A three-man contingent from Guam battled it out for four days at the U22 5th Fukuoka Summer Cup 2019 sponsored by Storm held at the Toyo Sports Palace, Fukuoka-ken, Fukuoka, Japan, from Aug. 8-11.
In the finals, Jeremiah Camacho of Guam and Hideaki Hata of Japan went frame for frame, fighting for lane supremacy. The duo opened with three strikes to kickstart the final game after four days of competition.
Hata, the only two-handed bowler in the top six, left a pin seven on the fourth frame as Camacho delivered two more strikes to take a 21-pin lead midway through the match.
Hata battled back with a turkey to stay within striking distance, then took a three-pin lead after seven frames as Camacho left a 6-7-10 split.
Camacho's split was the opening Hata needed, refusing to relinquish the three-pin lead despite a furious rally from Camacho. The game ended 258-255 in Hata's favor.
For his efforts, Camacho, a 16-year-old junior at Okkodo High School, was awarded a scholarship prize of 250,000 yen along with a sponsorship prize to compete in the Milo Junior All Stars in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in December.
“Winning sponsorship from this U22 tournament is a blessing, and I am grateful to Storm and the rest of the sponsors for offering this incentive as a prize,” Camacho said.
The southpaw finished the eight-game set with a 1,920 total to take pole position, edging out Mervyn Tan of the Philippines for the top post.
Camacho qualified in 14th place with a 1,427 total over six games as he dropped sets of 720 and 707 while Noah Taimanglo topped the desperado squad with a 245 game to enter the field of 39 bowlers. Taimanglo finished the masters event in 13th place.
“My objective was to do my best to represent Guam and my family," said Camacho. "The game plan today was to take things slow. I blocked the outside world and just played how I would play when I was back home.”
Camacho, Josiah Lanuza and Taimanglo – familiar names on the local bowling circuit – have spent this past summer honing their game and competing in regional and local tournaments. Last month, another group of youth bowlers, which included Taimanglo and Camacho, finished fourth at a U17 tournament in Hong Kong – their highest placing as a team, according to coach Jay Leon Guerrero. Taimanglo performed well, finishing as a finalist. This tournament, Leon Guerrero said, was Camacho's turn to take a shot at the finals.
For Taimanglo, the tournament was a great experience, allowing him to connect with old friends and make new ones.
He commended the caliber of play, especially from the local Japanese athletes.
"Overall, it was a good experience and I learn from every tournament," said the 17-year-old senior from Notre Dame.
While the experience was good one, Lanuza said he saw opportunities for growth and problem areas in his game that he needs to address.
"Throughout the tournament, I struggled with execution," said the University of Guam student. "I struggled finding a comfortable grip on my ball throughout the tournament."
The 21-year-old said he will definitely look to fix the issue.
"I plan on fixing my grip issues and getting on the lanes more to practice consistent delivery," Lanuza said, adding his mental game is another aspect he wants to improve.
"As a player, I am striving to develop more of a growth mindset rather than fix my mindset, as it is essential to my future growth as an athlete," he said.
After four days of bowling and competing, the small contingent spent their last few hours enjoying the sights and sounds of Fukuoka.