Ruselle Zapanta prevailed in Class A of the Philippine Bowling Association Classified Tournament 2012, besting 10 other participants in the two-weekend competition at the Capital Bowling Center.
Zapanta secured his first Class A crown after routing Alex Castro in Game 1 of the finals, 214-150. Castro claimed the second and last finals berth and foiled an all-Zapanta championship showdown after ousting Ruselle's younger brother, Raphael, 247-185, in the semifinals.
The Top 3 finishers made it to the stepladder finals after surviving the 11-player qualifying roll-off that started on Aug. 5. Zapanta posted 200-plus pinfalls in three games (212, 219, and 217) to go with his 195, 193, and 169 for a six-game total of 1,205 pinfalls and average of 200.83. He was the lone bowler in the field to average at least 200 pinfalls in the qualifier, as the second-ranked Castro only mustered an average of 198. Castro also recorded 200-plus pinfalls in three games (205, 211, and 209) and adding his 192, 198, and 173 in three other games, the eventual runner-up collected 1,188 pinfalls.
Raphael started strong in the qualifier with his 233 and 211 in the first two games, before slowing down in the next three (183, 173, and 157) and then closing out with another 200-plus pinfall performance with his 203 in Game 6. The youngest Zapanta earned 1,160 pinfalls and averaged 193.33 to clinch the final seat to last Sunday's stepladder finals.
With his first place finish in the qualifier, Ruselle Zapanta drew a bye in the stepladder finals and left Castro and his brother to battle in the first round. Castro easily eliminated Raphael with his 62-pinfall win, but faced a daunting task of beating the older Zapanta twice to steal the championship. However, a well-rested Ruselle would not let Castro down another Zapanta bowler, as the former eased his way to the championship with a rousing 64-pinfall victory in Game 1.
Meanwhile, last year's Class A winner Robert Talavera dropped to sixth place, while runner-up and third placer Richard Leong and Raymond Zapanta fell to seventh and fifth spots, respectively.
Talavera had a six-game total of 1,127 pinfals for an average of 187.83, faltering on his bid for at least a return trip to the finals after a so-so performance in the first two games. The 2011 Class A champion logged 176 and 165 in Games 1 and 2 before recovering in the next three games with his 200, 205, and 211. However, he fell three notches short of advancing to the next round after carding only 170 in Game 6.
Raymond also struggled early in the qualifier with his 166 and 163 in the first two games. He then saved himself from a disaster after scoring 200 and more pinfalls in three of the last four games (224, 225, 163, and 200) for a total of 1,141 and average of 190.17.
Leong had the most uneventful game among last year's Top 3 finishers, as he knocked down 200-plus pinfalls only once (202 in Game 2), made only 192 in Game 1, had his lowest performance in Game 3 (155), and nailed no more than 185 pinfalls in the last three games (183, 182, and 184). Leong totaled 1,098 and averaged 183.
Other bowlers who joined the qualifiers were Percy Omechelang (1,149), Raymond Angeles (1,097), Simon Manacop (1,078), Lito Teodoro (1,012), and Raul Dumapit (871).