Sunday, October 22, 2017 – CENTRAL LANES BOWLING CENTER, Tamuning, Guam
For the third time in as many months, the Guam Senior Bowlers Association monthly senior tournament title went down to the last frame and once again the contestants had to contend with the pressure of execution with the title on the line. This was a scenario fourth seed Alex Kloulubak had never encountered in his brief bowling career and with coach Manny Tagle watching, only made the task much more difficult. But the military veteran looked over at his coach and with just one glance knew his mission….win!
So in front of a gathering audience from the GHRA league, Kloulubak responded with strikes in the last frame to upset the number one seed and two time 2017 winner Nestor Valencia to claim his first bowling title. But it wasn’t without a little help from Lady Luck as Valencia had the opportunity to answer back and snatch his third title of the year. But a stubborn ringing ten pin in the final stanza denied him that opportunity.
The day started a bit crazy for the high scoring pattern that had Valencia leading the qualifying 6 game block with a 1338 series and a 223 average after six games with handicap.
In the shootout rounds, tenth seed Rolly Hernandez slammed the door on sixth seed Zaldy Ponce and eighth seed Edgar Caper 241 to 185 and 134 respectively with handicap in the first bracket. Fifth seed May champion Art Gatmen nipped seventh seed Terry Roberto and ninth seed Bal Perez 207 to 189 and 186 with handicap in the second bracket.
The quarterfinals resulted with Hernandez upsetting third seed Gomes Martinez 194-154 while Kloulubak stopped Gatmen 218-204 to start his title run.
The semifinals were nail biters as top seed Valencia had all he could handle before disposing of Hernandez 205-197 having to come through in the tenth frame to advance to the title game. Kloulubak also had a see-saw toe-to-toe match with second seed Manny Torre before connecting strikes over the final three frames resulted in a 220-188 victory and a shot at the championship.
Starting with two strikes in the opening frames, it looked like Valencia was looking to cruise to his third title of the year. But a determined Kloulubak sat and looked away to maintain focus and remained composed throughout the game. Like two gladiators, the Central Lanes audience was treated to an exciting spectacle as the both competitors battled through nine frames to face a do or die performance in the tenth to determine the winner. After watching Valencia get the ringing ten on his first shot in the tenth frame, Kloulubak stood with relief and finally broke out with a smile knowing all his practice and training has brought him to this moment and the right to be called champion. The title came with a cash prize and a secured spot in the 2017 Guam Senior Bowler of the Year tournament.
The last monthly senior tournament for the year will be at 11AM, Sunday, November 26th at Central Lanes. This tournament is open to all bowlers aged 50 or will be 50 by December 31, 2017. This is a handicapped event with a cash prize going to the top four finishers. For more information contact Central Lanes Bowling Center.