All eyes will be on World Cup champion Sam Cooley of Australia as he leads participants in the 2019 Philippine International Open Tenpin Bowling Championships today at the Coronado Lanes at Starmall, Mandaluyong.
The 27-year-old native of Sydney, the World Cup men’s singles champion last year, will be aiming for back-to-back title in the PIO men’s singles against a loaded group led by four-time Filipino Male Bowler of the Year Kenneth Chua
“I don’t see it particularly easy,” said Cooley, who bagged the title handily won last year on the same venue. “It’s going to take a lot of good shot-making and mental toughness to get it done.”
Challenging the dominance of the 2012 world youth championships gold medalist Cooley is Chua, the leader in the qualifying round that ended on Thursday, and national youth standouts Kenzo Umali and Merwin Tan.
Chua, Umali and Tan have all booked spots to the medal round set Sunday.
“I qualified automatically. Right now, I’m just testing out things until the finals,’’ said Cooley, who also had a collection of silver and bronze medals in the previous editions of the world championships.
Chua sealed the No. 1 spot in the qualifying round after rolling 1483 pinfalls, while Umali wound up 50 pinfalls behind. Tan, the Asian youth singles gold medalist, compiled 1426 after two rounds in the meet supported by Pagcor, Cafe Puro, Prima Pasta, MVP Sports Foundation, Boysen Paints, Linden Suites and the Philippine Sports Commission.
“It will take more than just consistency to win the title,” said Chua, the men’s singles silver medalist in the 2017 Asian Indoor Games in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan. “I have to show up with my performance in the finals.”
Also poised to move over to the finals are national team mainstay Frederick Ong (1412), Jonas Baltasar of TBAM-Prima (1403) and PH pool member Emerson Gotencio (1394).