SAM Cooley of Australia lived up to the hype and bowling ace Liza del Rosario emerged triumphant from an all-Filipino final showdown to rule the 2nd PBF Pagcor Philippine International Open.
Del Rosario, a national team mainstay, survived former PH teammate Rachelle Leon in a thrilling best-of-three finale to clinch the ladies open title before a huge Sunday crowd at the Coronado Lanes at Starmall in Mandaluyong City.
A three-time Asian Bowling Federation Tour champion, Cooley swept his race-to-two series with Mike Chan of Hong Kong and snared the men’s open crown plus the P500,000 winner’s purse.
Cooley placed third in the round 2 finals among 24 keglers and defeated second-seeded JP Macatula in the step-ladder championship before facing Chan, the No.1 qualifier, in a one-game decision.
Cooley, who won the ABF Tour leg twice in Thailand and once in Hong Kong, was already a clear winner on the seventh frame when Chan trailed him by a wide margin.
The Australian pro bowler capped the 195-148 victory with a pair of strikes to conclude the two-week, 11-country tourney supported by Cafe Puro, Smart Communications and Boysen Paints.
Chan lined his pockets with P250,000 and Macatula got P125,000 for placing third in the meet backed by Prima Pasta, The City Bowling Shop, Jollibee, The Bowler, Timberpro, Young’s Town Sardines, Vectron Trade Corporation, Black Arrow Express and Fujihaya LS.
Del Rosario, part of the women’s team of four that pocketed the silver medal in the Asian Indoor Games last year in Turkmenistan, was forced into a rubbermatch after the comebacking Leon knotted the series after two games.
Assured of a spot in the team bound for the Asian Games in Indonesia this August, Del Rosario rallied in the last three frames to prevail, 258-194, and claim her sixth Philippine Open title since winning it all in 2007.
Del Rosario earned the top prize of P200,000 while Leon, who earlier defeated third-seed Dyan Coronacion in the stepladder competition, got P100,000. Coronacion brought home P50,000 as second runnerup.