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Luc "Machine Gun" Salvas reaffirms his nickname; Massey Makes Magic
Oct 10, 2006, 12:28 PM

The 2006 ESPN Zone Billiards Shootout was held Oct. 4-5 in Las Vegas. In two $50,000 events, Luc Salvas defeated Dave Pearson for the International Speed Pool Challenge crown and Mike Massey bested Tom Rossman for the Trick Shot Magic title.

The International Speed Pool Challenge went off first, with a pressure-packed winner-take-all format. The action in Speed Pool is fast and furious with two sets of 12 racks. the first set is straight pool and the second set is 8-ball. Players routinely run racks of fifteen balls in about 1-minute and the player with the lowest accumulated time for twelve racks wins the match.

Salvas of Canada and Pearson of England emerged from the pack as the top guns. In the championship match, Salvas overcame Pearson by scores of 6:37 / 7:30 minutes the first set 8:01 / 8:20 minutes the second set to capture the title and $50,000. In semifinal action, Salvas zipped past Jeanette Lee (USA) 7:55 / 9:13 in the first set and 8:20 / 12:18 in the second set. The other semifinal saw Pearson zap Jason Kane (England) in straight sets 7:18 / 7:48 and 8:45 / 10:47. Salvas displayed blinding speed to defeat Pearson who holds several speed-pool records in the Guinness Book of World Records. Even then, it went to the last rack of the second set to decide the champion.

Trick Shot Magic began the next day in this, its seventh year. A stellar international cast vied for a $30,000 first prize in the $50,000 event. The matches required each player to execute two skill shots and 8 artistic shots in a challenge format. Players challenged their opponents with shots of their choice, with each player forced to make the shot to score a point. The players alternated back and forth with a possible twenty challenge shots, and the player with the highest overall points won the match.

Massey and Rossman displayed their brilliance to emerge as the top trick-shot artists. The championship match was poetry on green felt, with Massey defeating Rossman by a razor-thin score of 12-11 to take the crown and $30,000. Rossman, who otherwise played to top form in the event, claimed $8,000 second prize. In semifinal action, Rossman prevailed over Luke Szywala of Poland by a score of 11-7. The other semifinal saw Massey slip past Bruce Barthelette 8-6 in a tight match. Barthelette and Szywala each won $3,000 in a tie for third place. International Trick Shot stars who were eliminated in the quarterfinals included Stefano Pelinga (Italy), the defending 2005 champion, Andy Segal (USA), Nick Nikolaidis (Canada), and Charles Darling (USA). The four quarterfinalists won $1,500 each.

The standing-room-only crowd gave Salvas and Massey a rousing ovation at the conclusion of the final matches. The winners checks were presented by ESPN Zone and Olhausen Billiards, and Viking Cues presented a one-of-a-kind cue to each of the champions. The presentations brought another round of cheers from the audience.

Both events were taped for three one-hour telecasts, which will be broadcast on ESPN beginning in November.