Kenneth Chua has shown the consistency needed to defeat a world-class bowler such as Australian Sam Cooley in the ongoing Philippine International Open (PIO) Tenpin Bowling Championships at the Coronado Lanes at Starmall, Mandaluyong City.
Chua, the country’s four-time male bowler of the year, continued to hold fort in the preliminary round, rolling 1483 pinfalls late Tuesday night that installed him as the toughest challenger to Cooley, the men’s open defending champion in PIO.
The 27-year-old assembled 743 in the first game and topped the second with 740, a steady performance showing his readiness for the first round of the finals come Saturday in the week-long meet that serves as the test event for 30th Southeast Asian Games.
“We have to maintain our focus and remain consistent until the finals for us Filipino bowlers to have a chance for the title,’’ said Chua, a silver medalist in the men’s singles bowling tourney of the 2017 Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan.
A total of 12 local bowlers and 12 foreign players have been jockeying for position until the end of the qualifying rounds Thursday during the tournament backed by Pagcor, Cafe Puro, Prima Pasta, MVP Sports Foundation, Boysen Paints, Linden Suites and the Philippine Sports Commission.
National youth standouts Kenzo Umali (1433) and Merwin Tan (1426) are running second and third, respectively, in the local side while Singapore’s Timothy Tham (1441), Basil Ng (1406) and Abdulla Ali of Bahrain (1403) are the leaders for the foreign contingent of nine countries and 97 bowlers.
Cooley is already seeded in the finals while Singaporean Muhd Jaris Goh rolled the first perfect game of the tournament organized by the Philippine Bowling Federation, the legitimate body for the sport in the country recognized by World Bowling and the Philippine Olympic Committee.