Merwin Tan ends PH’s 11-year gold medal drought in bowling

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 16) – The Philippines ended its 11-year gold medal drought in bowling in the Southeast Asian Games.

Merwin Tan concluded the Filipino bowlers’ wait for the elusive gold medal after he ruled the 31st SEA Games men’s singles bowling competition on Monday at the Hanoi Royal City in Vietnam.

"I am so happy and shocked to win the gold for the Philppines. For the whole game, I tried to maintain my focus and execution and maximizing every frame," Tan said after the game.

Tan garnered 1,292 pinfalls to win the gold medal by a slim margin against silver medalist Yannaphon Larpapharat of Thailand, who got 1,286 pinfalls. Indonesia’s Ryan Leonard Lalisang won the bronze medal with 1,221 pinfalls.

“Being a southpaw, Merwin had an advantage going into the last few games because the lanes were more difficult for right-handers,” national team head coach Biboy Rivera said.

Ivan Dominic Malig, the other Filipino kegler in the competition, finished in 11th place out of the 12 competing bowlers with 1,087 pinfalls.

Frederick Ong was the last Filipino gold medalist in the SEA Games bowling tournament, when he ruled the same event in 2011 in Indonesia. Jeremy Posadas also took home the silver medal that year.

Meanwhile, Alexis Sy delivered a silver medal finish in the women's singles event after notching 1,320 pinfalls.

Singapore won the gold and bronze medals from Shi Hua Cherie Tan (1,442 pinfalls) and Hui Fen New (1,319 pinfalls), respectively.