie Williams; Glass City Open champion Charles Bryant; and 2005 Pro Players title-holder Shawn Putnam. (Several of these players have won more than one major title.)

At least in this case, new performance-based entry criteria devised by Matchroom Sport appear to have accomplished the goal of fielding the strongest players from participating countries. In recent years, with the United States Professional Poolplayers Association charged with fielding America’s participants, several marginal players slipped into the tournament when higher-ranked players declined invitations.

This year’s WPC field will feature players from at least 45 different countries. Six remaining slots for the final 128 will be determined during a qualifying tournament to be held in late June in Kaohsiung.

In the round-robin stage, it appears that Schmidt and Deuel have the toughest draws. Deuel’s 8-man group includes Holland’s Niels Feijen, Korea’s Young-hwa Jeong, Ronato Alcano from the Phillippines, Thorsten Schober from Germany and Italian champ Fabio Petroni.

Schmidt must contend with Sweden’s Marcus Chamat, Germany’s Andreas Roschkowsky, Gandy Valle of the Philippines, Spanish star David Alcaide, and Ying-chieh Chen of Taiwan, among others.

The top 64 players from the round-robin stage will advance to the single-elimination round. This year’s top prize is $75,000.

Surprises Galore at BCA 9-Ball Tilt!

The BCA Open 9-Ball Championships, the first of the year’s three “majors” in pool, has yielded some big surprises in the early going in Las Vegas this week. After three days of play, the ranks of the undefeated on the men’s side had narrowed to Johnny Archer, Thorsten Hohmann and the largely unknown Chris Szuter and Filipino Marlon Manalo. Big names like Gabe Owen, Charlie Bryant and Cory Deuel suffered early exits in the competition.

Over on the women’s side, Hall-of-Famer Ewa Laurance was riding a jaw-dropping hot streak that put her in the winners’-bracket semifinal against Karen Corr, while Allison Fisher faced off against the vastly improved Tiffany Nelson. (Laurance’s impressive list of victims included Julie Kelly, Jennifer Barretta and Jennifer Chen.) Even more surprising was the notable absence among those still playing — British sensation Kelly Fisher, who scored her first Classic Tour win in April but went 0-2 at the BCAs.

Reyes Reigns Supreme at Derby City

To his many current nicknames, Efren Reyes could now add “Mayor of Derby City.” The 50-year-old Hall of Famer re-elected himself to a second consecutive term as the Derby City Classic’s All-Around champion, finishing first in both the one-pocket and 9-ball divisions and placing tied-for-13th in 9-ball banks.

Reyes’ official take for the 9-day pool extravaganza, held Jan. 14-22 in Louisville, Ky., was a whopping $43,919, including the $20,000 bonus for the all-around crown (which he also won in 2004).

The mammoth pool jamboree came to an official close near 11 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 22, when Reyes made short work of upstart James Baraks in the 9-ball finale. The feisty Filipino allowed Baraks to the table just twice — for two shots total, both kicks — en route to a 5-0 lead. Baraks won the sixth game, but got sloppy with a kick safe in the seventh game and let the “Magician” back to the table to mop up. His 7-1 title victory was only slightly less dominating than the pasting he dealt Mika Immonen in their 7-0 semifinal match, marked by several easy runouts for Reyes.

The runners-up in the all-around race were David Matlock, winner of the 9-ball banks division, and Cory Deuel, who finished second to Reyes in one-pocket.

The awards ceremony Saturday night concluded on a slightly somber note as the crowd received an update on the condition of event producer Greg Sullivan. Sullivan had checked himself into a local hospital earlier in the week after feeling some discomfort. He was diagnosed as having had a cardiac event, received treatment that included the insertion of an artery-clearing stent, and then was released. It was reported that he was in good condition.

But that wasn’t quite the end of the event. At the Derby City Classic, tournament play shares center stage (figuratively, at least) with the many action matches running on a 24-hour basis in the main tournament room and all over the hosting Executive West Hotel. A highly anticipated money match between up-and-comers Danny “Kid Delicious” Basavich and Gabe Owen kicked off at about the same time as the Reyes-Baraks final. A crowd of about 150 stayed late into the morning to follow the 10-ahead challenge. In fact, the match was still a dead heat nearly 12 hours later. No word yet on the outcome.

Deuel wins UPA Championship

Corey Deuel completed an undefeated run to win the UPA Pro Tour Championship at the Bicycle Club in Bellflower California this weekend.

Deuel, known as the master of the soft break, was working that break to perfection all weekend and had wins over Charlie Williams, Mika Immonen and Efren Reyes before a 7-5 win over Danny Basavich for the hot-seat.

On the one-loss side, Basavich eliminated US Open Champion Gabe Owen 7-3 and forced Owen to settle for third place.

The finals were one race to seven on the ESPN table, and it went all the way to hill-hill before Corey put it away.

Deuel earned $10,000 for first place, while Basavich settled for $5000 in second place prize money. Owen and Efren Reyes filled out the top four places.

Complete Results:
1st Corey Deuel $10,000
2nd Danny Basavich $5,000
3rd Gabe Owen $4,000
4th Efren Reyes $3,000
5th/6th Rodney Morris, Mika Immonen $2,400
7th/8th Ralf Souquet, Santos Sambajon $1,850
9th/12th Frankie Hernandez, Mike Davis, Paul Potier, Troy Frank $1,350
13th/16th Francisco Bustamante, Johnny Archer, Tony Robles, Rodolfo Luat $900
17th/24th Charlie Williams, Neil Fujiwara, Bill Ferguson, Danny Kuykendall, Dave Hemmah, Max Eberle, Robb Saez, Charlie Bryant $400

Reno: First Biggie For Basavich

Basavich won his first major title in Reno.

Basavich won his first major title in Reno.

At the Glass City Open in November, Danny “Kid Delicious” Basavich beat pool hero Jeremy Jones for the first time, and went on to take second place. According to the Kid, it was a highlight of his career to date.

At the Sands Regency Reno Open, Dec. 9-14, Basavich did himself one better. He beat Jones twice in a true double-elimination final, 9-5 and 9-6, to score his first major title ever.

Basavich came through the one-loss side of the tournament after a hill-hill loss to Cory Deuel early in the tournament. He plowed through the likes of Tony Chohan, Glenn Atwell, Charlie Bryant and Ernesto Dominguez to earn a chance to take down Jones.

Basavich’s win earned him $12,000 while Jones settled for $5,500. Breakthrough player Mike Vidas and Mexican stalwart Ernesto Dominguez finished third and fourth, respectively.

Parica fills out Skins Semifinals

Jose Parica snared the final spot in the semifinal round of the Skins Billiards Championship late on Friday night and, in doing so, narrowly averted a playoff with at least two other opponents to reach the big-money rounds of the $130,000 tournament.

Parica will be joined in the semis – where $42,000 will be up for grabs – by Johnny Archer, Luc Salvas, Rodney Morris, Santos Sambajon, Ralf Souquet, Cory Deuel and Danny Basavich. The four players then advancing to the finals will play for an additional $54,000.

The Skins opening round kicked off Friday afternoon at the Resorts hotel and casino in Atlantic City, N.J., with 16 players divided into four brackets, playing for $500 per game. Each bracket consisted of 16 games, thus allowing a total of $8,000 in prize money per bracket. The eight players with the highest prize totals at the end of the round would advance to the semis.

By the end of play in the third bracket, it became clear that a player would need at least $2,000 to have a shot at the semis. When Basavich reached $3,000 late in the fourth bracket, all the pieces fell into place. If Parica could win one more game and reach $2,500, the final eight would be set. If he finished with just $2,000, he and at least two other players with $2,000 would have to duke it out in a playoff for the eighth spot

It came down to the 15th game, when the shooting order allowed Parica one final turn to break.

Charlie Williams and Mika Immonen, both with $2,000 from previous rounds, huddled in the back of the cavernous Superstar Theatre, rooting for Basavich to win the deciding game. But even on the ropes, Parica was too clever for his foe. Stymied by a safety, Parica decided to foul intentionally and sabotage Basavich’s runout by nestling the 5 next to the 8. Sure enough, Basavich’s runout stalled at the 5, and Parica nailed a tough cross-side bank on the 5 to take control of the table and eventually win the game.

“I’m more experienced than anybody,” the plucky Filipino said. “I think. I make the smart play.”
The Skins action will finish up Saturday evening. Check back for the final results.

Deuel Wins Sudden Death 7-Ball, Massey Scores Trick Shot Magic Title

After a long tournament-title drought, Cory Deuel won Sudden Death 7-Ball, held Oct. 6-7 at the ESPN Zone in Las Vegas, Nev. Deuel overcame Thomas Engert in the final, by scores of 7-1 and 7-5, to seize the crown. Deuel cashed in $25,000, while Engert took home $5,000.

In the trick-shot event, held Oct. 7, also at the Las Vegas ESPN Zone, Massey edged out Canada’s Nick Nikolaidis to grab the $25,000 top prize.

Both contests will be shown on ESPN and ESPN2. Check BD’s online TV listings for updates on those air times as they become available.