Castillo, Machuga Take Top Spot

by PBA Editor January 20, 2008 19:00
Dino Castillo will lean on a bowler who has already tasted victory on the Denny’s PBA Tour to help him earn his first career title.

Castillo led Monday’s Round of 64 in the PBA Exempt Doubles Classic with a 3,326 14-game pinfall and will team up with Denny’s PBA Tour champion Mike Machuga, who finished second with 3,322, for match play Tuesday at Red Rock Lanes.

This week’s tournament marks the first doubles event on the Denny’s PBA Tour since 2001. The top 32 advanced to match play from Monday’s Round of 64 and will be teamed up based on qualifying position.

Castillo used a 300 game in the 10th game of the day to propel him to the lead. He averaged 240.43 over the final seven games.

“Today was a very, very good day. I had a good reaction with my ball. I used an Ebonite Gamebreaker early and then I actually used a different Gamebreaker later in the day,” Castillo (Carrollton, Texas) said. “I had a nice motion and kept it simple. I didn’t do anything too crazy and made the right moves. They were small moves but they were the right ones. I’m just trying to keep a calm head and keep the ball rolling.”

Castillo teams up with Machuga, who captured his lone Denny’s PBA Tour title in 2005. Machuga, who led the first seven-game block, also fired a 300 game in the second block with his perfect game coming in game nine.

“I’m pretty excited. It’s something different and new and I’m excited to bowl with Choogs,” Castillo said of Machuga (Erie, Pa.). “He’s an unbelievable bowler. He’s proven that time and time again, and I’m looking forward to getting a chance to bowl with him. He’ll be the anchor. I have 100 percent confidence in him throwing it in the clutch when we need it.”

Finishing third and fourth, respectively, and forming the No. 2 team for match play was Danny Wiseman (Baltimore) and Michael Fagan (Patchogue, N.Y.). Wiseman owns 11 Denny’s PBA Tour titles while Fagan will be looking for his first.

Steve Jaros (Yorkville, Ill.) and Stevie Weber (Chalmette, La.) finished fifth and sixth and form the No. 3 team while Mika Koivuniemi and Walter Ray Williams Jr. finished seventh and eighth and team up for a formidable duo at the No. 4 spot. Koivuniemi was the 2003-04 PBA Player of the Year and owns eight career titles while Williams is the Tour’s all-time titles leader with 44 and currently leads the 2007-08 PBA Player of the Year race.

Two of the hottest bowlers on Tour form the No. 5 team as eight-time champion Chris Barnes finished ninth and three-time winner Wes Malott finished 10th. Malott owns one title this season while Barnes has made a Tour-high tying five championship round appearances.

The teams will begin round robin match play Tuesday at 10 a.m. PST with the first eight-game block, followed by a second eight-game block at 5 p.m. The top four teams will advance to Sunday’s final round, which will air tape-delayed on ESPN Sunday, Feb. 3 at 2 p.m. EST.
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