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The stepladder finals for this Sunday’s PBA Viper Championship from the South Point Hotel and Casino features two PBA Players of the Year and two other players hoping to add another PBA title to their resumes.
In the opening match of the second “animal pattern lane condition” Tour event of the season, two-time Player of the Year Mika Koivuniemi of Finland will bowl against four-time PBA Tour titlist Mike Fagan of Dallas.
Fagan is coming off a Player-of-the-Year-contending season in 2011-12 in which he won his first career major (USBC Masters) and also collected a win in the Brunswick Euro Challenge. He also made telecasts in three other majors including a second-place finish to Pete Weber in the U.S. Open.
After a 2010-11 season where he made the TV finals in all four majors, won the 2011 PBA Tournament of Champions and earned Player of the Year honors, Koivuniemi is hoping to rebound from a 2011-12 season in which he made only one TV appearance.
The winner of the opening match will then advance to meet five-time Tour winner and reigning Player of the Year Sean Rash of Montgomery, Ill.
Rash did just about everything at the 2011 World Series of Bowling except win a title. He made the TV finals in all four animal pattern events, the World Championship and Mark Roth/Marshall Holman Doubles event. However, his three second-place finishes in the WSOB along with a win in the season-ending Tournament of Champions contributed to his winning his first PBA Player of the Year title.
The winner of the semifinal will take on no. 1 seed Brad Angelo of Lockport, N.Y., who hopes to break a four-year winless streak that dates back to 2008 when he won the Viper Championship for his only Tour title.
The next three consecutive Sundays after the Viper telecast will feature World Series of Bowling finals with all 90-minute programs airing at 1 p.m. ET. The Chameleon Championship will air on Dec. 30, the Bowlers Journal Scorpion Championship on Jan. 6, and the PBA World Championship on Jan. 13.
Each ESPN telecast will be preceded by a special pre-game show on PBA’s online bowling channel, Xtra Frame, and each will feature a post-game show on Xtra Frame with an interview with the tournament winner.
Three easy steps to enhance your PBA telecast experience:
1) Tune into pba.com’s Xtra Frame for free interviews with the finalists as they give their insight into strategy and equipment selection. All preview shows on Xtra Frame are available the Monday before each Sunday ESPN telecast at no cost.
2) Watch the Viper Championship ESPN finals on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET.
3) Tune into the post-event show at Sunday 2:30 p.m. ET. Xtra Frame’s post-tournament show interviews the winning player and provides in-depth ball rep analysis of the winner’s equipment selection and ball preparation.
Bowling fans can get additional Tour coverage and provide their feedback on PBA Tour telecasts through PBA’s social networking platforms on Facebook and Twitter