Youth standout Tan rules open masters event
Merwin Tan, this year’s Asian youth singles titleholder, took on the big boys in the men’s open masters of the PBF Philippine International Open Tenpin Bowling Championships and won the biggest tournament of his career.
The promising 19-year-old national youth standout blossomed to his full potential with a come-from-behind 237-193 triumph over veteran Billy Muhammad Islam of Indonesia in the tournament that served as the test event for the 30th Southeast Asian Games.
“This is the biggest that I’ve won in my career,” said Tan after receiving the P700,000 champion’s prize in the week-long tournament that featured 87 male keglers and 32 female bowlers from 12 countries.
“It’s definitely a confidence-builder when I play in succeeding tournaments and in the SEA Games,” added the incoming BS Marketing freshman at College of St. Benilde.
The next stops for Tan and his national teammates will be the equally challenging Singapore Open on June 16 to 30 and Hong Kong Open on July 15 to 20 before the Philippine Bowling Federation, the body recognized by World Bowling and the Philippine Olympic Committee, finalize the SEAG lineup.
With the victory, PBF secretary general Bong Coo confirmed that Tan is already seeded to the SEAG men’s team along with four-time bowler of the year Kenneth Chua, who missed the men’s open finals after attending the wedding of his brother.
Lara Posadas-Wong attempted to make it a double celebration for Team Philippines but Singapore’s Amabel Chua crashed the party with a 212-190 win in the women’s open masters finale.
In the women’s graded masters, Kaygien Itaralde of PBAP claimed the championship with a 12-game series of 1864 while Abner Loo of Malaysia topped the men’s graded masters.
Tan started off on the wrong foot in the first four frames and trailed Islam before stringing seven consecutive strikes that completely altered the complexion of the match held at the Coronado Lanes of Starmall in Mandaluyong City.
Posadas-Wong, the 2017 champion, tried to chase down Chua, who rolled three strikes and three spares to fend off the last-ditch effort of the Filipino.
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