MANILA, Philippines – Unlike some of the high-profile sports, little known lawn bowls did produce for Team Philippines in the last Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur — not just one gold but also three silvers and two bronze medals.
With the country hosting the 30th staging of the biennial meet starting November 30 at the Philippine Arena in Bulacan, the national lawn bowlers vow to buck the odds, confident of surpassing their previous haul and helping deliver the goods in the Philippines’ drive for the overall championship.
“I am very positive that we’ll produce better results than what we did in the last SEAG,” said Ronalyn Greenlees, who with Rosita Bradborn and Hazel Jagonoy took the silver in women’s triples two years ago.
This despite the fact that the team had lost its so-called “home-court advantage” as the lawn bowls venue was changed two times before the Clark Development Corp. came to the Philippine Lawn Bowls Association’s rescue by providing the site near the Clark Friendship gate.
“We’re really at a disadvantage. We can’t practice the way we wanted to because there was no venue,” said Greenlees, citing Clark Global’s decision to pull out last June and the Malabon Property Landholdings, Inc.’s demand of charging the organizing PHISGOC of P11.3 million for a six-day use of the venue.
“But God is watching us. We thank CDC for helping us and we will prove them all wrong,” added Greenlees, who also won the bronze in the fours in the World Outdoors Bowls Championship in New Zealand in 2016 with Jagonoy, Bradborn and Sonia Bruce.
The 48-year-old Camarines Sur native also teamed up with Homer Mercado to bag the silver medal in the mixed pair in last year’s Asian Lawn Bowls Championships in Terengganu, Malaysia.
While the team of Emmanuel Portacio, Robert Curte Guarin, Leoncio Carreon Jr. and Ronald Lising scrambled in a wild finale and nipped Malaysia, 16-14, to snare the men’s fours gold in the last SEAG, Greenlees believes the four will dominate when the event is played December 1-4 in Clark, Pampanga.
“They practice a lot together, so there’s a big chance for them to win again,” added Greenlees, who picks the Malaysians and the Thais as the likely threats to their gold medal drive in the sport raring and ready to make it to the mainstream.
Other members of the squad are Angelo Morales and Rodel Labayo (men’s pairs), Christopher Dagpin, Mercado and Elmer Abatayo (triples), Greenlees and Nenita Tabiano (ladies pairs), Ainie Knight, Asuncion Bruce and Nancy Toyco (triples) and Bradbord, Jagonoy, Marisa Baronda and Sharon Hauters (fours)
Like its variations in boccie and petanque, lawn bowls, whose objective is to roll slightly asymmetrical and (unevenly weighed) balls as close as possible to a smaller (white) ball called the jack on a bowling green, can be played indoor or outdoor with competitions in singles, pairs, triples and four-man.
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