ALLEN PARK, Mich. (June 12, 2018) – PBA Tour Finals defending champion EJ Tackett of Huntington, Ind., won his Group 2 stepladder semifinal round, which aired on CBS Sports Network Tuesday from Thunderbowl Lanes, to set up a rematch with last year’s runner-up Jason Belmonte of Australia in the PBA Tour Finals title match which will air June 19 at 8 p.m. ET.
As the top seed for the Group 2 semifinal round, Tackett, a nine-time Go Bowling! PBA Tour winner, defeated Sweden’s Jesper Svensson, 2-0, in the best-of-two-game final match, winning the first game, 235-206, and the second game, 245-203.
“I just made good shots down the stretch,” said Tackett, the 2016 PBA Player of the Year. “When you have four of the top performers over the past couple seasons, I wasn’t so much worried about the conditions but having to beat the great opponents I had in my group.”
Like Belmonte did for the Group 1 semifinal, as top seed in Group 2, Tackett chose the 45-foot Dick Weber lane condition.
Even though Svensson appeared to be making good shots, the seven-time tour winner was having trouble carrying which was illustrated by six nine-pin counts in the second game of the match on seemingly good pocket hits.
“The way the lanes broke down worked in my favor,” Tackett said of his match against Svensson. “The way we started I thought it was going to be anyone’s match because he was able to get to the pocket consistently despite not being able to carry the 7 pin. I was able to string five strikes in the middle of the first game and started with the first four in the second game which gave me good momentum in each game.”
Belmonte, who will be trying for his 18th tour win, won last week’s Group 1 semifinal by beating fellow two-hander Anthony Simonsen of Austin, Texas, 2-0 (265-259, 239-216).
In the opening Group 2 match, four-time tour winner Marshall Kent defeated 18-time winner Tommy Jones, 246-236. Svensson then beat Kent, 279-233, in the second match to advance to the final match against Tackett.
The semifinal stepladder rounds, as well as the championship round, feature the best-of-two-game format with ties broken by a 9th and 10th frame roll-off.
As runners-up in the semifinals, Simonsen will take on Svensson in the PBA Tour Finals third-place match which will precede the title match.
Tackett and Belmonte earned their positions in the semifinal as the total pinfall leaders in two previous positioning rounds bowling on the Petraglia 36, Roth 42, Carter 39 and Weber 45 PBA lane conditions.
PBA TOUR FINALS GROUP 2 SEMIFINAL ROUND RESULTS
(Winner joins Jason Belmonte in PBA Tour Finals championship match to air on CBSSN June 19 at 8 p.m ET)
Match One – Marshall Kent def. Tommy Jones, Simpsonville, S.C., 246-236.
Match Two – Jesper Svensson, Sweden def. Kent, 279-233.
Best-of-two-game Championship Match – EJ Tackett, Huntington, Ind. def. Svensson, 235-206 and 245-203.