SEA Games: PH bowlers explain why their venue gives them ‘big advantage’

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 27 2019 08:18 AM

SEA Games: PH bowlers explain why their venue gives them ‘big advantage’ 1
Coronado Lanes, the venue for 2019 SEA Games bowling. To the casual observers, the Coronado Lanes at Starmall may not look like an ideal spot to host an international event but there's a reason why Pinoy bowlers feel at home there. Courtesy of Bonnie Solis 

MANILA - Officials of the 2019 SEA Games recently drew flak for choosing to host matches at a mall’s bowling center, but the Philippines’ men’s bowling team said Tuesday the “world-class” venue gave them “a big advantage” in the regional competition.

The Coronado Lanes on the fourth floor of a mall in Mandaluyong has been the stage of various international bowling events, team captain Kenneth Chua said.

“ ‘Yung topography nu'ng lane pantay-pantay siya. Hindi masyadong malaki 'yung differences ng alleys at tama 'yung temperature,” Chua told ABS-CBN News.

(The topography of the lane is even. The difference between alleys is not that big and the temperature is just right.)

“Actually, it’s a big advantage for us kasi (because) that’s where we train every day.

“Kabisado namin, so parang we are more familiar with the venue.” 

(We have memorized it so it’s like we are more familiar with the venue.)

The center boasts of 38 lanes, while international tournaments usually require only 32, said Bonnie Solis, SEA Games technical operations manager.

The center, managed by Filipino top bowler Rafael “Paeng” Nepomuceno, was also the venue of the Philippine International Open for the past 3 years and the 2017 Asian Youth Championships, he said.

Though already “perfect for international competitions,” the venue was still renovated to improve the lanes and provide a lounge for SEA Games athletes, Chua said.

“ 'Yung mga lanes, sinanding nila. They are putting some seats para makapanood yung mga spectators,” he said.

(The lanes underwent sanding. They are putting some seats for spectators.)

Added Frederick Ong, also a part of the national team: “Sa standard ng bowling center, it is fairly world-class, renovated. Nagkataon lang na nasa mall siya (It just so happened that it’s inside a mall).”

Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC) chair Alan Peter Cayetano earlier clarified that the bowling venue vetted by technical officials, and was not chosen because it was housed inside Starmall, a Villar-owned shopping center.

Vistamall, which operates Starmall, is owned by one of the Philippines’ wealthiest men, Manuel “Manny” Villar. His wife, Cynthia, is a senator while their son, Mark, serves as Public Works and Highways Secretary, and their daughter Camille is incumbent Las Piñas representative.

The Villar family also controls the Nacionalista Party, where Cayetano is affiliated with.

MENTAL COACHES

The Philippine bowling team has been insulated from these political issues surrounding the Philippines' hosting of the Games, Ong said.

“We have foreign coaches and we have mental coaches din for the preparations,” he said.

“Iba kasi ‘yung preparation kasi you have the anxiety, pressure because we’re hosting so iba pa din 'yung meron kang [coach] to keep you calm, to keep you motivated when it comes to your goal.” 

(The preparation is different because you have the anxiety, pressure because we’re hosting so it’s still different when you have a coach to keep you calm, to keep you motivated when it comes to your goal.)

The bowling team’s mental coaches are there to provide counsel and remind players about the things they should focus on during the tournament.

When asked about what advice they received on how to deal with international flak about the country’s seeming lack of oreparations for the biennial regional games, Ong said: “That’s the job of the official. Our job is to prepare, do our best to deliver whatever we can.”

“ 'Wag kami made-derail sa mga gusto naming gawin. [We have to] Stay in the now and do our best,” he added.

(We cannot be derailed from what we want to do. )

“We train. Dapat hindi kami mawawala sa focus to deliver what we can.”

(We train. We should not lose focus to deliver what we can.)

(For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website).