POC formally gives blessing to PBF as it rolls out 2nd Philippine Int'l Open Championships 
The entire PBF board led by president Steve Robles and chairman Senator Tito Sotto being inducted by POC president Ricky Vargas.    

WITH some of the legends of the sport behind it, the Philippine Bowling Federation (PBF) formally got the nod of the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) as the rightful national sports association for tenpin bowling in the country.

No less than POC president Ricky Vargas gave his blessing to the group after serving as inducting officer to the entire PBF board led by president Steve Robles and chairman Senator Tito Sotto.

“This is very strong group of leaders. They are all bowlers, they all love the sport, and they went through the process,’’ said Vargas during the opening of the 2nd PBF Philippine International Open Championships Saturday at the Coronado Lanes in Starmall on Edsa, Mandaluyong City.

Bong Coo, a four-time World Cup champion and five-time Asian Games gold medal winner, now sits as secretary-general of the PBF.

Paeng Nepomuceno and Coo had been inducted in the International Bowling Hall of Fame.

“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.

Over 300 local bowlers led by members of the national team and 150 international participants from Asia and Oceania are vying for supremacy in the April 28- to ay 13 tournament backed by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.

Reigning 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 also supported 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 during the event.

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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 by world-renowned Filipino sculptor Joe Datuin to the champion in the Open divisions.

Acting as deputies to Nepomuceno with the national team are former champions Biboy Rivera, Jojo Canare, and Rey Reyes.

Gracing the opening rites aside from Senator Sotto were 2019 Southeast Asian Games Chef De Mission Monsour del Rosario and Councilor Boy Esteban from the office of Mandaluyong City mayor Carmelita Abalos.

“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 Coo.

“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 the country’s most decorated athlete in any sport.

Aiming to promote tenpin bowling in the country, the PBF-PIO is sanctioned by the 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.

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“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 set Aug. 18 to Sept. 2 while the national youth team is scheduled to compete in the World Youth Championships from July 24 to Aug. 3 in Detroit, Michigan. The men’s team will play in the World Bowling Championships from Nov. 24 to 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.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @gerardmos