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24th Malta Open Championships
Slow Motion Video
Photos: PBA. Click images to enlarge
Barnes and Paul (pictured right and above) beat the team of Boston Red Sox All-Star outfielder Mookie Betts and 18-time Tour winner Tommy Jones (left), 187-179, in the eighth edition of the event which benefits the Chris Paul Family Foundation. The pro/celebrity competition aired Friday night on ESPN.
In a back and forth alternate-frame match, Barnes (right) converted a crucial 2-4-10 split in the eighth frame to maintain a four-pin lead. In the ninth, the Paul/Barnes team lost the lead when Paul left the 3-9 and failed to make the spare. That left the door open for Betts who converted a spare in the ninth to regain a five-pin lead heading into the 10th.
“That made me nervous,” Paul (left) said about the championship match. “When I missed that spare in the ninth frame I knew that was big; it gave the momentum back to them. I thought that might have ended it right there but when Chris (Barnes) said we still had a chance, I had confidence he could do it.”
Jones made a spare and finished with a seven-count on his final ball in his team’s 10th frame, giving Barnes an opportunity to win the match with a double. Barnes took advantage by striking out in his 10th frame to seal the victory.
“That match had everything you could imagine,” Barnes said. “Ups and downs, strikes, spares, opens, splits, you name it. Whenever you bowl in a doubles or team format you don’t want to let the other players down. I felt like we had an opportunity. Just like every situation where I need to strike, I just had to tell myself to breathe.”
For Paul (left, interviewed by PBA sideline reporter and former Miss USA, Kimberly Pressler) it was his third win after winning in 2010 and 2011 with Jason Belmonte as his partner. It was Barnes’ second title after winning with television personality Chris Hardwick in 2013.
“I’ve wanted to bowl in this for a long time and it was everything I expected it to be,” said Betts. “It was a lot of fun. I’m a little disappointed, but you have to hand it to them. They (Paul and Barnes) did what they needed to do to win.”
The finals began with Jones and Betts beating the team of Grammy-nominated DJ Khaled and 2016 PBA Player of the Year EJ Tackett (left), 172-147.
Preceding the semifinal match was the Celebrity All-Star Clash that also included Paul’s Clippers teammates Austin Rivers and Luc Mbah a Moute as well as Black-ish star Miles Brown and actor JT Jackson.
Betts (left) dominated the best-ball competition, where the lowest count on a single shot was eliminated by throwing six consecutive strikes. He outlasted the nine-player field by beating Jackson who left a seven count in the final frame.
Lucky Strike LA Live in Los Angeles, Calif., United States (Jan. 17, 2017); aired on ESPN on Friday, Feb. 17, 2017
Alternate Frame Doubles Format Stepladder Finals:
Match One: Tommy Jones/Mookie Betts def. EJ Tackett/DJ Khaled, 172-147
Match Two: Jones/Betts def. Sean Rash/CJ Anderson, 201-183
Semifinal: Jones/Betts def. Pete Weber/Terrell Owens, 177-153
Championship: Chris Barnes/Chris Paul def. Jones/Betts, 187-179
2017 – Chris Barnes/Chris Paul
2016 – Pete Weber/Terrell Owens
2015 – Ronnie Russell/French Montana
2013 – Chris Barnes/Chris Hardwick
2012 – Pete Weber/Jerry Ferrara/Blake Griffin
2011 – Jason Belmonte/Chris Paul
2010 – Jason Belmonte/Chris Paul
2009 – Jason Couch/LeBron James
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