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Bowling team looks to end 12-year medal drought

Encouraged by the new scoring format, the Philippine Bowling Team seeks to end a 12-year medal drought as the 18th Asian Games bowling championships rolls off on Wednesday at the new Jakabaring Sports City Bowling Center in Palembang, Indonesia.

The Filipina keglers takes first crack in six-game women’s trios scheduled at 11:00am Manila time at the state-of-the art, 40-lane facility built specifically for this quadrennial sportsfest inside the sprawling complex in this South Sumatran provincial capital.

Former Asian titlist and reigning Philippine Open bowling queen Liza del Rosario spearheads the country’s challenge, teaming up with Lara Posadas and Alexis Sy in one of the squads. The other team is composed of Dyan Coronacion, Lourdes Arles, and Rachelle Leon.

“We’re excited over the scoring system that virtually levels the playing field. May laban na sila,” noted national women’s coach Jojo Canare, referring to the system that awards an automatic 30 points for every strike made.

“Excited na sila over this change because ‘di na masyadong factor na mabigat ang kalaban like Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Malaysia,” Canare, a former national standout herself, added.

She bared that they already made simulations of the oiling pattern and conditions during their practice at their training facility back home using the oiling machine purchased by the Philippine Sports Commission.

“The conditions are nearly the same, although the lanes here are new. Dito plantsado pa kung sa ating lanes may gasgas na,” Canare said. “Pero okay pa rin, laban kami.”

Her confidence was shared by national men’s coach and former Asian Games gold medalist Biboy Rivera, who said that “on paper we (the Filipinos) are considered the underdogs. But based on our practice yesterday, if we can make adjustments and execute properly, we have a chance.”

“Premium dito strikes, since new scoring format has ten frames instead of twelve. Lahat naman po diyan, mga strikers. Yes, there’s a possibility we can end our medal drought here,” added the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games men’s singles gold medalist.

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Head coach and four-time World Cup champion Paeng Nepomuceno stressed that “since this is a six-game series (in trios), it is practically a sprint game. Our bowlers will have to put a premium on accuracy and shot repeatability [SIC].”

The men’s squad plays the next day with Kenneth Chua, Enzo Hernandez, and Merwin Tan comprising one squad Kenzo Umali, Jomar Jumapao, and Raoul Miranda in the other team.

Asked about the team’s overall medal prospects, Nepomuceno, who bagged an Asian Games gold with CJ Suarez in the men’s doubles in the 2002 Busan edition, replied:

“I believe we have a 50-50 chance in all of the events here.”

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