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Bowling News USA - April 18, 2012 The Schlemer Report – 2012 PBA Tournament of Champions

Well the final week of the season has come and gone. This year on the PBA tour there were 17 total events, and Storm/Roto Grip captured titles in 13 of them. Last time I checked, that is a 76% winning percentage which is unheard of in most professional sports! On top of that, Jason Belmonte and Norm Duke are in the running for the 2012 PBA Player of the Year race. Amazing if you ask me!  The truth is none of this would be possible without the continued support of each and every fan and customer of Storm and Roto Grip. Without each and every one of you we would not be able to build such a great staff of champions that competes on the PBA Tour. So on behalf of the players, Del Ballard, myself and Storm Bowling Products Inc. we thank all of you! Now back to the regularly scheduled programming.

We knew going into last week’s TOC that it would likely be a high scoring affair. And high scoring it was! The 39 foot TOC pattern is challenging to a degree, but if you followed along or witnessed first-hand, it develops nicely both deep inside and straight up the track area. From the Champions qualifying rounds to the Elite qualifying rounds, to the seeded 2012 title winners. Hambones were a plentiful for sure. The balls of choice included everything from Osku Palermaa throwing Vivids 100mph to the rest of the crew using Marvel Pearls, Hyroads, Frantics, and Victory Road Pearls pretty much exclusively, with the occasional Critical Theory, Rising Star and Shooting Star mixed in as well. If you watched the show you witnessed what Belmo did all week with the Marvel Pearl. Stand left and wheel it right. He had a pin up and the pin down he used on the show as well as a couple Hyroads and a Nomad Dagger that he used all week.

Finishing behind Belmo in the standings were staffers Rhino Page (6th), Wes Malott (7th), and Osku Palermaa (8th). Rhino used a wide variety of balls to be the second highest lefty in the tournament. He used two shiny Vivids, Rogue Cell and an Outlaw mainly, with the occasional look at other balls. Rhino never moved right of 12 board and mainly played the hard and straight up 6, 7 the entire event.

Wes Malott used Frantics most of the time until I finally convinced him on Friday to give a Marvel Pearl a look. The Frantics were good but pair to pair it seemed the balls that were a little earlier seemed to allow guys to see the lane faster. So after pulling out the Marvel Pearl, Wes made his run into the top 10. He played two different zones throughout the tournament, either 15 to 8 or 23 to 10 depending on the pair and how many games had been bowled since they were oiled.

For Osku, there were so many options with him. I honestly lost track of the number of balls he used because every time I watched him he used a different ball either hooking the entire lane or playing it hard and straight up the track. Although I will say all of his big games like the 300 and 270 games were with a Vivid.

As far as the show goes, well of course we would have liked it to turn out differently. Belmo had his plan of attack and executed it quite well if you ask me. I freshened up an old pin down Outlaw by hand with a 2000 pad before the show. He wanted to make sure he could burn a spot to the right to throw at so in case he got firm, his ball would still read. The plan worked great, it even took away the straight look Fagan had so that was good. Unfortunately with no traffic on the left, Ciminelli was left to do what he wanted and ultimately should have scored higher than he did. 

Belmo came into the semi-final match feeling good and felt the pin down Marvel Pearl was his best look. Even though the pin over the middle finger Frantic I drilled him for the show looked pretty good as well. I am a firm believer in the player using their gut instinct on the show unless there is something that  they don’t see. In this instance both Del and I agreed the Marvel Pearl was good and no doubt gave him a great chance to win. What we didn’t see coming was the right lane transitioning during the commercial break. Now I am sure all of you have seen it countless times where guys come out of commercial and toss a bad shot.  It happens to the best of them. Knowing exactly what was at stake Belmo took that into consideration after the long break and moved two boards as a just in case. Turns out that was nowhere near enough on the right lane as he left the 3-6-10 on a pretty good shot. He then cheated the same on the left lane and it was good. On the next shot on the right lane he moved another four boards and again left the 3-6-10. Like I said, none of us saw that coming on the right lane with the way his ball read to start the match. I have said it once and I will say it again, “that’s how the ball rolls sometimes.” Of course he changed to the Frantic and moved again in the tenth on that right lane and struck twice. Who would have thunk it? Oh well, it is what it is. Now we sit and wait to see who will be named this year’s PBA Player of the Year. Fingers crossed and hope for Belmo or Duke.

Well my friends, I have to say this has been a fun ride. After 10+ years as PBA Tour Rep I am stepping away and Del Ballard is stepping in. I am now the Marketing Manager for Roto Grip and will work to get that brand back in the forefront. From time to time I will still go help the guys on tour but for now I am transitioning into my new role. So come next season look for the behind the scenes perspective and information from PBA Hall of Famer and longtime friend Del Ballard. I’m sure his perspective will be both informative and entertaining.

With that, “I’M OUT!”

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April, 2012