The second annual Puerto Rico Billiard Expo begins at the Convention Center in San Juan on Tuesday and almost 200 of the world’s best professionals will be playing for a share of the half a million dollar purse put up for the three Predator Pro Billiard Series events which form part of the Expo.
Played alongside the CSI Leagues Caribbean Championships, the Predator Pro Billiard Series is staging the Medalla Light Puerto Rico Men’s and Women’s Opens, and the Predator WPA World Teams Championships, where Philippines are the defending champions after claiming last year’s title in Austria, Europe.
The first Puerto Rico Billiard Expo was staged in San Juan in November last year, attracting over 1,000 players and 8,500 fans from over 40 different countries. It was also a huge success for Puerto Rico, achieving 3,250 hotel nights booked in one week and an economic impact of four million dollars for the island.
This year’s Expo expects to welcome even more attendees and begins November 7. On the same day, the first of the professional events begins, with the Pro Billiard Series Medalla Light Puerto Rico Men’s and Women’s Opens taking center stage.
This year, the 128-player Men’s event has a $125,000 purse, and the winner will take home $37,500. The Women’s event will have a field of 48 players and a $75,000 purse, paying $22,500 to the champion.
Carlo Biado, one of the most decorated Filipino players of his generation, will be defending two titles during the Expo. He won the 2022 Medalla Light Puerto Rico Open, beating Daniel Maciol 4-1, 4-3 to claim his first Predator Pro Billiard Series title.
A large crowd had gathered for both the Open and the Women’s final. The passionate spectators and their support of the players was something remarked upon by players and officials as one of the cornerstones of last year’s event.
The 2022 Women’s final was won by Wei Tzu-Chien of Chinese Taipei, who defeated Biado’s Philippines team-mate Chezka Centeno 4-2, 4-0 in the final.
Centeno and Biado will both be back this year and are partnered by Rubilen Amit and Roland Garcia as they bid to retain the WPA World Teams Championship, which begins November 8. However, the strongest billiards nations in the world will be represented by their most elite-level players, setting up what promises to be a truly exciting event.
Two of the greatest female players to have graced the pool table, Kelly Fisher and Allison Fisher, represent Great Britain alongside former World Champion Darren Appleton, and Teams Championship rookie Phil Burford.
Chinese Taipei have Chang Jung-Lin, Wu Kun-Lin and Chou Chieh-Yu in a formidable looking roster, while Japan will line-up with Naoyuki Oi, Hayato Hijikata and Yuki Hiraguchi.
Husband and wife Joshua and Pia Filler are joined by rising star and former World Junior Champion Moritz Neuhausen for team Germany. Brother and sister – both previously World Champions – Albin and Jasmin Ouschan are joined by Mario He in an Austrian team which must be considered among the favorites given their pedigree in both individual and team formats.
Francisco Sanchez-Ruiz, who memorably captured his first World Championship in Puerto Rico last year, has David Alcaide and Maria Ropero as team-mates for Spain. Europe’s strong representation continues with Poland, who send Wiktor Zielinski, Wojciech Szewczyk, Daniel Maciol and Oliwia Zalewska.
Home fans will be able to cheer for Alan Rolon, who enjoyed some highlight-reel moments in last year’s events, representing Puerto Rico alongside team-mates Mercado and Maldonado.
In total, 16 teams from around the world will represent their country at the $300,000 event, which pays $120,000 to the winning team. Teams are comprised of a minimum two male and one female player. Teams can register up to five players (three male and two female) for the event, but only three players will take part in each round.
Each match is a best-of-5 sets, race to 4 per set. The first four sets are one mixed doubles and three singles matches. The fifth set is a shootout with all three players shooting in rotation.
The Medalla Light Puerto Rico Opens and Predator WPA World Teams Championship will be streamed live on Predator Pro Billiard Series broadcast platforms. Table 1 and 2 will be livestreamed for Free on the Pro Billiard TV YouTube channel and Billiard TV. All tables available to watch on Kozoom trough ppv.