Filipino keglers end 15-year medal drought with team bronzes

The PH women's and men's bowling team: (FROM L-R) Rachelle Leon, Uella Marcial, Mades Arles, Norel Nuevo, Patrick Nuqui, Merwin Tan, Ian Dychangco, Kenneth Chua.

The PH women’s and men’s bowling team: (FROM L-R) Rachelle Leon, Uella Marcial, Mades Arles, Norel Nuevo, Patrick Nuqui, Merwin Tan, Ian Dychangco, Kenneth Chua. PH BOWLING PHOTO

Training-deprived Philippine bowling squads still managed to pocket bronze medals in the men’s and women’s team events of the 2021 International Bowling Federation Super World Championships that recently ended a 15-year medal drought in the event for the country.

Those were the country’s first medals after Biboy Rivera ruled the masters event in 2006.

Starring Kenneth Chua, Patrick Nuqui, Merwin Tan and Ian Dychangco, the men’s squad went through a tough journey in the meet held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, figuring 16th and last in the qualification with Uzbekistan before climbing back to the podium.

The men’s squad defeated Germany, 237-227, Kuwait, 224-223, and the United States, 277-213, in Group A of the round of 16 to advance to the quarterfinals where the Filipinos defeated Denmark, 239-235, via a one-game knockout.

Singapore pulled off a 228-247 triumph that stopped the Filipinos on their tracks in the semifinals.

Rachelle Leon, Mades Arles, Norel Nuevo and Dubai-based Uella Marcial, on the other hand, finished at the top of Group A in the eliminations with a total of six points in the round of 16 before battling it out going to the semifinals.

The Filipino Lady Keglers ripped Singapore, 264-219, and Sweden, 227-214, before losing to Norway, 182-258, on the way to the quarterfinals.

They demolished Colombia, 232-175, in the quarterfinals before Malaysia cut the streak with a 188-279 victory in the semifinals.

“With the short training period of one month before leaving for Dubai, we were still able to deliver. This is the start of Philippine bowling’s return to prominence,’’ said Philippine Bowling Federation secretary general Olivia “Bong’’ Coo.

In the 80s and 90s, Philippine bowling enjoyed tremendous success with a series of victories and championships in the international scene anchored mostly on the exploits of Paeng Nepomuceno and Coo.

The medal rounds of the tournament was an outdoor setup done late in the afternoon, making the heat doubly challenging for the competitors.

“They found it hard to adjust at first, with their hands soaking in perspiration due to the heat,’’ said Coo. INQ

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