MANILA, SEPTEMBER 1, 2006 (STAR) Biboy Rivera and Chester King combined for 2689 as the Philippines stood 24 pins adrift of pacesetting Finland at the start of the inaugural World Men’s Bowling Championships at the packed Homeplus Asiad Bowling Centre in Busan, South Korea yesterday.

Rivera rolled big rounds of 258, 268 and 256 to pool a six-game series of 1424 on the long oil pattern while King scored 1265, spiked by a 248 in the second frame, for RP‘s 2689 aggregate for second place in the first of three doubles squad events slated in the opening day of the championships which drew 44 countries.

The Filipino duo actually burned the lanes in the early going, posting a high 506 in the second frame only to slow down in the next four games with a 430 average.

Rivera finished with a 237 average while King had a 210 as the Philippines settled for second behind Finland’s Kimmo Lehtonen and Lasse Lintila, who teamed up for a 2713.

Finland also sizzled in the opening frame with a 510 aggregate, struggled with a 360 in the next but picked up its game with 488, 451, 502 before settling down with a 402 in the sixth game to seize control.

Malaysia’s Daniel Lim and Aaron Kong had a 2636 for third, 77 pins behind the Finnish duo while Singapore and France scored identical 2616 to share fourth place.

The United States and the Netherlands took the next two spots with 2581 and 2559, respectively, while Australia landed in eighth place with a 2557 followed by United Arab Emirates (2550) and Germany (2540) in that order.

Five sets of doubles are on tap with the last two slated to be played today. The team with the highest combined scores will win the gold medal.

Former World Cup champion Paeng Nepomuceno is teaming up with CJ Suarez for RP’s second.

Behind closed doors SPORTING CHANCE By Joaquin M. Henson The Philippine Star 09/01/2006

It wasn’t easy hammering out the joint communiqué signed by officials of the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC), Basketball Association of the Philippines (BAP) and Pilipinas Basketball (PB) in Tokyo last Monday.

The day before, the opposing parties conferred in the presence of top Federation Internationale de Basketball (FIBA) leaders in a private room at the Prince Park Tower Hotel and the three-hour discussion went nowhere.

The verdict was a stalemate at the end of the first meeting and FIBA secretary-general Patrick Baumann gave the Filipino delegates an ultimatum of one day to settle their differences.

The Sunday meeting was heated, to say the least. In his discourse, POC legal counsel Ding Tanjuatco said PB was represented by "genuine" stakeholders. Lhuillier coach Raul (Yayoy) Alcoseba of Cebu reacted sharply and blurted out, "are you saying we are fake?’’ Alcoseba, Fritz Gaston, BAP chairman Michel Lhuillier, BAP secretary-general Graham Lim and BAP president Joey Lina were on the side opposed to PB which is supported by the POC.

And while Tanjuatco spoke, Lim seemed to be making faces in his seat. Tanjuatco noticed it and dared Lim to speak out if he had something to say. Baumann quickly mediated and told Lim to keep quiet. But Lim innocently said all he wanted to do was go to the rest room.

Lim later spoke and questioned the large representation the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) was proposed to take in the merged organization. Baumann, however, came to the PBA’s rescue and said, "Why not?" No doubt, Baumann likened the PBA’s situation to the US model where the National Basketball Association has the largest representation in the American governing body because of its stature.

* * *

After the joint communiqué was submitted to FIBA, Lina made an impassioned appeal for the country’s suspension to be immediately lifted as a gift to millions of basketball-loving Filipinos.

Former FIBA secretary-general Borislav Stankovic, who still wields tremendous influence in the organization’s affairs, had proposed the conditional lifting of the suspension or until the provisions of the joint communiqué are accomplished on or before Sept. 30.

Baumann appeared to relent and said he was agreeable to lift the suspension first then restore the suspension if the provisions are not met.

But Stankovic put his foot down, telling Baumann to hold his horses and slow down. Stankovic said the proper thing to do is to set the conditional lifting because if not, FIBA would come out looking like a yo-yo in the event of a default.

FIBA-Asia secretary-general Dato Yeoh Choo Hock of Malaysia, a known Lim ally, almost begged for the Philippines to resolve the internal dispute for the sake of Southeast Asia.

"The Philippines is Southeast Asian when it comes to basketball," said Dato Yeoh. "I have no leverage in our region if the Philippines is not a contender in Southeast Asia."

During the initial three-hour discussion, the Filipinos were vociferously at odds. A witness said there was a lot of shouting and insulting words were hurled across the table.

But when the heat died down, the Filipino delegates buckled down to work and were determined to end the impasse on their own, without help from FIBA.

* * *

 For about eight hours last Monday, the group figured out a way to work together and came up with the joint communiqué in the true spirit of statesmanship.

"It was a difficult process," said a witness. "This was not a lip-service type of agreement. Both sides decided to collapse their organizations. Give credit to the BAP for that because of its long history and tradition. There is no ambiguity in the joint communiqué. In the end, everyone realized this was the last ticket, the last hope for Philippine basketball. A solution was drawn up to a domestic problem and everyone should take pride in this accomplishment because it proved despite sharp differences of opinion, Filipinos can agree for the sake of our country."

The witness said it’s not fair for detractors to paint a grim picture of the outcome of the Tokyo meetings.

"Instead of taking pride in what was accomplished, some quarters are carping about our failure to get an immediate lifting of the suspension and the fact that the PBA won’t form the national team for the Asian Games after all," said the witness. "Still, the agreement was the best result we could get and the conditional lifting is understandable. Now, it’s up to us to get our act together."

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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