THE national junior team tries to honor the late Philippine Bowling Congress president Toti Lopa when it vies in the 17th Asian Youth Tenpin Bowling Championship next week at the South China Athletic Association Bowling Center in Hong Kong.
Enrico Lorenzo Hernandez and Madeline Mae Llamas lead the eight Filipino junior bowlers competing against 126 of the top players from 21 countries.
Others in the team are Ivan Dominic Malig, Jose Mari Tajo, and Jose Paolo Gabriel Darroca in the boys’ team, while the girls side is composed of Jailah Mara Ramirez, Jhoana Lualhati, and Christelle Peig.
Veteran Carlos De Leon is the coach of the team that leaves on Sunday for the Sept. 7 to 14 meet. De Leon will be joined by fellow coaches Biboy Rivera, Edmundo Boy Florencio, and Purvis James Granger.
In last year’s edition of the meet in Egypt, the country won a gold courtesy of Alexis Sy in the girls’ masters event. The Filipinos also took home three silvers through Janine Kuwahara (girls singles), Kenneth Chua and Enrico Lorenzo Hernandez (boys doubles), and Chua (boys masters), along with a bronze medal behind Patricia Tajo and Sy (girls doubles).
The young Filipinos hope to duplicate if not surpass the feat as they dedicate their campaign to the late president of the country’s bowling association, who passed away recently.
“The national youth team will strive hard to bring honor to God and country and in honor of the late PBC president Mr. Toti Lopa, who recently passed away while heading the delegation to the world championships in Las Vegas last month,” said PBC committee youth chairman Alexander Lim.
But De Leon acknowledged the task won’t be easy
“We’re expecting stiff competitions, but we are all confident our players could bring home medals of any color,” said De Leon, who mentioned powerhouse Korea, Australia, Singapore, Japan, Malaysia, and the host country as among the title contenders.
The team’s trip is supported by the Philippine Sports Commission, PBC, Cebuana Lhuiller, Jag Jeans, Mar Lualhati, and Prima Pasta.