By REYNALD MAGALLON
The Philippine bowling team turned out to be the saving grace for Team Philippines early Thursday with its overpowering performance in the men’s Team of Four event in the 31st Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi, Vietnam.
Still on cloud nine following his gold medal-winning performance in the singles event, Merwin Tan did a great job in inspiring his teammates Christian Dychangco, Ivan Malig and Patrick Neil Niqui to give it their all.
They did not disappoint.
The quartet rolled 5275 pinfalls, way ahead of silver and bronze medalists Malaysia and Singapore which only had 5163 and 4964 pinfalls, respectively, at the Royal City Hanoi Bowling Lanes.
The country is now assured of its finest showing in the sport with its second gold.
Tan stamped his class in the tournament after hitting 1411 pinfalls on a 237.5 average – an individual-best in the six team field.
Dychangco provided solid support with 1377 pinfalls on a 229.50 average, including a tournament-high 278 in the sixth and final game.
Malig had his fair share with 1285 pinfalls on an average of 214.17 while Nuqui added 1202 on 200.33 as the Filipinos started out strong in the first frame and kept their hold of the lead in the next five frames to emerge victorious in the contest.
Women’s silver medalist Alexis Sy will lead the country’s quest for a double gold team win in the distaff side later Thursday.