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Was Manny Chau My Kryptonite? ~ Greg Hogue

Clicks Billiards (San Antonio, TX,) was host to a full 64 man field of some of the finest talent the Lone Star State has to offer at the Texas Tornado Clicks Nine Ball Open on November first, 2014.

The cast included the Texas Tornado herself, Vivian Villarreal, Space City Open Women’s Champion; Texas Open Champion Charlie “Hillbilly” Bryant, former Mosconi Cup captain and Mosconi Cup player; The Texas legend CJ Wiley; and bonus ball player, Space City One Pocket Champion and touring pro, Manny Chau. Also present were local cash player Sam Manaole, and local straight shooter Jeff Frankland, along with plenty of unknowns that play quite well.

Needless to say, The Texas Tornado Clicks Nine Ball Open was not short of Lone Star State talent! With almost $11,000 in the player auction, this $3,000 added event just got a whole lot sweeter.

My first round draw found me paired up with local cash man, Sam Manaole. Our set was over pretty quickly, with a few missed balls and a scratch or two from Sam! Not to mention me running out each time it was my turn to break. The next thing I knew, I was shooting the winning nine ball, with a final score of 7-1.

The next three rounds brought wins over Donny Plunkett—7-3—Eric Renteria—7-4—and Chris Jowers—7-4. The fourth round brought on the big guns, and the highly energetic game of Ms Vivian Villarreal. She was playing strong, coming off of a thrilling nail-biter with Hillbilly Bryant that she had become the victor of.

Unfortunately for The Texas Tornado, I was in fine form and was taking no prisoners!

My break was spot on, and she got some tough rolls. I wound up finishing the set with a 7-1 final score.

OK, here we go. Myself and Manny Chau for the hot seat.

The match looked like it could turn into a nail-biter, with Manny and myself trading the first four games back and forth, but I wasn’t able to come with enough heat to keep the touring pro down. I made a few errors at critical times, and a miss cue on the six ball in the 10th game, when the score was 6-4 to Manny, was a real heartbreaker.

The six laid in a cherry sweet location. Manny cleared the table for the win and the hot seat. The loss tossed me to the left side of the bracket, with third place locked up. It didn’t take long for the Texas legend, CJ Wiley, to knock strong local player, Jeff Frankland, out in fourth place with a 7-1 score.

I was taking a nap in the truck, It had been a long weekend, and I needed a little shut eye. I was in a dead coma when Tommy came, out way too soon, and said “CJ won, so you better get ready.”

My “getting ready” was grabbing a bottle of water and wiping the sleep out of my eyes as the announcer called the match. I lost the flip. CJ broke and came up dry, and I ran out.

With the rotate break format, it was my break next. I made a ball, and had a shot on the one but I didn’t get out. I got a little lucky to hook CJ on a miss that led to a quick combo on the nine, with the score 2-0 to me.

Another dry break from CJ gave me a chance to build my lead, but a poorly struck five ball led to CJ winning that game—and then two more—so the next thing I know, I’m stuck 3-2 to CJ. A blown jump shot from CJ led to me winning the sixth game, and tying the score up at three games apiece.

Then, out of nowhere, I made several unforced errors, losing three games in a row. So all of a sudden I’m stuck with CJ on the hill needing one game, and me on three games needing to win the next four in a row.

I needed some good things to happen real quick.

It was my break in the ninth game, but I came up dry. I thought for sure I was done for. Then, out of cold black night, CJ scratched in the side on the eight ball. All of a sudden, I win that game.

And the next.

And before I knew it, we were tied up at six games apiece. A bad break from CJ, then a missed two ball from me that led to a poorly struck combo from CJ, followed up by a poor safety. With just the edge of the three ball barely hanging, out I managed to slice it in and run the remaining five balls out to knock the Texas legend CJ Wiley out to a third place finish.

That just left me to face the mighty Manny Chao in the finals of the Texas Tornado Clicks Nine Ball Open.

Right from the start, Manny came with the heat and it never stopped.

His break was spot on. His speed was great, and my batteries were worn down. It was almost 2AM. I had very little left, both mentality and physically.

Manny won the title in record time, with a 7-1 final score. He played great, fought hard, and deserved to win. Congrats. Runner up and the $3,874 in cash wasn’t all that bad.

For the most part I played well. Thank you Tommy Carmichael, for being my friend and taking care of me on the road. You’re the best. Thanks to The Texas Tornado, and Clicks Billiards. You guys put on a great event.

‘Til next time, stay silky smooth and get out and play some pool.

Editor: Hannah Blue Photo: provided by Greg Hogue
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