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Bowling News USA - December 21, 2010 The Schlemer Report - Scorpion Championship

For the second straight week the lone left-hander on the show captured his first ever PBA national title in his PBA television debut. However, this week’s winner, Yong Jin-Gu of South Korea, was part of PBA history that may never be repeated. This show marked the first time in PBA history that four of the five finalists were international players. As well as it was the first time ever a PBA national title match consisted of international players representing the same foreign country on US soil. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that we will probably not see that again anytime soon, if ever.

After 12 games of qualifying, it took an average of 223 to make the top sixteen. The number one qualifier for match play was none other than Storm’s very own two-handed wonder from down under, Jason Belmonte. Belmo led the field by averaging over 237 for his 12 qualifying games and had a 57 pin lead over second place heading into the match play portion of the event. In qualifying and match play, Belmo used a combination of only two balls. He used a pin down Tropical Heat black/silver on the lanes that played slicker and a pin up Tropical Heat black/silver on the lanes that hooked earlier. In fact, on some of the pairs he used the pin up Tropical Heat on one lane and the pin down on the other. Like I have mentioned over the years in writing these reports, sometimes it isn’t how the bowlers break the condition down; sometimes it is the natural differences like topography, lane installation, or the amount of games bowled that cause the lanes to play differently. In this case it was the wear and tear of the lanes that was more visible on this particular condition. The only real issue for Belmo was carrying from the inside angle he was playing. Any time he tried to move and play a different part of the lane, it was anyone’s guess as to where his ball was going to go. So we decided early in the round that he was better off battling carry than risking playing another part of the lane which could cause him to split and give away pins. The plan worked perfectly. He was able to grind through the nine games of match play and managed to hang onto the number two seed for the telecast. Unfortunately, on the show he was caught up trying to play the lanes like the right-handers before him and fell into the same trap they did. Even though I told him that he should at least entertain the idea of moving deeper inside with the Anarchy, he still felt he wanted to try to play the lanes as he did in match play. When he did finally switch to the Anarchy, it was easy to see that he definitely had a better ball reaction. After the match, Belmo told me afterwards that he should have listened and tried to play deeper to start. I told him it was a rookie mistake and that he is not a rookie anymore. I also told him not to worry and that it still happens to the hall of famers and living legends. Sometimes it is so tough to give up on what got you there that you forget that you still need to do whatever it takes to win. Whether it is using a freshly drilled ball or playing a completely different part of the lane, you have to adapt to the conditions because they definitely will not adapt to you.

As you may have guessed, the show condition for Yong Jin-Gu was also different from what he had bowled on in match play, but he did an excellent job of adapting. In match play he used a pin up Prodigy all nine games and was able to make minor adjustments here and there to climb the standings to make the show. After he qualified for the show, I met with Jin-Gu and his translator Mr. Kim to discuss possible ball options for the show. Wow was it a good thing we did. Come show day Jin-Gu tried using the Prodigy he used in match play, but with no luck. I sanded it with 1000 Abralon and he still couldn’t get soft enough or point it enough to get it to roll into the pocket the right way. He spoke to his translator and asked if it was alright that he not use that ball. I said he is here to win and that he needed to use which ever ball he felt he could win with. By the time the start of the first match of the show had begun, I had sanded both a pin up Anarchy and a pin up Roto Grip Theory twice with 1000 Abralon by hand to help break down the oil. Even after repeated shots and sanding both balls twice, the right lane was still five boards slicker than the left. He tried moving around on the right lane and quickly figured out his pin action was much better playing harder and straighter like he was on the right lane. The problem was that the Anarchy either snapped too hard or skid too far to start. That is why he felt he needed to use the Theory on the right to blend out the breakpoint so he could play both lanes the same and hope for good pin carry. His veteran experience in international competition proved to be the difference in his decision to use a different ball on each lane. Not too many professionals no matter which country they are from would ever make that decision. That my friends is adapting to what you are given.

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