This time there was no upset.
M.J. Aldan finally lived up to expectations after beating Ryan Batac in the finals of the 2012 season-ending Saipan Bowling Association/Fiji Water Prince of the Lanes last Sunday at the Capital Bowling Center.
Last weekend's competition was Aldan's fourth straight time to make it to the stepladder finals of the youth tournament, but the victory was only his first. In 2009, he finished only third behind Raphael Zapanta and Leeanne Yarobwemal. In 2010 and 2011, he was heavily favored to take the titles after dominating the monthly roll-offs, however he fell to the upset axe of Marion McKenzie and newcomer John Taisacan.
In the 2012 finale last Sunday, Aldan flirted with another runner-up finish when he lost Game 1 of the finals, 143-179, before recovering in the deciding Game 2 with a 183-107 victory. Aldan took the 2012 title with a 40-pinfall win over Batac, 326-286.
The newly crowned champion earned a twice-to-beat advantage in the finals after topping the preliminary roll-off. Aldan collected 961 pinfalls in six games to finish way ahead of Batac (768) and Marcel McKenzie (717). Aldan had his best showing in Game 4 with 191 pinfalls and adding his 137, 146, 162, 180, and 145 in the five other games, he posted an average of 160.17 pinfalls. Batac averaged 128 (133, 147, 125, 123, 107, and 133), while McKenzie logged 119.50 (97, 95, 134, 117, 145, and 129).
Batac and McKenzie went on to duel for the second and last finals seat with the former winning the playoff game, 140-131, to set up a championship date with Aldan. Batac then kept his momentum in Game 1 of the finals, but failed to complete the upset when Aldan regained his bearings in the knockout game.
With Aldan avoiding another upset, he joined Jeremy Williams (2006), Jamie Vales (2007), Zack Cruz (2008), Raphael Zapanta (2009), Marion McKenzie (2010), and Taisacan (2011) in the elite circle of Prince/Princes of the Lanes champions.
Meanwhile, results of the Queen of the Lanes will be reported in Saipan Tribune's Thursday issue, while the King of the Lanes contest will take place this Sunday, also at the Capital Bowling Center.
Twenty bowlers qualified for the men's season-ending roll-off, including defending champion Simon Manacop. Joining the 2011 champion on the list are Raymond Angeles, Robert Talavera, Raphael Zapanta, Percy Omechelang, Raymond Zapanta , Raul Dumapit Ben Aizon, Edward Baluyan, Ronald Batac, Benjie Cruz, Jerry Kaneshi, Jae Yong Jim, Paul Pangelinan, Jorge Soledad, Joe Sto. Domingo, Lito Teodoro, Tony Yarobwemal, and Ruselle Zapanta.
The qualifiers will compete in a nine-game roll-off to determine the Top 3 bowlers who will advance to the stepladder finals. Entry fee is $45 and registration and start times are set for 1:30 and 2pm, respectively. (Saipan Tribune)