This Sunday’s PBA Scorpion Championship finals telecast on ESPN moves to 3:30 p.m. ET with two-time Collegiate Player of the Year and Storm staffer Marshall Kent leading a field of four finalists in a quest for the title in the fourth World Series of Bowling event from the South Point Hotel and Casino.
The Scorpion Championship will be contested on a 47-foot lane conditioning pattern that uses the new blue oil lane conditioner which provides viewers with a visual reference of oil patterns and how players attack the lane conditions.
The Storm WSOB V Post Game Show was broadcast live from South Point Casino and Bowling Center in Las Vegas. Joining host Mike Flanagan was USBC Hall of Famer Bob Hart, Louie Wemett, Roto Grip Staffer John Szczerbinski, Storm Tour Representative Del Ballard Jr., Tom Baker, Ron and Marshall Kent and Danielle McEwen.
In the opening match, 2011-12 Rookie of the Year Josh Blanchard will take on 2005-06 Player of the Year Tommy Jones, who won his 15th career title in the 7th Kingdom International Open in Saudi Arabia Monday.
With his last three titles coming in international events, Jones will be trying for his first win on U.S. soil since March of 2008 when he won the GEICO Classic in West Babylon, N.Y. Jones’ previous wins prior to the Saudi tournament were the 2010 Japan Cup and the 2013 International Bowling Championships, also in Japan, which he won earlier this season.
Blanchard will be trying for his first PBA Tour title, improving on his career-best second-place finish in last summer’s Badger Open in Milwaukee. The opening match winner will meet 2009 PBA World Champion Tom Smallwood in the semifinal. Smallwood, who is trying for his second Tour title, has three top-10 finishes this season including a fourth-place finish in last Sunday’s Chameleon Championship.
Smallwood gained nationwide attention after his World Championship win, which happened shortly after he was laid off from his job with General Motors during the economic down-turn in the auto industry. He decided at that time to pursue a childhood dream, earned a PBA Tour "exemption" in the former PBA Tour Trials held in Detroit - near his Saginaw, Mich., home - and converted that success into a PBA major championship. While he has made several TV appearances since then, a second-place finish in the 2011 Tournament of Champions has been his best finish.
The semifinal winner will meet Kent, the tournament leader, who also was the only amateur to compete in the World Series. He got that chance because of a PBA Commissioner’s Exemption after earning Collegiate Player of the Year honors (with Robert Morris University-Illinois) twice and finishing fourth in the 2013 U.S. Open in his debut in professional competition.
This week’s fourth-and-final PBA League Challenge will be the T.O. Challenge where the eight PBA League Franchise players will try to match the first-ball pinfall of former NFL star receiver and Dallas Strikers owner Terrell Owens. The player who comes the closest to matching Owens’ pinfall wins this segment of the Challenge. The overall PBA League Challenge winner also will be decided. That player's designated charity will also be a winner because it will be the recipient of all money raised in an online charity auction in late January.
The final PBA Tour event in the World Series - the PBA World Championship - will air on ESPN on Dec. 29 at 1 p.m. ET. The World Championship will not use the blue oil lane conditioner, but the colored oil will return for the World Bowling Tour Men's and Women's Finals presented by PBA on Jan. 5 at 1 p.m. ET. ESPN's January coverage of the PBA will include the Round1 Japan Cup on Jan. 12 at 1 p.m. ET and the Regional Players Invitational/PBA50 Tour Finals on Jan. 19 at 3 p.m. ET. The Teen Masters Grand Championship finals will follow the RPI/PBA50 telecast on Jan. 19 at 5 p.m. ET.
This week’s fourth installment of The Bowling Center, a feature of pba.com’s Xtra Frame available on Youtube, includes a recap of last Sunday's Chameleon Championship, an entertaining segment on the player/ball-rep relationship prior to TV finals telecasts, The Drilling Room ball segment and ESPN play-by-play announcer/Xtra Frame host Mike Jakubowski interviews Dom Barrett.