BAGUIO CITY – Pugo Adventure became the recipient of some good thing that must come to an end Thursday night, December 10, when they grabbed the view of the top from Smiley, who finally found out how the pin gods are as fickle as the weather that their luck finally deserted them on the last game and yield, 8-16, in the eight team International Mixed Bowling League at the Puyat Center.
It was an uphill, a mountain, climb actually for the third ranked PugAd which was staring at an eight point deficit on Smiley going to the last game of the three round Thursday league and another five on second ranked and three time defending champion Le Clutch.
“Go, go, go for the win,” cried Peter Go, anchor of PugAd, who earlier that day played a round of golf in the Fil-Am Invitational Golf Tournament and was not at his usual jovial self.
And before them is not just an eight point deficit where they need to win by at least 16 points to tie Smiley and get the higher ranking due to their higher total pinfalls. Le Clutch apparently had an easier task, beat the cellar dwelling Mixed Nuts who was one man short with leadman Lito Fuentes absent.
PugAd was also staring at a possible 67 disadvantage in handicap wherein team captain Jeanette Gomez must decide who she will field in, either the lower handicapped Rod Valdez (27) or Pigeon Lobien (43) or a 16 pin difference. She opted for the latter and Valdez had to sit down.
But PugAd was still 51 pins behind per game in the three game set worth 24 points. And then Smiley’s roll easily found its mark that even a seemingly wayward roll that could give a split for a leave turned into strike.
Only two escaped Smiley’s ferocious attack for a 2-5 deficit, Gomez and Philip Choi. But then the deficit swelled to another 135 pinfalls with Smiley getting 992 pins plus handicap against the 857 of PugAd.
PugAd was staring at a higher climb. All things however will even out. “Mauubos din yan,” said a calm Valdez as he goaded his teammates to play it cool. “Relax at huwag manggigil,” he told his team mates.
Slowly the PugAd crew went to work. Choi and Gomez had Go to work with as the near impossible task of surmounting the deficit started. PugAd won 5-2 to even out on the score but only ate 12 pins from the deficit sans the handicap in the last game.
All told, PugAd needs to win by more than 174 pins in the last game and at least four players to win to get into the promised land of 16 points.
Choi opened with a strike. Lobien, however, have a four leave as the rest settled for spares. The next frame saw four making spares and Lee a strike. On the third, all but Lee made a strike, he made a spare for the traditional “beer frame” and a round on him. PugAd also evened out on the game.
And just like that, the wind changed in PugAd’s favor. Lobien made a four bagger that by the sixth frame, PugAd was already halfway out of the hole. By the seventh the lead was 100 and Choi had to buy a round after all made strikes but him.
All five were leading on the scoreboard but when Lee failed to convert a three leave for a spare, Rogelio Garano made a strike to even out. Garano made it double after getting a strike on the 10th frame and win. However, Choi beat Sam Salvador and Gomez beat Marice de Guzman to complete a sweep, Go finished Ed de la Rosa for a 2-1 victory, and Lobien, who broke 200, finally got a game against league president Louie Loy. Lee was swept, however, by Garano.
PugAd won 1,094 to 950 for a 144 pin lead a 6-1 victory in that game which was enough to overhaul the deficit. PugAd made 2,991 pinfalls in all to beat Smiley by 21 pins and with the three points for the win gave Gomez and crew the magic 16, tie the latter in total points of 166.625 but will be ranked first going to the position night next Thursday.
PugAd will take the lead next week and will have the advantage in the pairing. It will also be the fourth meeting of the two teams with PugAd having the edge, 2-1.
In addition, Gomez will get the female bowler of the season as she was one up on Winnie Kilito going to the final game.
Gomez will also get the most improved player award with her 12 pins increase on week one to week 21. The team will also walk home with the high team game scratch of 944 registered on the last day that beat the previous high of 935 which the team also holds.
“This is it, we will go all the way. Sana manalo na rin,” said Gomez, whose team three Thursdays ago was at sixth spot. With the return of Lobien, the team improved to third until the last week.
“Pigeon has to play. He had been winning and so one of our teammates must step down,” she said. Valdez had to sit down the last two weeks to give way. Lee was absent three weeks ago and Lobien, an alternate, was called on. Lee will be absent again during the championship.
“We also needed the extra pins since Rod has a 27 handicap against the 43 of Pigeon, points that we need badly as we were staring at a substantial handicap to overcome,” she added.
The three time defending champion missed Nikko Go who is in Manila for the Philippine Bowling Federation national championships, saw its fortune fall and was upset by Mixed Nuts 17-7 to finish third with 162.625 points.
Le Clutch will face Twinkle which was a 19-5 victor over Budget savers for a fourth best 158.625. Palm Grove halved the series with X-Factor 12-12 to wound up fifth with 151.25 and will face Budget Savers which tallied 132.825. X-Factor (121.625) will face the last placed Mixed Nuts (113.25) in the position night.
The awards night will be on Dec. 22 with Le Clutch getting the high team series scratch of 3,074, Budget savers the high team series with handicap (3,168) and Smiley the high team game handicap of 1,106.
Chico Lubrin of Palm Grove gets the high average of 199, followed by Nikko Go (193), Ben Casuga of Budget Savers (182) and John Paul Go. Nelly Arciaga of Mixed Nuts has the high average of 157 in the distaff side, while Elisa Namoca is second with 156.
Abe Valdez is the most improved player in the men’s side with 14, while Louie Loy is the bowler of the season with 37.5 points.
Loy is also the bowler of the month for November with Kilito in the women’s side. Nikko Go has the high series scratch of 677, followed by Lubrin (668), Casuga (644) and Walter Yu of Le Clutch with 641.
Namoco and Racquel Abubo (Budget Savers) have the high series of 542 and 537, respectively.
Ben Diaz of X-Fctor has the high series handicap of 711, followed by Go with 701, Dolph Lachica of Buget Savers (698) and Abe Valdez (686). De Guzman is tops in the distaff side with 664 and Flor Balaba (X-Factor) is second with 660.
Lobien is actually tied with the youngest Go with 701 in the high series handicap but only bowled 33 games which fell short of the requirement.
High game scratch leaders are Butch Mendoza of Budget Savers with 255, followed by Joseph Tan (Le Clutch), Boy Retuya (X-Factor) and Rommel Alcid (Palm Grove) with 244, 242 and 235 in that order. Arciaga and Gomez have the high game scratch of 213 and 201, respectively.
High game handicap awardees are Jimmy Uy (Budget Savers), Rod Valdez, Mike Casuga (Palm Grove) and Peter Go with 269, 261, 258 and 252, in that order. Kilito and Irene Rapada of Palm Grove have the high game handicap of 242 and 240.