A five-man team from Saipan Bowling Association will be competing in the 26th Asian Intercity Bowling Championships being hosted in Georgetown, in Penang, Malaysia.
The squad is composed of brothers Ruselle and Raymond Zapanta, Ariel Dumapit, Bernard Paraiso, and perfect-gamer Robert Talavera. SBA secretary/treasurer Ross Zapanta is the team manager.
The Saipan bowlers are entered in the singles, doubles, masters, and team competitions of the annual event that started yesterday and will run until Oct. 24. They left the island last Wednesday morning for a connecting flight in Manila and arrived in the host city yesterday afternoon.
The SBA delegates are expected to practice at the Premium Lanes Penang today, as actual action in the Asian Intercity will not kick off until tomorrow. The Saipan bowlers are also joining tonight's opening ceremony in the company of the representatives of more than 100 Asian Intercity-members.
After tonight's opener, the SBA bets will compete in the singles event tomorrow, while the doubles contest is set for Sunday. Block 1 and 2 entries in team events will then play on Monday and Tuesday, while the masters event is set for Wednesday.
In this weekend's Asian Intercity, the five Saipan keglers are hoping to surpass SBA's performance in the same competition held in Singapore last year.
Ruselle Zapanta was SBA's top finisher in the Singapore tournament, placing fourth out of 66 bowlers in the men's singles event. He missed the third place medal by only five pinfalls, as he collected 1,279 pinfalls against the 1,284 of Macau's Tam Tsz Sun. However, Ruselle's feat was the best by any Saipan bowler since SBA joined the Asian Intercity in Busan, Korea in 2001.
Raymond also joined the men's singles along with their youngest brother, Raphael, and they were ranked No. 17 and No. 31, respectively. The Zapanta siblings then entered the men's all events with Raymond making it into the next round after finishing at No. 15 in the 66-bowler field and barging into the 16-player cut for the Men's Masters Finals.