Preview: PBA League Elias Cup finals Sunday on ESPN

by Bob Johnson 0

The quest to determine the first Professional Bowlers Assn. League champion culminates Sunday when the Elias Cup Finals airs on ESPN at 1 p.m. Eastern from Woodland Bowl in Indianapolis.

Fresh off his history-making win in the Barbasol PBA Tournament of Champions, Hall of Famer Pete Weber will try to make it two historic titles in a row by leading his top-seeded New York City WTT KingPins team to the title.

Weber and teammates Tommy Jones, Scott Norton, Jack Jurek, John Szczerbinski and

Kelly Kulick earned the top stepladder berth for the 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 (Mike Fagan, Tom Smallwood, Mike Scroggins, Ronnie Russell, Jesse Buss and D.J. Archer) by seven points.

The Elias Cup finals will incorporate the Baker team format, which requires each member of the team to bowl two frames in one game. The championship match will consist of two games, with total pins determining the winner.

The Brooklyn Styles (Sean Rash, Ryan Ciminelli, Ryan Shafer, Walter Ray Williams Jr., Jason Sterner and Tom Hess), owned by actor Jesse Williams, captured the No. 3 berth in the Elias Cup finals with the help of their win in the PBA League’s opening round. The Styles will meet Terrell Owens’ Dallas Strikers (Norm Duke, Rhino Page, Amleto Monacelli, Bryon Smith, Mike Machuga and Mike Wolfe) in the Elias Cup opening match. Dallas claimed the final berth in the finals thanks to its second-place finish in the final Earl Anthony qualifying round.

KingPins owner Billie Jean King and Strikers owner Terrell Owens will be on hand for the finals in support of their teams.

The four teams that advanced to the finals were the top point-getters after five PBA League qualifying rounds that were conducted as part of the PBA Detroit Winter Swing.

Teams that failed to advance to the finals were L.A. X (Jason Belmonte, Wes Malott, Andres Gomez, Parker Bohn III, Dave Wodka and Ildemaro Ruiz), owned by Los Angeles Clippers star Chris Paul; Silver Lake Atom Splitters (Chris Barnes, Dom Barrett, Josh Blanchard, Stuart Williams, Nathan Bohr and Jon VanHees), owned by comedian and podcast pioneer Chris Hardwick; Philadelphia Hitmen (Bill O’Neill, Mika Koivuniemi, Chris Loschetter, Mike DeVaney, Dick Allen and Dino Castillo), owned by actor/comedian Kevin Hart, and the Pittsburgh Jack Rabbits (Osku Palermaa, Martin Larsen, Dan MacLelland, Patrick Allen, Thomas Larsen and Anthony LaCaze), owned by Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker LaMarr Woodley.

To enhance your PBA telecast experience:

• Watch the Elias Cup Finals on ESPN Sunday at 1 p.m. Eastern.

• Tune in to the post-event show at Sunday 3 p.m. Eastern. Xtra Frame’s post-tournament show features interviews with the winning team.

• Get additional tour coverage on and provide feedback on PBA Tour telecasts through PBA’s social networking platforms on Facebook<> and Twitter<>.

Bob Johnson

Bob Johnson has received more national writing awards than any other bowling writer — close to 70 over the course of his 40-year career. He began at age 16 as a staff writer and then assistant editor for the weekly Pacific Bowler newspaper in his native California, and within three years was writing feature stories for Bowlers Journal. He has written for the magazine ever since, except for a five-year span when he was hired as the founding editor of another magazine. He moved to Chicago in 2000 and spent 13 years in the Windy City, including five as Bowlers Journal’s Editor. In 1975, Johnson received the Robert E. Kennedy Award as California’s top undergraduate high school journalist. Five years earlier, on the lanes, he had shared the Bantam Division Doubles championship in the Orange County Junior Bowling Association Championships. Today, he continues to work full-time for Bowlers Journal as its Senior Editor, to write his popular “Strikes Me” column, and to edit Luby Publishing Inc.’s weekly business-to-business Cyber Report.