Bowling greats Nepomuceno, Coo expect at least 2 SEA Games golds for PH

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 2)— Multi-titled bowling legends Paeng Nepomuceno and Bong Coo expect the Philippine squad to add at least two more medals to the country’s harvest in the 2019 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games.

Speaking to CNN Philippines’ The Source on Monday, Nepomuceno and Coo—tagged as two of the country’s sporting greats—expressed optimism that the national bowling team will deliver more podium finishes in the biennial meet.

“We have to win at least two (gold). Two out of nine,” Coo told CNN Philippines.

“Our bowlers are very prepared, they have been preparing the whole year. With God's grace, dasal (prayers)... maybe we will make it,” the four-time bowling world champion added.

Nepomuceno echoed the sentiment, saying the team—a mix of veteran and young athletes—has a fighting chance against its Southeast Asian competitors.

“We've been practicing all year round and we're ready to face the competition. What's nice about the Philippine team is they're a fighting team fighting team and a mix of veteran and youth,” the six-time bowling world champion said.

The bowling team nabbed a bronze in the 2017 edition of the regional meet, with the women’s team of five securing a third place finish.

The country last won the bowling gold in its 2005 hosting of the games.

LOOK: Sports legends carry SEA Games Federation flag

Mall venue ‘world class’

The two sports legends likewise dismissed criticisms on the use of the Starmall EDSA-Shaw as the venue for the bowling games.

Coo, who also serves as the Secretary-General of the Philippine Bowling Federation, said the Coronado Lanes venue passed inspections and is of “world class” standards.

“It has hosted various Asian championships. ‘Yung (for the) senior, and even our World Cup is held there on the first day… national finals, and Philippine team practices all year-round,” Nepomuceno added.

Netizens earlier criticized the choice, saying it may put the country's hosting of the SEA Games in bad light and suspecting it was a favor to the Villar family, who owned the mall.

READ: Cayetano: No Villar hand in picking Starmall as SEA Games bowling venue

The SEA Games bowling events will officially commence on Tuesday.

The Philippines is currently on top of the medal leader board, with 25 golds, 14 silvers, and nine bronzes as of publishing.