VETERAN RJ Bautista has won gold in the Asian Games and topped other international bowling tournaments in the past.
But he considers his coming campaign in the 2012 World Cup in Wroclaw, Poland as the toughest in his colorful career.
The presence of the best men and women’s players around the world, including current and former champions, easily make the Nov. 24 to Dec. 2 tournament as a challenging test for the 34-year-old Bautista.
“This is the biggest test I guess in my bowling career,” said Bautista, a gold medal winner in the 2002 Busan Asiad.
“The presence of the best professional bowlers from around the world and the finest amateur players will make the world cup even more competitive than the previous ones.”
But not lost in the foresight of the Philippine Air Lines flight attendant is his foresight of duplicating the past World Cup feats of fellow Filipinos Bong Coo, Lita dela Rosa, CJ Suarez and four-time champion Paeng Nepomuceno.
“I don’t want to promise anything, but I’m looking forward to the competition with a positive attitude,” said Bautista,
A pioneer member of Team Prima together with 2006 World Cup champion Biboy Rivera and Ezzie Gan, Bautista beat Chester King in the national qualifying stage to earn the right of representing the country to the World Cup for the second time.
Bautista, who finished eighth in his first World Cup stint in 1999, clinched the gold with a 2-0 win over King, 280-195, 222-195.
“We still have plenty of time to prepare and we’re going to train hard,” said Bautista, who thanked his wife, family, coaches, the Philippine Bowling Congress, PAL president Ramon Ang, and fellow Prima teammates and chairman Alex Lim for supporting him.”
Bautista will be joined in the trip by fellow qualifier Krizziah Tabora, who topped the distaff side of the qualifying tournament.
The 21-year-old Tabora admitted being excited of competing in her first World Cup stint.
“National champions from more than one hundred countries normally participate in the international finals, so we really need to train harder than before to gain better result,” said the national player and Miriam College student.
Tabora upset veteran national bowler and World Cup campaigner Liza Del Rosario in the finals, 2-1 (210-205, 162-184, 246-181), to win the women’s gold.