by Bill Vint December 10, 2015 11:14
Seven bowlers from the People’s Republic of China, “graduates” of the Longmarch Pioneers League program created by Frank Zhao, are participating in the GEICO PBA World Series of Bowling VII. A group of six players made China’s first appearance in PBA competition a year ago. Along with the players visiting Reno is a contingent of Chinese administrative leaders who are working with Zhao to expand bowling’s presence in the world’s most populous country.
Players who are competing in the World Series include Huang Chen, Yao Lin, Zhang Peng, Du Jianchao (who uses the “helicopter” or “spinner” technique that is popular in several Asian Rim countries), traditional left-hander Mi Zhongli (who finished 50th in Tuesday’s Cheetah Championship qualifying round – China’s best finish thus far), Wang Zhiyong, and 21-year-old lefty Qi Wankang, who is being hailed as one of China’s emerging stars.
By participating in Zhao’s Longmarch Pioneers League, players establish minimum 200 averages which allow them to apply for PBA membership. By bowling in the WSOB, the players are expanding their bowling knowledge and experience to take home where they are literally serving as “pioneers” in helping develop the next generation of Chinese bowlers.
Beyond the competitors, the 2015 delegation includes a group of leaders officially sent by the China Sports Bureau General, the top administrative body of all sports in China, to meet with PBA’s leaders along with USBC and BPAA leaders during a side trip to Arlington, Texas. The administrative group includes Mr. Shi, Vice Chairman of the Chinese Bowling Association; Mr. Huang, CBA Deputy Secretary; Mr. Wang, Executive Manager of Bowling, China Sports Bureau; Mr. Jia, CBB’s head coach, and Zhao, who is president of Longmarch Bowling along with leading the delegation.
EX-MLB ALL-STAR JOHN BURKETT IMPRESSED WITH MOOKIE BETTS’ DEBUT IN PBA COMPETITION
Former major league all-star pitcher John Burkett, who concluded his major league career as a member of the Boston Red Sox pitching staff, and recently concluded a successful “rookie” season on the PBA50 Tour, is an avid Xtra Frame viewer and PBA fan. He’s been following the GEICO WSOB VII, and here’s his take on Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts’ debut in PBA competition posted on Twitter Wednesday:
“I get tired of athletes from other sports claiming they can bowl. They always stink. I have respect for Mookie Betts. Kid has some game…”
ON DECK: PBA SCORPION CHAMPIONSHIP PRESENTED BY RENO-TAHOE USA
Next up on the WSOB VII schedule is qualifying for the Scorpion Championship presented by Reno-Tahoe USA. Qualifying squads will bowl nine-game squads at 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. (PT) on Friday at the National Bowling Stadium, with the top 24 players advancing to best-of-five-game single-elimination match play rounds at 4:30 and 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 15. The top eight qualifiers will receive a bye for the first round of Tuesday’s elimination matches.
After Tuesday’s Rounds of 24 and 16, the eight survivors will bowl the Round of 8 on Wednesday, Dec. 16, at 7:30 p.m. with the four winners advancing to the ESPN bracket finals which will be conducted on Friday, Dec. 18 at the National Bowling Stadium for delayed telecast by ESPN on Sunday, Jan. 10, at 1 p.m. (ET).
Combined 36-game qualifying scores from the nine-game Cheetah, Viper, Chameleon and Scorpion Championships qualifying rounds will determine the 25 percent of the field who will advance to the six-game Rolltech PBA World Championship cashers’ round at 10 a.m. on Saturday. The top 24 players based on 42-game totals will then advance to the World Championship round-robin match play finals. Three eight-game match play rounds will be contested on the PBA World Championship lane condition on Saturday at 5 p.m. and Sunday at 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.
After 66 games contested on five different lane conditions, the top five players will advance to the live ESPN stepladder finals which will begin at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT Thursday, Dec. 17.
FOLLOW THE WORLD SERIES ON XTRA FRAME, LIVE SCORING, SOCIAL MEDIA
Bowling fans around the world can follow all of the action in WSOB VII by watching Xtra Frame’s more than 75 hours of live online coverage of all qualifying and match play rounds, or by checking “live scoring” on pba.com. Additional coverage will be provided on PBA’s Facebook, Twitter and YouTube pages, both by PBA staff and a number of players in the field.
To subscribe to Xtra Frame, visit pba.com. One-month subscriptions are offered for $7.99 and a full-year XF Season Ticket subscription is only $64.99.
IT’S FREE: ATTEND WORLD SERIES EVENTS UNTIL ESPN TELEVISION FINALS
Bowling fans are invited to attend all sessions of the World Series, except for the ESPN-televised finals, at no cost. Tickets will be required for the live ESPN finals of the Rolltech PBA World Championship at 4 p.m. local time on Thursday, Dec. 17; for the finals of the Cheetah, Viper, Chameleon and Scorpion Championships on Friday, Dec. 18, and for the Mark Roth/Marshall Holman PBA Doubles Championship and PBA Challenge finals on Saturday, Dec. 19. Tickets will be available at the door or in advance by ordering on pba.com.
Until then, there is plenty of action available at no cost. Scorpion Championship presented by Reno-Tahoe USA qualifying squads bowl at 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. Friday. The Rolltech PBA World Championship cashers’ round begins at 10 a.m. Saturday, followed by PBA Tri-Regional Open competition at 2:30 and the first round PBA World Championship match play at 5 p.m. Rounding out this week’s WSOB competition will be the Tri-Regional Open match play and finals beginning at 9 a.m. Sunday followed by the final two rounds of PBA World Championship match play at 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.