TEGUCIGALPA, HONDURAS, OCTOBER 7, 2003 (STAR) By Joey Villar - Newly-crowned World Cup champion Christian Jan (CJ) Suarez and Jojo Canare will be accorded a hero’s welcome when the two arrive tomorrow morning at the Centennial Terminal of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport from a successful stint in the just-concluded AMF world event in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

Suarez, who beat Dutch champion Marcel van den Bosch in the final, and Canare, fourth placer on the distaff side, are scheduled to arrive at 6 a.m. aboard a Philippine Airlines flight via San Francisco and will be met by top sports officials headed by Steve Hontiveros, president of the international bowling federation (FIQ).

Suarez, whose victory made him a chief contender for the PSA Athlete of the Year award, and Canare will be arriving with CJ’s father, Teody Suarez, who acted as his personal coach in the Honduras joust.

An early morning motorcade will be held upon their arrival, bringing the two bowlers from the airport to the Bowling Inn on Taft Avenue, the venue for the RP qualifier of the World Cup.

A courtesy call on the President is also being worked out by top sports officials probably upon the completion of Mrs. Arroyo’s trip to Bali, Indonesia.

"CJ (Suarez) only reminds us that Filipinos can be among the best in the world whether in sports or other fields in life," said Philippine Olympic Committee president Celso Dayrit.

"Given the proper attitude and discipline, sufficient support and God’s grace, Filipinos can prove to be a real champion," he added.

Suarez’s feat made him the fourth Filipino to win in the event, the first three being bowling legend Paeng Nepomuceno, Lita dela Rosa and Bong Coo.

Nepomuceno won the event a record four times in Tehran, Iran in 1976, Jakarta, Indonesia in 1980, Lemans, France in 1992 and Belfast, Northern Ireland in 1996 while Dela Rosa and Coo won it in 1978 in Bogota, Colombia and 1979 in Bangkok, Thailand, respectively.

"CJ’s victory in the men’s division and Jojo’s placing fourth in the women’s division extend the long tradition of Filipino triumphs in the most prestigious of individual bowling tournaments," said Jose Puyat, chairman of Puyat Sports.

" The Puyat Sports Group, organizer since 1967 of the annual local participation of the AMF Bowling World Cup, congratulates CJ and Jojo and pledges to continue encouraging bowlers and billiards players whose skill, spirit and sportsmanship win friends and accolades for our country," said Puyat.

Also expected to welcome the national bowlers are Gilbert Gavino, general manager of the Coronado Lanes which bankrolled their trip to Honduras and members of their respective families.

"Our sacrifices and hard work have paid off and we thank the Lord for it. We’re very happy for CJ and Jojo and with their impressive performances we hope bowling will get the support it richly deserved from the private and government sectors," said Mrs. Rose Suarez, mother of CJ.

Suarez’s victory sustained the stirring run of triumphs the local bowlers have enjoyed this year in the international fronts. The lady bowlers — Liza Clutario, Liza del Rosario and Ces Yap — won Asia’s first gold medal in the World Tenpin Championship in Kuala Lumpur last month where Clutario also won the silver in the masters and bronze in all events.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

All rights reserved