February 21, 2022 – Sandcastle Billiards in Edison, NJ hosted it’s first of two NBL 8-Ball Championships amateur qualifiers for the 2022 season yesterday. Another full field of the maximum allowed 32 local and not so local amateurs came out to earn one of the 16 amateur slots in the April 14th Main Event to compete alongside 16 American-based professionals.
Players from NJ, NY, PA, & RI rounded out the field with skillsets ranging from an average B class player up to open speed shortstops. Several upsets occurred as B players beat A class players and even the shortstops got stopped short of victory. The NBL qualifier format of shorter races with alternate breaks serves as an equalizer offering more opportunities for the underdogs to prevail. The $150 entry true double-elimination event is limited to just 32 amateurs where the top 25% win their entries back plus Calcutta or added money prizes. The winner advances on to the main event with a nice sized prize purse paying out the top 1/3 of the field where professionals enter for $1,000.00 each as in traditional pro events of the glory days to weed out stragglers.
Last December’s 10-Ball Event consisted of just 8 amateurs and 8 professionals with a $25,000.00 prize purse. The 2022 NBL 8-Ball Championships this coming April 14th – 16th will be twice the size with a 32 player field comprised of 50% amateur qualifier winners from around the nation and 50% professionals residing in the United States. An additional bonus and incentive in this coming event is the national amateur prize purse being awarded to the top performing amateur outside the top 1/3 main payouts.
Levie Lampaan of Bayonne, NJ won 1 of the 2 qualifiers last year for the inaugural 2021 NBL 10-Ball event but came up short early on in the event as he fell victim to Frankie Hernandez who wound up taking 3rd place in the event and then Jeremy Sossei who played a perfect set with a 1000 TPA shutting Lampaan out of the set and the competition completely. Lampaan was working full-time then and admittedly unprepared for that competition. That may have been the spark that lit the fire for his determination to win this qualifier for another chance to shine on the big stage. “I’ll be ready this time around!” says Levie Lampaan. “I’m not working as much as I was at that time and have more time to dedicate on the table.”
The determination was evident this time around after Lampaan squeaked out his first win, hill-hill in the first round race to 4 over Timmy Clark. Lampaan then grinded his way into the finals by capturing the hot seat with another tough hill-hill win over fellow Pinoy countryman and local NJ legend, AL Lapena. Yes, he’s still around but not the same player he once was in his younger years. The two Filipinos battled it out for the hot seat in a nail biter alternate break race to 6. Lapena then made quick work of worthy competitor Daniel Feliciano 4-0 in their match on the 1-loss side of the charts for another chance at Lampaan. In the 1st set of the finals Lapena got his revenge on Lampaan with a final score of 6-4 forcing a second set for the 1st place finish, top cash prize and a spot at the main event. The valiant effort, was to no avail as Lampaan capitalized on every mistake made by an older and fatigued Lapena and captured the victory with a final score of 4-2 in the second and final, final set. Look for him online this coming April and enjoy all the great top amateur battles in our video archives on NBLUSA.com on our “WATCH” page.
Video Archives: https://www.nblusa.com/watch/
Brackets powered by Digital Pool: https://digitalpool.com/tournament-builder/2022-nbl-8-ball-championships-qualifier/bracket