(From left to right) Alexander Lim (treasurer), Paeng Nepomuceno (headcoach), Maria Salome Lopa (board member), Rene Reyes (board member), Nikko Go (vice president), Sen. Tito Sotto (chairman), Steve Robles (president), Bong Coo (secretary general), Biboy Rivera (board member) and POC president Ricky Vargas during the induction of PBF officers.
The Philippine Olympic Committee has cemented its recognition of the Philippine Bowling Federation as the national sport association for tenpin bowling in the country.
“This is a very strong group of leaders. They are all bowlers, they all love the sport and they went through the process,’’ said POC president Ricky Vargas during the opening of the 2nd PBF Philippine International Open Championships Saturday at the Coronado Lanes in Starmall on Edsa, Mandaluyong City.
“They have one vision and one goal. They all want to bring back the glory days of bowling and that for me is motivation enough to pursue that dream,’’ added Vargas after swearing in PBF president Steve Robles, chairman Sen. Tito Sotto and the rest of the PBF board.
Backed by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor), over 300 local bowlers led by the members of the national team and 150 international participants from Asia and Oceania will vie for supremacy during the April 28-May 13 tourney.
World Cup champion Krizziah Tabora heads the Philippine contingent along with Kenneth Chua and Lara Posadas, who are both seeking to retain their respective men’s and women’s open singles titles in the meet sponsored by Smart Communications, Cafe Puro and Boysen.
Aside from Tabora, Chua and Posadas, other members of the national squad, namely Enzo Hernandez, Raoul Miranda, Kevin Cu, Anton Alcazaren, Jomar Jumapao, Merwin Tan and Kenzo Umali of the men’s pool were presented to the covering media.
Joining them were women’s pool mainstays Liza Del Rosario, Alexis Sy, Rachelle Leon, Mades Arles, Bea Hernandez and Dyan Coronacion during the opener of the event that offers over P3 million in prizes and a finely crafted trophy for the Open divisions by world-renowned Filipino sculptor Joe Datuin.
Bowling icon and four-time World Cup champion Paeng Nepomuceno is the headcoach of the national bowling team with former champions Biboy Rivera, Jojo Canare and Rey Reyes as assistant coaches.
“True to our mission of promoting and developing the sport of tenpin bowling in the national and grassroots levels, the PBF has organized another prestigious Asian ranking tournament, the 2nd PBF Philippine International Open (PIO),’’ said PBF secretary general Bong Coo.
Gracing the opening rites were Senator Tito Sotto, also the current PBF chairman, and 2019 Southeast Asian Games chef de mission Monsour del Rosario and Councilor Boy Esteban from the Office of Mandaluyong City mayor Carmelita Abalos.
“This tournament will bring in world-class bowlers from the various countries in the Asian zone and gather Filipino bowlers of all levels, making it a good training ground for the Philippine national team which is preparing for the Asian Games. It is also a venue to scout new and emerging talents for the sport,’’ added Coo, a four-time world champion and the most decorated athlete in any sport.
Aiming to promote tenpin bowling in the country, the PBF-PIO is sanctioned by World Bowling and the Asian Bowling Federation.
Right after the ceremony, the PBF Invitational Corporate Cup took place with 36 teams of four players each competing for the championships in various divisions.
Over the next two weeks, the PH squad has to hurdle the top bowlers from Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, India, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Guam and Brunei in preparation for their upcoming competitions overseas.
“Last year was a good year for Philippine bowling, and right now, there’s no way to go but to improve. There’s a lot of work to do, especially when it comes to teamwork – being comprehensive as a team,’’ said Nepomuceno.
“Our training has been running smoothly. The current national pool, which is composed of veterans and youth, has been working hard for the Philippine International Open,” added Nepomuceno.
The national bowlers are vying for at least two gold medals in the 18th Asian Games in Indonesia on Aug. 18-Sept. 2 while the national youth team is scheduled to compete in the World Youth Championships on July 24-Aug. 3 in Detroit, Michigan. The men’s team will play in the World Bowling Championships on Nov. 24-Dec. 5 in Hong Kong.
Other sponsors of the event where participants will play in 12 divisions are Prima Pasta, The City Bowling Shop, Jollibee, The Bowler, Timberpro, Young’s Town Sardines, Vectron Trade Corporation, Black Arrow Express and Fujihaya LS.
Bowling balls from SDU Bowling Supplies, Flumix Trading Corporation, Ethan International and EC Proshop will also be raffled off during the tournament.