Tessa Dianne A. Galendez became the first-ever Millionaire’s Cup winner after defeating veteran player Nelia P. Santos, 58, in their best-of-three grand slam finals that went the distance at the Activity Center of the Fashion Hall of SM Megamall.
By winning the tournament, Galendez, who is a Business Management graduate from Ateneo de Davao University, copped the P2-million top prize and a brand-new Chevrolet Sonic car at stake in the biggest and richest bowling tournament in the country.
Showing steady hand and form as well as holding her nerves, Galendez, a member of the Davao Tenpin Bowlers Association-PRIMA, proved herself to have more to give in the end over Santos, who is affiliated with the Philippine Bowling Association.
Galendez took the first game of the grand slam finals by scoring 217 points to Santos’s 179. But the latter managed to pull abreast in the second game by edging the former, 231-230, to force a deciding third game.
In the decider, the two bowlers went toe-to-toe early but Galendez raised her game a notch as the game progressed, punctuated by strikes in the last two frames to claim the title with a score of 242 to 220.
After her title conquest, Galendez, who started bowling at the age of 11, could not hide her excitement and joy over becoming a millionaire at a very young age.
“I feel so blessed. So blessed!,” Galendez told members of the media after the finals.
“There were moments in the game that I thought I lost it, especially in the third game. But I just told myself to just go for it and thankfully it paid off,” she added.
Galendez said she intends to use her cash winnings for their family business even as she said she is willing to try out for the Philippine bowling team if the opportunity arises.
The Millionaire’s Cup is an open division tournament for male and female amateur bowlers, and a member of the Philippine Bowling Congress, with an average score of not more than 210. It is a singles handicap event based on the participating bowlers’ current averages entered in the competition.
Galendez had a handicap of 45 while Santos had 50.
While it was held to coincide with SM Bowling’s 25th anniversary, organizers said they are exploring the possibility of making it an annual event.
We would want to make this an annual event,
said CJ Suarez, SM Bowling Center division manager and former champion bowler, told BusinessWorld.
“If ever, we want to capture a much bigger market so we are looking at maybe opening it up also to Philippine team members and international bowlers. So we might have two divisions next time around. So you’ll have the local and international leg of it”, he added.