(UPDATED) Merwin Tan scored a narrow victory in the men's singles event of bowling in the 31st Southeast Asian Games on Monday, ending an 11-year gold medal drought for the Philippines in the sport.
Tan finished with a total score of 1,292 to take the gold medal, just ahead of Thailand's Yannaphon Larpapharat who had 1,286.
Indonesia's Ryan Leonard Lalisang took bronze with 1,221.
It was a come-from-behind victory for the 22-year-old Tan at the Royal City Hanoi Bowling Lanes in Hanoi, as he rolled a six-bagger in the sixth and last frame to erase a 52-pin deficit.
Tan's bid for the gold was boosted by six straight strikes in the sixth frame where he scored 249, after a 234 in the fifth frame that bumped him up to No. 3 overall.
"Sobrang saya and shocking din po, na nanalo po ng gold ang Pilipinas. For the whole game, try lang po ako mag-maintain ng aking focus and execution. Execution, make good shots and maximizing every frame," said Tan.
It helped that Tan is a left-hander, according to coach Biboy Rivera.
"Being a southpaw, Merwin had an advantage going into the last few games because the lanes were more difficult for right-handers," he explained.
The Philippines last won bowling gold in 2011 in Jakarta, when Frederick Ong topped the men's singles with Jeremy Posadas coming in second place.
Filipino bowlers experienced a prolonged drought since then; they won just two medals in 2019, a silver and a bronze. Tan was part of the squad that won silver in the men's Team of 4 event.
"I am so overwhelmed, after 11 years... I cannot thank the Lord enough. Talagang coming from behind si Merwin. We prayed he could recover, and he did," said PBF Secretary General Bong Coo.
The other Filipino bowler in the competition, Ivan Dominic Malig, finished with a 1,087.