|After eight years of competing on the Predator Pro/Am Tour, New York City-based player Arturo Reyes has finally earned his moment in the spotlight. At the tour’s fourth stop of the 2016 season, held on March 5-6 at Cue Bar Lounge & Billiards in Bayside, NY, Reyes went undefeated to score his first-ever Predator victory.
Reyes began competing on the tour in its inaugural 2008 season as a “D”-ranked player, and has since risen through the ranks to the level of “B+”. Prior to this event, Reyes appeared in the finals twice, but finished just short of the win in second place. With dozens of tournaments under his belt over the years, this achievement marked a high point for Reyes. “It is an unbelievable feeling to win,” Reyes commented.
On his way to the top through the upper half of the chart (comprised of B+ through A++ players), Arturo Reyes started out with two shutout wins over Billy Santiago (7-0) and Peter Ghostine (7-0), then continued on to defeat Riyadh Benghalem (7-4), Elvis Rodriguez (7-4), and Omar Alli (7-5) to position himself in the winner’s bracket final.
The player to come from the other half of the chart on the winner’s side to meet up with Reyes was “C+” player Nayan Roy. Roy had a breakout showing at Cue Bar and marked his first appearance in the “top four” of a Predator Tour stop. After he worked his way through his bracket, Roy finalized his winning streak with an 8-4 win over Irene Kim. Roy’s following match, determining who would move to the “hot seat,” was against Reyes. While this was a close match, Reyes pulled away to win 7-5, securing his place in the final.
Among the players fighting for redemption on the loss side of the chart, two would make their way to face off in the quarterfinal. From the B-C-D side, veteran player and former top finisher Rene Villalobos (B) made it into the quarterfinal round after a 9-6 win over Irene Kim. From the upper half of the bracket, Riyadh Benghalem (A) emerged after five straight wins on the loss side. In the quarterfinal, Villalobos took a convincing 7-3 win over Benghalem, placing Benghalem in fourth place, his personal best finish on the tour. The semifinal paired up Villalobos against Nayan Roy, who had been waiting in the wings since his loss to Arturo Reyes on the win side. The match went down to the wire, but in the end, Villalobos edged ahead to win “hill-hill”, 7-6.
The final match was a duel between two veteran Predator Tour players—Villalobos vs. Reyes. Their match was a close battle with Reyes pulling ahead to the hill with Villalobos close behind. With the score at 8-7 in a race to nine, Villalobos had a chance to tie it 8-8, but miscued on the 8-ball. Reyes triumphed, sealing his first tour victory 9-7.
Following his win, Arturo Reyes remarked on what has brought him back year after year to compete on the Predator Tour: “It’s a great way to meet new players and socialize…and because it’s a very competitive tour, you learn something new every time.”
In a post on Facebook commenting on his win, Arturo Reyes gave credit to Tony and Gail Robles for running Predator Tour, along with the Cue Bar staff for hosting the event, and his sponsors Lucasi Hybrid and Billar Luna Azul for their ongoing support.
Story by Alison Fischer