The Philippine men's and women’s bowling teams hope to build on their successes in the World Championships when they plunge into competition in the 31st Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi, Vietnam.
Legendary bowler Bong Coo said they are targeting at least two gold medals in Vietnam following their bronze medal finish in Dubai last week.
“In the past SEA Games, hindi kami nakaka-gold. Nung panahon namin, walang problema. Kapag naka-bronze, umiiyak kami. Ngayon 'pag bronze, umiiyak din, pero sa tuwa,” said the world bowling hall of famer in the recent Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) forum.
“Pero ngayon ang target namin is to really deliver the gold for the country kasi alam kong kayang-kaya namin.”
National women’s coach Jojo Canare and national bowlers Rachelle Leon and Merwin Tan shared the same optimism.
Canare handled the women’s team comprised of Leon, Mades Arles, Norel Nuevo, and Dubai-based Uella Marcial who bagged the bronze.
Biboy Rivera and Rey Reyes called the shots for the men’ side of Kenneth Chua, Patrick Nuqui, Merwin Tan, and Ian Dychangco, which also copped the bronze.
The podium finish was the first for the country since Rivera won the gold in the same competition 15 years ago.
But the Filipino bowlers had to do it under tough conditions in Dubai, with the semis and finals being played outdoors.
“Umalis kaming medyo nakatungo kasi napaka-iksi ng aming preparations. Pero gaya ng sinabi ko sa kanila nung final frame na, gusto ko dramatic exit. So at least umuwi kami ng nakataas noo kahit paano,” said Canare.
Training of the national team starts in December as tryouts will be held to fill in the team that will compete in the SEA Games set for May 12-23, 2022.
The bowling team won a silver (men’s team) and bronze (women’s team) in the 30th edition of the SEA Games.