QUEZON CITY — Four time World Cup representative Jomar Jumapao and 2017 SEA Games co-bronze medallist Krizziah Tabora topped a field of 120 of the country’s best keglers in the National Finals of the 2017 Bowling World Cup qualifiers held at Paeng’s Eastwood recently to earn the much coveted slots to the Bowling World Cup in Hermosillo, Mexico later this year.
Jumapao, a 27-year-old Cebu native, outlasted businessman Nicco Olaivar, 206-195, 233-199, in the best-of-three finale in the men’s division while Tabora went the distance against iconic former national Bowler of the Year Liza del Rosario, 225-266, 238-193 and 236-179, to garner the opportunity to battle for supremacy against the best on the planet this coming November 4 to 12.
“I will do my best to bring glory to the Philippines,” the diminutive 26-year-old national team mainstay said, in the vernacular. “I’m so grateful and excited for the opportunity.”
Tabora entered the last day of the competition with a total of 4,247 pinfalls over the course of the three day final qualifier—good for first overall, and held off stiff challenges from fellow international campaigners del Rosario, former youth star Alexis Sy and last year’s representative to the prestigious event in Shanghai Lara Posadas.
In the semifinals, Tabora crushed Sy 228-155 and survived an early open frame from a difficult split to advance to the championship match via a 182-165 decision in the clincher, with Sy having the misfortune of being unable to convert several splits.
But in the finale, del Rosario—the 2005 Women’s Singles titlist in the SEA Games—brought out her best performance of the tournament, but then started feeling the effects of a lingering hip injury and started to falter as Tabora gained control in the decisive last two matches.
Tabora was part of the six-member squad with the aforementioned ladies to cop third place in the women’s bowling team event (along with veteran Mades Arles and former 2009 Prima Bowler of the Year Dyan Coronacion)—the only medal attained by Team Philippines in bowling in Malaysia.
Jumapao’s path wasn’t as easy as the men’s draw had in it former three-time SEA Games Men’s Singles winner Paulo Valdez, tournament overall pinfall leader Kenneth Chua and last year’s champion Raoul Miranda in the final field.
Jumapao lost his initial match against Final Four adversary Merwin Tan 190-196, but capitalized his 18-year-old opponent’s mistakes in the second and third matches and made it through to the finale, 208-168 and 224-200.
Waiting for him there was fourth seed Olaivar who ended up sweeping Chua 215-155 and 213-204 in their semifinals pairing to have a tremendous amount of confidence to pull off another upset.
But Jumapao did just enough in the showdown to limit his mistakes and pounce on a late open frame by Olaivar in the second match top secure the berth as early as the ninth frame. It will be Jumapao’s fifth appearance in the competition since being part of the national team nine years ago.
Gracing the event were national bowling coach and former four-time world champion Paeng Nepomuceno, Puyat Sports Executive Vice President Engineer Gilbert Gavino and later Steve Hontiveros, the president of the Philippine Bowling Federation.
“I’m pulling for them (Jumapao and Tabora),” Nepomuceno said during the awarding ceremonies. “They are top notch competitors and I look forward to watching them in action there.”
The Bowling World Cup will finish just a few weeks before the 2017 Bowling World Championships which runs from November 24 on December 4 in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA wherein the Philippines will be sending a full contingent.