The PBA’s fiercest rivalry between the two most recent PBA Players of the Year took center stage on ESPN in a Super Bowl Sunday head-to-head battle. In the end, 2012-13 PBA Player of the Year Jason Belmonte claimed an overall victory over 2011-12 Player of the Year Sean Rash in the inaugural PBA Super Clash.
The PBA Super Clash at Thunderbowl Lanes consisted of three games with the winner of each game earning $2,000 and the player accumulating the highest three-game pinfall total winning a $10,000 grand prize.
The duel didn’t disappoint with Belmonte winning game one, 258-238. Rash turned the tables in the second game, 258-241, with Belmonte taking a three-pin lead into the final match.
While both players had potentially game-changing splits that resulted in open frames – Rash left the unusual 3-4-6-7 in the fourth and Belmonte an equally rare 6-7-9 in the sixth – Belmonte was able to maintain the edge with four-strike strings from the second through fifth frames and again from the seventh through 10th frames to win the final match, 244-222, and the overall match, 743-718.
While Belmonte enjoyed the spoils of a Clash win that came on the heels of winning the 2014 Barbasol PBA Tournament of Champions, his thoughts turned to the potential of the event and how much PBA fans would like to see that kind of rivalry play out in the future.
“I don’t want to lose the traditional way we compete on tour, but if the sport needs something like this to build momentum, I think it’s great,” said Belmonte. “In this case you had two people who don’t particularly like each other competing head-to-head and, as a participant, I thought it was pretty exciting. But ultimately it will be up to the fans and how they like it.”
Belmonte also believed the made-for-TV event might provide an opportunity to showcase matchups fans would like to see more often.
“You could have a Walter Ray (Williams Jr.) vs. Pete Weber match up or whoever,” Belmonte, a two-handed player, added. “There’s an opportunity with this kind of event to bring different types of bowlers together to see how they match up. I’ll bowl anyone and I know most of the guys out here feel the same way.
“This is another way to think about bowling if we need to incorporate some more entertainment,” Belmonte added. “Again, I want to keep tradition, but if this can help us, I’m all for it.”
Like Belmonte, Rash also likes the potential for the clash format.
“I think everybody saw a good show and I hope the fans enjoyed it,” Rash said. “This is something we talked about doing for a while, just waiting for the right opportunity. “It’s a great idea and you can put together some great clashes.”
During the telecast fans also were able to see point-of-view video images from Belmonte via his “Belmo-Vision” – provided by his Google Glass headset. Belmonte used the innovative wearable computer that provides 720 dpi video for the first time during Tournament of Champions qualifying.