December 11, 2009 19:00
PBA Hall of Famer Carmen Salvino has seen ‘em all since joining the organization as a charter member back in 1958. Now 76 and a senior advisor to the PBA as well as a mentor to its younger players, we asked Carmen to analyze what’s going to happen during Sunday’s finals of the 2009 PBA World Championship. The show will air live on ESPN at 1 p.m. Eastern.
Here are Carmen’s predictions for Sunday’s showdown:
SEMIFINAL MATCH NO. 1
Rhino Page, Wesley Chapel, Fla., vs. Wes Malott, Pflugerville, Texas
“Rhino beat Malott in Las Vegas in the Tournament of Champions last year. He has a lot of confidence bowling against Wes, even though Wes is a great bowler and became Player of the Year. But I think Wes Malott wants some revenge. He wanted to win that Tournament of Champions, because it would have locked him as Player of the Year. Rhino’s going to shoot around 240, but it isn’t going to be enough.
”As far as Malott is concerned, there’s no doubt he has become a great bowler. He has great mental control of his game, as well as his obvious physical strength. You don’t want a guy to beat you too often because, first, your opponent gets too much confidence and, secondly, you start to think you can’t beat the guy.
“This is going to be a key match, psychologically, for Malott. No bowler wants someone to get your number, so Malott is going to stop that this week.
“Score: Malott’s going to win, 257-244.”
SEMIFINAL MATCH NO. 2
Tom Smallwood, Saginaw, Mich., vs. Bill O’Neill, Southampton, Pa.
“Smallwood doesn’t have the experience. Going for your first title is always the most difficult. Bowling in the tournament and bowling on TV are two different animals. You need a TV rhythm and Smallwood doesn’t have that yet. He probably found out how difficult it is to get TV timing in his first show in Detroit. On TV you start and stop, and it’s very difficult if you aren’t used to it. I don’t pick him to win.
“O’Neill has been on TV many times and he saw how difficult it is to get a win. The only edge he has is that he’s been on TV more often and he knows what it takes to win. I think that gives him the edge in this match.
“Score: I’ll go with O’Neill to beat Smallwood, 237-210.”
“The psychology will change. O’Neill knows how good Malott has been and he’s bowling against a guy who has become bowler of the year. He’s got to be thinking, how am I going to beat this big bear? Malott, after getting past Rhino, is going to have a lot of confidence. If he’s in a position to win a title, you’ve got to go with Malott.
“O’Neill and Malott are both going to bowl their own game, but Malott’s got more carrying power. I think that’s going to be the difference.
“Score: Malott wins 247-227.”
There you have it, PBA fans. Your new PBA World Champion, according to Carmen Salvino, will be Wes Malott.
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