I CAN’T bowl a strike even if it means saving my life but I’ve always been a big fan of bowling. I think I fell in love with the sport when I saw a game aired over ESPN back in the ‘90s and it was nothing like I’d ever seen.
Then I didn’t know there was duckpin and ten-pin bowling. I thought they were just one and the same. Despite that misconception, I thought this was a sport that we could excel in. A few months after seeing that match, Paeng Nepomuceno won the third of his four World Cup of Bowling titles, reinforcing my belief.
Bowling in Cebu is one of the most vibrant local sports community and it holds many weekly, monthly and annual tournaments. A few years ago, I pushed for bowling’s inclusion in the Cesafi but sadly, it just didn’t pan out.
Still, I’m elated that the local community is doing another major activity, one that could raise the sport’s profile here and could also raise the community’s profile nationally and internationally.
The Cebu Tenpin Bowling Association (Cetba) is hosting the First Cebu International Invitational Tenpin Bowling Championships at SM City and SM Seaside. It is a major tournament that offers more than P2 million in prizes. The Open division champion alone will take home P500,000, one of the biggest purses in bowling that I’ve ever heard.
It’s a far cry from the paltry sum offered when I first attended a bowling press conference 22 years ago and the legendary Bong Coo was referred to as “Sir” by a clueless fellow.
I like that they attached “First” to the name of the tournament since the organizers plan to hold this regularly. I hope they succeed and the event does become an annual destination for bowlers not only in Southeast Asia but Asia as well.
The sport, sadly, took a big blow recently after the International Olympic Committee didn’t include it in the Olympics, but in Asia, it’s part of the biggest games in the region, the Asian Games.
I’m not sure if the local government units—Cebu City or Cebu Province—are involved in this event but I hope for the next editions, they’d lend a hand.
Bowling is a family affair and I’m sure the international participants will have some family members in tow and if they like what they see in Cebu, they’d spread that too, giving us free publicity.
To Cetba, good luck in your event and may you succeed in your endeavor.