8-ball champs shine on Day 1 of the World Pool Series’ Predator Grand Finale in NY
By Ted Lerner
WPS Media Officer
Photos by JP Parmentier
(New York City)–As Jayson Shaw has spent the last 18 months rocketing to the top of the pool world, one opponent has consistently provided fodder for some of his most memorable comebacks in the sport’s biggest events.
In the semi-finals at the US Open in 2016, Taiwan’s Ko Pin Yi looked set to send Shaw packing, only to see the Scotsman roar back at crunch time and win at the wire. A few weeks later in the semis at the Kuwait Open, Shaw did it again, storming back from a 10-6 deficit to oust the Taiwanese great, 11-10, on his way to the winner’s circle. And just last week in Virginia at the 2017 US Open, Shaw stormed back from another 4 rack deficit to clip Ko yet again.
So before Tuesday’s first round matchup between Shaw and Ko at the World Pool Series’ Predator Grand Finale in New York, it’s not surprising that Ko told Shaw with a wry smile: “I don’t like to play you again.”
Ko, however, needn’t have worried as Shaw came to New York still buzzing from his spectacular performance at the US Open and, with the celebrations still raging in his head, seemed to lack focus and intensity. The superstar pair split the first six racks but from there, Ko stepped up his attack and routed Shaw, 9-3.
Ko then went on to handily defeat Estonia’s Dennis Grabe to stay unbeaten on the winner’s side, while Shaw moved to the losers side of the double elimination bracket and will look to get his head and stroke into the contest again Wednesday.
It was a busy first day at Steinway Billiards in Queens as the stacked field of 69 players took to the blue pitch playing under some of the toughest 8-ball conditions ever seen. Breaking from side boxes, take what you make, and especially the 4” corner pockets and 4.5” side pockets all wreaked havoc on the players. Since the beginning back in January the World Pool Series has been designed to reward the best players and to punish the pretenders. That plan has clearly worked.
Taiwan’s Chang Jung Lin and Germany’s Thorsten Hohmann are two of the world’s top 8-ball players. Chang reached the promised land in 2012 when he won the WPA World 8-ball Championship in Fujairah, United Arab Emirates. Hohmman once pocketed $350,000 for winning the IPT North American Classic. This class pair both won their first round matches and then met up in the UNILAD TV arena, but it was Chang who put in the performance of the day with an 8-ball masterpiece, winning going away, 9-4.
The Philippines’ Dennis Orcollo won the WPA World 8-ball Championship in 2011. In a second round winner’s side match against fellow Filipino great Lee Vann Corteza, Orcollo showed he plans on making some big noise this week in New York with a masterful performance, winning 9-3.
American Skylar Woodward, who won the previous World Pool Series event in July, lost his first round match to Ko’s younger brother, Ko Ping Chun, 9-7. Woodward went over to the 1-loss side and matched up with 14 year old Thailand phenom Phaa Hmaunpao. Phaa had the crowd at Steinway in awe earlier in her loss to American Tommy Tokoph, jumping out to a 4-0 lead against Tokoph before the American got it together to take the match. The diminutive Thai showed incredible potting skills and cue ball control, but her small stature means she lacks power to get a spread on the balls on the break shot. Phaa put in another great performance against Woodward but the more experienced American proved too much class and won, knocking Phaa out of the event.
Other winners on day one included 18 year old Albanian sensation Klenti Kaci. Kaci, who won the 2nd event of the World Pool Series in April, stayed unbeaten with two wins today, first over England’s Daryl Peach, then over Philippine veteran Ronnie Alcano. Russia’s Ruslan Chinakov, who took the first World Pool Series event back in January, won twice on Tuesday. Also staying on the winners side with two wins were Canada’s Alex Pagulayan, the USA’s Hunter Lombardo, the Philippines Johann Chua and Taiwan’s Chang Yu Leung.
The Predator Grand Finale continues on Tuesday with a full slate of double elimination round matches. After Tuesday’s play is complete, the field will be down to 16 players where the format will change to single elimination knockout and winner breaks, race to 11. The final, which will be played on Friday, will be race to 13, winner breaks.
The winner of the Predator Grand Finale will receive $14,000. The total prize fund is $65,000.
Once again fans around the world will also be able to watch the World Pool Series absolutely free on the device of their choice through social media giant Unilad. Visit the World Pool Series Facebook Page to get broadcast times.
*The fourth event of the World Pool Series, The Predator Grand Finale, is being held at Steinway Billiards in Astoria, Queens, New York City from October 31-Nov. 3, 2017. The World Pool Series is sponsored by Predator, UNILAD, RYO Rack, Aramith, Molinari, Cheqio, Iwan Simonis, Kamui, Billiards Digest, Cuescore, Ultimate Team Gear, Tiger, and High Rock Productions.
The World Pool Series is on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/
Tickets are now available for the third leg of the World Pool Series, The RYO Rack Classic, which takes place Oct. 31-Nov. 3, 2017 at Steinway Billiards, Astoria, Queens, New York City.
Tickets can also be purchased online through Ticketspice here:
Predator Grand Finale Ticket Prices
Day 1 Pass: October 31, 2017 $15
Day 2 Pass: November 1, 2017 $15
Day 3 Pass: November 2, 2017 $20
Day 4 Pass: November 3, 2017 $20
General Seating Full Event (4 days) $50 (28% Savings)
VIP Preferred Seating Full Event (4 days) $85 (22% Savings)
The action begins at 10am daily and runs throughout the day.