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24th Malta Open Championships
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Pictured above from left: 2017 DHC PBA Japan Invitational champion EJ Tackett and DHCs Koji Yamamoto.
The first event of the 2018 Go Bowling! PBA Tour season will be covered from start to finish, live on PBA’s Xtra Frame online bowling channel. The winner will earn US$45,000 and a PBA Tour title if he/she is a PBA member.
PBA players in the field, in addition to Tackett (l.) and Belmonte (r.), will be Jesper Svensson, Marshall Kent, Rhino Page, Ryan Ciminelli, Anthony Simonsen, Sean Rash, Yannaphon Larpapharat, Kyle Troup, Dom Barrett, Francois Lavoie, Parker Bohn III, Chris Barnes and Liz Johnson.
The field also will include one Korean PBA player, invited by tournament sponsor DHC, and 32 Japanese bowlers.
The 2018 tournament will feature a new format, with all 48 players bowling two six-game qualifying rounds on Saturday, Jan. 27 to cut the field to the top 16 for 16 games of head-to-head match play on Sunday.
Xtra Frame coverage of the two qualifying rounds will begin at 7:30 p.m. Friday and 12:20 a.m. EST on Saturday. Head-to-head match play coverage begins at 6:20 and 10:40 p.m. EST Saturday. The top five after 28 games will advance to the stepladder finals on Sunday beginning at 3:30 a.m. EST Sunday.
Six teams have now declared their protected players for the 2018 PBA League season after L.A. X manager Andrew Cain and NYC WTT Kingpins manager Carolyn Dorin-Ballard disclosed their selections earlier this week. Each PBAL manager is allowed to retain up to three players from the team’s 2017 roster for the 2018 season.
L.A. X will retain reigning PBA Player of the Year Jason Belmonte, England’s Stuart Williams and Sweden’s Martin Larsen. Dorin-Ballard’s roster will return with original team member Pete Weber, Marshall Kent and Australia’s Sam Cooley.
The last two managers to protect players from their 2017 rosters will be Motown Muscle manager Del Ballard Jr. and Brooklyn Styles manager Johnny Petraglia. Their selections will be announced next week.
Players previously retained by their respective teams include the following:
Dallas Strikers: Player-manager Norm Duke, Tommy Jones, Bill O’Neill
Portland Lumberjacks: Ryan Ciminelli, Wes Malott, Kyle Troup
Silver Lake Atom Splitters: Chris Barnes, Jesper Svensson, Tom Daugherty
Philadelphia Hitmen: Dom Barrett, Tom Smallwood, Ronnie Russell
The PBA League draft will take place on Saturday, Feb. 17 at 10:30 a.m. at Woodland Bowl in Indianapolis when managers will fill any open spots on their rosters. The draft will be live streamed on Xtra Frame.
The draft order will be reverse order of finish from last year, beginning with No. 8 Brooklyn followed by Motown, NYC, LA, Philadelphia, Silver Lake, Portland and Dallas. Players eligible to be drafted will consist of the top 75 PBA players on the National Tour/WBT earnings list for 2017 plus 2018 events through the PBA Tournament of Champions which ends Feb. 11.
PBA fans have narrowed the field of challengers they’d like to see Wes Malott face in his next King of Bowling challenge match to these four players: Chris Barnes, Jason Belmonte, Norm Duke or Pete Weber.
Malott, who has successfully retained his PBA King of Bowling crown since 2009 – albeit with an interlude since the original series took place – will take on his newest challenger on Tuesday, Feb. 6, at AMF Riviera Lanes in Fairlawn, Ohio, in conjunction with PBA Tournament of Champions’ return to the iconic bowling center. Based on fan voting on pba.com and Twitter between now and Friday at 8 p.m. EST.
To recap Malott’s seven consecutive title defenses, he defeated Chris Barnes in the first King of Bowling event in 2009 (pictured above) at Kegel Training Center in Lake Wales, Fla., 268-214, in the one-game finale.
Malott subsequently won KOB matches against Patrick Allen, Walter Ray Williams Jr., Rhino Page and Parker Bohn III before the KOB special event went into hiatus.
When it returned in April 2017, Malott rolled games of 238, 256 and 227 for a 721 series at Bayside Bowl in Portland, Maine, to defeat EJ Tackett and Jason Belmonte, who recorded 664 and 640 series, respectively, in a three-game total pinfall revival of the KOB special event.
Malott made it seven in a row when he turned back Tommy Jones in a best-of-three-game match at FireLake Bowling Center in Shawnee, Okla., in late June 2017, 200-278, 258-238, 212-204.
Will PBA fans vote for a re-match with Barnes or Belmonte? Or will they vote to see if Malott can add Duke or PDW to his list of victims? We’ll find out on Monday, Jan. 29.
Prior to the telecast of the 2018 State Farm CP3 PBA Celebrity Invitational presented by GoBowling.com, on ESPN on Super Bowl Sunday at 2 p.m. EST, PBA’s YouTube channel is posting a series of red carpet interviews from the special event.
Interviews on tap include: Terrell Owens, Jan. 29; Pete Weber, Jan. 30; Oscar Nunez, Jan. 31; Mookie Betts, Feb. 2 and Bill O’Neill, Feb. 3.
Already available on YouTube are interviews with tournament host Chris Paul (pictured with PBA CEO and Commissioner, Tom Clark, left); Norm Duke; Sean Rash; James Harden; EJ Tackett and DJ Archer.
To view all of the CP3 red carpet interviews, or any of dozens of other PBA video clips, click here.
Newly-elected PBA Hall of Famer Chris Barnes will provide insight into his victory in the 2015 DHC PBA Japan Invitational (pictured above) as part of the PBA’s ongoing series of PBA Player’s Perspective interviews. Barnes will weigh in on his 18th career title beginning today in the newest edition of PBA Player’s Perspective on Xtra Frame.
The Xtra Frame Player’s Perspective series presents a new inside look at PBA competition every Thursday, followed a week later by availability of the exclusive interview on PBA’s YouTube channel.
Recent Perspective’s posted on Xtra Frame and YouTube include Pete Weber re-living his emotional victory in the 2012 U.S. Open and Rhino Page‘s insights into his personal breakthrough in winning the 2017 Xtra Frame Kenn-Feld Group Classic in Clearwater, Ohio.
Additional perspectives will be announced in the coming weeks.
Jeff Zaffino and partner Matt White (pictured above, l-r), both of Warren, Pa., defeated Mike Llaneza of Columbus, Ohio and Zeke Bayt of Westerville, Ohio, 2-1, in a best-of-three-game title match to successfully defend their PBA/PBA50 Don Vay Memorial Central Doubles Classic title, presented by Columbia 300, at Legend Lanes in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, Sunday.
The title in the PBA Regional program’s first event of 2018 was Zaffino’s 28th and White’s second. They also split a $4,000 first prize. Zaffino and White won the 2017 event when they defeated PBA Hall of Famer Parker Bohn III of Jackson, N.J. and Patrick Allen of South Salem, N.Y., 2-0, in the title match.
In this year’s event, Zaffino and White downed Neil Kassel of Beavercreek, Ohio, and Matt Staninger of Highland, Ind., 2-1, while Llaneza and Bayt blanked Dale Csuhta of Wadsworth, Ohio and Josh Conner of Columbus, 2-0, in the best-of-three semifinal round to set up the championship match.
The PBA South Region returns to action in February with the PBA and PBA50 Break Point Alley Challenge events, both open to players who have not won a PBA title. Break Point Alley in Tavares, Fla., will host the doubleheader over the Feb. 9-11 weekend.
The PBA South Region’s second weekend of competition includes the PBA50 Dave Edwards Toyota Spartanburg South Open at Paradise Lanes in Spartanburg, S.C., over the Feb. 16-18 weekend.
For complete PBA Regional schedules, rules and entry information, click here to find the event(s) in your area.
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