ALLEN PARK, Mich. – L.A. X, a team of Professional Bowlers Association stars owned by Los Angeles Clippers all-star guard Chris Paul, struck on seven of its first eight shots to build an insurmountable lead over the top qualifiers, Terrell Owens’ Dallas Strikers, to win the PBA League Anthony round, 257-214, but it wasn’t enough to earn the team a berth in the PBA League Elias Cup finals.
L.A. X made its ESPN debut in the fifth and final qualifying round of PBA League competition, but missed the Elias Cup finals by two points. The Anthony team round aired Sunday on ESPN.
“It was a game of near misses for us all week,” L.A. X franchise player Jason Belmonte said. “We felt like there was always one game that seemed to get away from us, even in qualifying. The same thing was happening to us in the Clash eliminator rounds.
“I’m always the optimist, so I figured if we got on the main show, we’d take it and today we did. The guys bowled awesome. I’m really proud of them,” he added. “We moved up to fifth in the Elias Cup standings, but we still missed the finals. It was another near miss.”
L.A. X advanced to the Anthony round finals with a 207-206 victory over Chris Hardwick’s Silver Lake Atom Splitters. After L.A. X’s Dave Wodka missed a 10 pin in the eighth frame to give Silver Lake a 10-pin lead, Belmonte struck in the ninth and anchor Parker Bohn III threw three strikes in the 10th frame to put L.A. X back in front. Needing three strikes in his 10th frame to win by one pin, Silver Lake’s Chris Barnes threw two strikes, but left the 4-7 standing on his final shot. The Atom Splitters needed to win the Anthony round to advance to the Elias Cup finals by two points over the Dallas Strikers.
In the opening team match, Silver Lake was nearly perfect in running away with a 279-215 victory over Jerome Bettis’ Motown Muscle. The only flaw in Silver Lake’s 11-strike performance was a 10 pin left by Dom Barrett in the fourth frame, which he converted.
The New York City WTT KingPins, owned by women’s sports legend Billie Jean King, earned the top stepladder berth for the PBA League Elias Cup finals by winning two qualifying rounds during the PBA Detroit Winter Swing and compiling 45 points to out-distance Jerome Bettis’ Motown Muscle by seven points. The BROOKLYN STyLES, owned by actor Jesse Williams, captured the No. 3 berth in the Elias Cup finals thanks to their win in the opening round. The STyLES will meet the Dallas Strikers in the Elias Cup opening match. Dallas claimed the final berth in the finals thanks to its second-place finish in the Anthony round.
PBA competition resumes with the Barbasol PBA Tournament of Champions and PBA League Elias Cup finals next week at Woodland Bowl in Indianapolis. The two-hour Tournament of Champions finals will air live on ESPN next Sunday at 2:30 p.m. ET and the Elias Cup finals will air on Sunday, April 7, at 1 p.m. ET.
PBA’s Xtra Frame online bowling channel will cover all qualifying and match play rounds of the Tournament of Champions, Wednesday-Friday. For subscription information, visit pba.com and click on the Xtra Frame link.
PBA LEAGUE EARL ANTHONY ROUND
Thunderbowl Lanes, Allen Park, Mich.
Final Match (five-player Baker team format)
L.A. X (Wes Malott, Andres Gomez, Dave Wodka, Jason Belmonte, Parker Bohn III) def. Dallas Strikers (Bryon Smith, Mike Machuga, Norm Duke, Amleto Monacelli, Rhino Page), 257-214.
Semifinal Match (Baker team)
L.A. X def. Silver Lake Atom Splitters (Stuart Williams, Nathan Bohr, Josh Blanchard, Dom Barrett, Chris Barnes), 207-206.
Match One (Baker team)
Silver Lake Atom Splitters def. Motown Muscle (Ronnie Russell, Jesse Buss, Tom Smallwood, Mike Scroggins, Mike Fagan), 279-215.
Clash Eliminator (in order of players eliminated based on low one-ball total per round; last surviving player’s team advanced to stepladder finals):
Round One – Josh Blanchard, Silver Lake Atom Splitters, seven pins.
Round Two – Ryan Ciminelli, BROOKYN STyLES; Dom Barrett, Silver Lake Atom Splitters; Sean Rash, BROOKLYN STyLES, nine pins.
Round Three – Stuart Williams, Silver Lake Atom Splitters, nine pins.
Round Four – none (all strikes).
Round Five – Thomas Larsen, Pittsburgh Jack Rabbits, six pins.
Round Six – John Szczerbinski, New York City WTT KingPins, nine pins.
Round Seven – Martin Larsen, Pittsburgh Jack Rabbits, seven pins.
Round Eight – Patrick Allen, Pittsburgh Jack Rabbits, nine pins.
Round Nine – Chris Barnes, Silver Lake Atom Splitters, eliminated Mika Koivuniemi, Philadelphia Hitmen, 8-7.
FINAL ELIAS CUP QUALIFYING STANDINGS
(After five rounds, top four teams advance to Elias Cup finals on Sunday, March 31, at Woodland Bowl in Indianpolis; finals air on April 7 on ESPN at 1 p.m. ET)
1, New York City WTT KingPins (owner Billie Jean King), 45 points
2, Motown Muscle (owner Jerome Bettis), 38.
3, BROOKLYN STyLES (owner Jesse Williams), 36.
4, Dallas Strikers (owner Terrell Owens), 28.
Did not advance:
5, L.A. X (owner Chris Paul), 26.
6, Silver Lake Atom Splitters (owner Chris Hardwick), 24.
7, Philadelphia Hitmen (owner Kevin Hart), 20.
8, Pittsburgh Jack Rabbits (owner LaMarr Woodley), 10.