JUNIOR bowler Kenzo Umali has become a force in the 2nd PBF Pagcor Philippine International Open.
Running sixth overall the other day, the 17-year-old jumped to second place in the men’s open qualifying rounds, beating some of local bowling’s prominent names a day before they enter the crucial stages of the 11-country meet.
“My goal is to always exceed my previous best,’’ said Umali after rolling 1467 that put the Grade 12 student from Charis School, Marikina City closer to No. 1 qualifier Jomar Jumapao.
Umali, who also secured the top seeding in the youth division, has beaten veterans JP Macatula (1476), Paulo Valdez (1467) and defending men’s champion Kenneth Chua (1436) during the two-week tournament backed by Smart Communications, Cafe Puro and Boysen Paints.
“I have to bring this consistency when I qualify against the foreign bowlers in the finals,” said Umali.
Jumapao, a finalist in the World Cup last year in Mexico, topped the men’s open eliminations with 1520, highlighted by a record series of 819 early this week at the Coronado Lanes of Starmall in Mandaluyong City.
The top 6 in the men’s and women’s division will move to the finals outright after Thursday’s last day of eliminations.
The qualifiers will play against the best bowlers from Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia in the championship round this weekend.
World Cup champion Krizziah Tabora remained ahead in the women’s open qualifying race with 1515 followed by the comebacking Rachelle Leon (1416) and national team veterans Liza Del Rosario (1407), Alexis Sy (1381), junior bowler Bea Hernandez (1368) and defending champion Lara Posadas (1353).
Junior champion Art Barrientos, meanwhile, has also surprised many after topping the graded men division with a total of 1364 pinfalls. Tailing him are Philippine Bowling Federation president Steve Robles (1326), Marc Matias (1314), Mar Serac (1286) and Lorenz Tugade (1256).