Reigning Asian youth singles champion Merwin Tan captured his first international title in the men’s open masters competition after topping the PBF Philippine International Open Tenpin Bowling Championships at the Coronado Lanes at Starmall, Mandaluyong City.
Using his 2nd place in the youth boys final during the weekend as a motivation, the 19-year-old Filipino stormed back from a huge deficit after four frames to repulse Indonesian hotshot Billy Muhammad Islam, 237-193, in the one-game championship clash.
Tan highlighted his big show with seven consecutive strikes to pocket the R700,000 champion’s purse at the end of the week-long tournament supported by Pagcor, Cafe Puro, Prima Pasta, MVP Sports Foundation, Boysen Paints, Linden Suites and the Philippine Sports Commission.
“It was a bad start, but I was able to turn things around with better shotmaking in the succeeding frames,” said Tan, who assured himself of a spot in the coming 30th Southeast Asian Games that the Philippines is hosting.
Organized by the Philippine Bowling Federation, the tournament where 87 male bowlers and 32 female keglers from 12 countries participated is a test event for the SEA Games on Nov. 30-Dec. 11. The PBF is the local body in the sport recognized by World Bowling and the Philippine Olympic Committee.
Prior to the step-ladder finals, Tan secured the top seeding after the second-round finals with 1887 pinfalls. Islam placed second in the step-ladder with 1815 and defeated fellow Indonesian and third seed Ryan Lalisang, 267-243, to set up the thrilling finale against Tan.
“So far this is the biggest tournament that I’ve won in my career,’’ said Tan, who wound up runnerup to Filipino-Australian Jordan Dinham in the youth boys championship.
In the ladies open masters, Lara Posadas-Wong wasn’t as lucky as Tan after Amabel Chua of Singapore denied the top seed and 2017 champion of victory, 212-190, in their title match.