MANILA, September 18, 2003 (STAR) The Philippines’ Cecilia Yap, Liza del Rosario and Liza Clutario dished out a pair of record-breaking performances, including a 3797 output to oust the fancied England team from pole position and bag the gold medal in the women’s trios of the 15th World Tenpin Bowling Championships in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Tuesday.

A record score of 2062 over the final three games capped one of the biggest comebacks in the history of bowling as the Filipinas battled back from 17th place to snatch the crown and give Asia its first-ever gold medal in the championships.

Yap, 27, led the trio’s romp with 1296 on lines of 192, 206, 182, 223, 225 and 268 for a 216 average. Del Rosario, the Asian Championships double gold medallist, shot 1278 on lines of 185, 190, 212, 247, 256 and 188 to average 213. Clutario added 1223 on lines of 158, 189, 221, 212, 216 and 227 for a 204 average.

All three mainstays of the Philippine national team are silver medallists in the 2002 Busan Asian Games.

"It was an agonizing moment, a mental torture," said Del Rosario after they waited for the rest of the field to contest the final squad. "We’re so proud to have come up from 17th after the first three games to take the gold medal."

"It’s a gold medal after 20 years," said Danny Santos, secretary-general of the Philippine Bowling Congress. "I’m very proud of them."

The team has been together since the early nineties, coming up through the Philippine youth program. Del Rosario is the current Malaysia Open champion and Yap won that title in 2001.

Del Rosario hit 1278, Clutario 1223 and Yap 1296, all within 73 pins over six games.

"We played really well because we were not only focused but also relaxed. We were too anxious last night, and that showed in our scores. Tonight we just had fun," said the three.

The victory came a week after PBC president Steve Hontiveros was elected president of the Federation Internationale des Quillers (FIQ), the highest governing body of bowling and the recognized organization of the Olympics.

En route to their golden performance, the trio shattered two world records. They shattered the three-game total and the overall total previously held by Korea.

The RP men’s team of Biboy Rivera, Chester King and Paulo Valdez earlier settled for fourth place after leading the event in the first day.

The Filipinos were currently competing in the team event. It will be the last event before the field is cut to 16 men and 16 women for the masters finals.

Three Filipinas are so far in contention to make the cut for the masters going into the last six games.

Clutario is currently in fourth with an aggregate total of 3821 for 212 average. She is the highest-ranked Asian.

Yap is in fifth place with a total of 3798 ( 211 average and Del Rosario ninth with 3709 (206 average).

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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