Chang, Shaw and Orcollo lead the way in NYC
By Ted Lerner
WPS Media Officer
Photos By JP Parmentier
(New York City)– After two long days of some of the most brutally difficult 8-ball ever seen at the professional level, the Predator Grand Finale, the fourth leg of the World Pool Series, has been whittled down to the final 16 players.
The pack emerging out of the world class, double elimination field at Steinway Billiards in Queens, New York City, promises some seriously entertaining and mouthwatering clashes over the next two days, as the list of names contains a good mixture of players from nearly every corner of the globe, including some of the games’ biggest stars, and upstarts clearly looking to make a name for themselves here in the Big Apple. Another interesting twist is that all matches now become winner-breaks, race to 11 up to the final, which will be winner-breaks race to 13.
Chang Jung Lin is one of four Taiwanese heavyweights to qualify, and if his play so far is any indication, the 2012 WPA World 8-ball champion has to be considered one of the main favorites to lift the trophy come Friday night. The burly and low key Chang has played brilliant 8-ball over the last two days and has emerged untouched. On Wednesday Chang took down fellow Taiwanese Lo Li Wen for his third straight win to qualify.
Fellow countrymen Chang Yu Leung, the two-time China Open champion, and Ko Pin Yi, the former World 9-ball and World 10-ball champion, also came through unscathed, each winning their one scheduled match on Wednesday and moving through to the knockout stage.
American Shaun Wilkie has proved to be a pleasant surprise. After winning two matches on day 1, Wilkie handily took down the Philippines Jeffrey De Luna, 9-5, to move into the final 16. Also qualifying through unscathed were Greece’s Alexander Kazakis, World Pool Series 1st leg winner Ruslan Chinakov of Russia, Finland’s Petri Makkonen, and Canadian-Filipino Alex Pagulayan.
For those players that qualified for the knockout round of 16 from the 1-loss side of the bracket, Wednesday proved to be a test of sheer willpower just to make it through, with some players having to play four long, tough matches.
One player everyone has their eyes on is Scotland’s Jayson Shaw. Shaw romped to the US Open title last week in Virginia, but came out in his first match on Tuesday flatter than a pancake cooked on the Kansas landscape, losing handily to Taiwan’s Ko Pin Yi, 9-3. Since then, however, Shaw has quietly built up a head of steam that should have anyone left in the field very worried. The Scotsman won four straight matches from the losers’ side on Wednesday. His third match went down to a shootout with Filipino veteran Ronnie Alcano. He then went on to take down Taiwan’s Lo Li Wen 9-7 to make it through.
Fellow Brit Chris Melling also took a similar long route to qualify on Wednesday, including a win over former US Open champion Kevin Cheng in his third match, and an impressive 9-3 romp over the Philippines Johann Chua in his fourth match of the day. Relatively unknown Greek player Damianos Gaillourakis made it through with a career defining day with four big wins to qualify, including victories over Canadian Jason Klatt, the Philippines’ Warren Kiamco and Americans Billy Thorpe and Hunter Lombardo.
18 year old Albanian sensation Klenti Kaci, who shocked the pool world by winning the 2nd leg of the World Pool Series here in New York back in April, fell to Kazakis earlier in the day, but bounced back with a win over Darren Appleton to advance through. Also qualifying from the 1-loss side on Wednesday were Jeffrey De Luna, Taiwan’s Wu Kun Lin, New Yorker Frankie Hernandez, and former World 8-ball Champion Dennis Orcollo of the Philippines.
*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, Rasson, 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/worldpoolseries/
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.
Address: 3525 Steinway St, Astoria, NY 11101, USA
Phone: +1 718-472-2124