Rusty Musca won the 2013 PBA Budweiser Bowler of the Year Tournament, ending a four-year drought in the annual competition.
Musca, who got his first PBA Bowler of the Year plum in 2009, was on target all throughout the tournament last month, topping the three-game qualifier, ruling the nine-game elimination, and prevailing in the stepladder finals.
The 40-year-old bowler had to go through the qualifying roll off, as he failed to win in the 12 monthly tournaments. Only the Bowlers of the Month gained outright entry to the season-ending competition, while the remaining PBA members (including female keglers) fought for the last 12 tickets. Seventeen competed in the qualifier with Musca leading the field with his 626 pinfalls. He was consistent in the qualifier, scoring 200-plus pinfalls in all three games (204, 217, 205) for a 17-pinfall lead over second qualifier Richard Leong (609). Also qualifying and joining Musca and Leong in the nine-game elimination were Raphael Zapanta (568), Lito Teodoro (558), Ramir De Leon (554), Roger De Guzman (545), Ron Cal (531), Tito Corpuz (528), Ariel Dumapit (507), Diane Chong (502), Jorge Soledad (501), and Ronald Batac (498).
In the second phase of the tournament, Musca picked up where he left off, topping the 24-player field with his 1,773 pinfalls. Actually, Musca had a roller-coaster performance in the first four games (157, 190, 183, and 157), but finished strong in the last five (193, 246, 223, 190, and 234) to secure the first ticket to the stepladder round and gain the automatic finals berth.
Four other bowlers made it to the stepladder finals. The list includes Raymond Zapanta (1,764), Robert Talavera (1,745), Ruselle Zapanta (1,710), and Paul Pangelinan (1,694). Raymond Zapanta gained a bye in the first round of the stepladder finals after placing second to Musca, while the No. 3 to 5 finishers slugged it out for the right to face the former in the semifinals.
Talavera went on to survive the first round, logging 173 pinfalls against the 168 and 154 of Pangelinan and Ruselle Zapanta, respectively. Talavera, who last won the annual award in 2010, moved closer to regaining the coveted plum after eliminating Raymond Zapanta in the semifinals, 220-179. However, last month’s competition truly belonged to Musca, who ended Talavera’s streak with a tough 189-186 victory in Game 1 of the finals. Musca, who earned twice-to-beat advantage in the finals for topping the nine-game elimination round, needed to beat Talavera only once and did so to bag his second PBA Bowler of the Year crown.
Musca, Talavera, and Raymond Zapanta received cash prizes and trophies for their feats during the tournament’s awards ceremony last Saturday at the Saipan Bowling Center. Also getting cash prizes for making it to the No. 4 to 8 spot were Pangelinan, Ruselle Zapanta, last year’s champion Percy Omechelang, Raphael Zapanta, and Dumapit.