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Bowling News USA - January 4, 2011 The Schlemer Report - Shark Championship

To say it was only a matter of time would be an understatement; we just did not know when. Well my friends it happened, two-hander Osku Palermaa added his name to the list of PBA national champions. We got our first dose of the Finnish two-hander back in 2004, when at the age of 20 he made his first career PBA telecast - the US Open nonetheless. Since Osku elected not to bowl full time like his two-handed counterpart and fellow Storm staffer, Jason Belmonte, it took him a little longer to win than some expected. However, it is now safe to say that since he has tasted victory at the highest level, Osku will be around for a while that is for sure.

For those of you that have been following the World Series of Bowling these last few weeks you may have noticed that there were only four players out of 252 entries to make two of the five animal pattern telecasts. Two of those were none other than Storm’s very own two-handed wonders Osku and Belmo. Their two-handed styles definitely gave them an advantage over most on the tough conditions they bowled on those two weeks. Their ability to throw it harder and in some cases farther down the lane gave them a definite advantage on some of the conditions. As you witnessed on the Shark telecast, throwing it harder than the others was the benefit they both had throughout the duration of that event. You saw, as the lanes got ugly as they did on the show, both Osku and Belmo instinctively used their style to their advantage. In this case being able to loft the ball farther with more speed helped them take the front part of the lane condition out of play. Meaning since their ball was in the air, there was less chance of over/under ball reaction on the backend. The reason for such ugly conditions was due to the high friction lane surface and the amount of surface bowlers used on their equipment. Some used very little surface while others did not hesitate to use a lot of surface to make their ball react how they wanted it on the 43-foot Shark pattern. All these different levels of surface caused the oil to break down and move around differently lane to lane. Just as you witnessed on the telecast, one lane reacted one way while the other lane reacted completely different.

 Tropical Heat – Black/Silver used by Jason Belmonte

As you can see in the above photo, Belmo chose to use a less aggressive ball in the Tropical Heat Black/Silver to keep the ball on a more direct line. He knew when he threw this ball harder it would stay online and be less likely to overreact on the backend. He tried other balls but this was by far his best ball option to keep the ball in the pocket more consistently. We knew that it would not take a high score to win the title that day; the winner was going to be the one who made the fewest errors and kept the ball in and around the pocket. Unfortunately, even with a foolproof plan of attack, Belmo could not overcome a couple of errors in crucial spots that cost him a chance at the title.

Two Hy-Roads Osku used during his televised matches

As I mentioned earlier, during the show it was a matter of controlling the pocket and keeping out of extreme trouble. Being able to bowl in the semifinal match was definitely a blessing for Osku because he had a better idea as to how quick each lane was continually changing. As you can see in the picture above, Osku used two different Hy-Roads with the pin above the fingers. The Hy-Road on the left with the higher pin was the one he used on the left lane in the title match when he decided to throw the ball harder and straighter. The Hy-Road on the right was the one he used mainly in the semi-final match against Belmo and then exclusively on the right lane in the title match. Both have the pin up; however, the one on left has the pin higher with an extra hole. This allowed Osku to use his strength to keep the ball on line with less change of direction. While the pin up Hy-Road on the right rolled up just a little sooner and gave him a little different roll through the pins.

Well my friends it is time for me to say good-bye. Be sure to check back after the LIVE World Championship shows that are set for January 14-16. I will have some insight and behind the scenes photos from those shows to share. The following week will feature the grand daddy of them all, the Tournament of Champion. Be sure to tune in January 22 on ABC for this event where you will hopefully see a Storm staffer hoisting the trophy as he captures the largest payday in PBA history.

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January, 2011