ABF Tour Hong Kong 2019
Maiden tour title for Malaysian, Filipina

21st July, Hong Kong: Newly-crowned 2019 Hong Kong Open Men's champion, Rafiq Ismail of Malaysia and Women's second runner-up, Lara Posadas-Wong of Philippines earned their maiden tour title with victory in the ABF Tour Hong Kong 2019.

Ismail, who had defeated another team-mate, Ahmad Muaz in yesterday's Hong Kong Open championship match to capture the Men's Open Masters crown, again had to face another team-mate, Tun Hakim in today's all-Malaysian final.

Hakim had an early split in his opening frame and another in the third frame which he failed to convert. Ismail marked his first frame and followed it up with a double in the second and third frames to open up a gap of 30 pins.

Hakim was quick to recover with five strikes-in-a-row but his opponent responded with four-in-a-row from frame 5. With just 19 pins separating the two Malaysians, either one with a double in the ninth and tenth frame can win the tie.

As usual, Ismail kept his composure to end the match with a 266-247 victory to earn his first-ever tour title. The champion had earlier, dispatched Enzo Hernandez of Philippines, 267-229 in the all-lefty second semi-final match to advance to the final.

Maiden tour winner, Rafiq Ismail with his trophy

Ismail also had impressive victories over India's Dhruv Sarda, 289-252 in the opening round and Hong Kong's Oscar Poon, 240-199 in the second round. Hakim advanced to the finals after thrashing Saudi tour debutant, Sari Jazaeri, 211-137 in the first semi-final match.

In the Women's division, Hong Kong Open second runner-up, Lara Posadas-Wong of Philippines denied Malaysia a double after she defeated 2018 ABF Tour Macau leg champion, Nora Lyana Natasia, 203-171 for her first-ever tour crown.

Both title contenders had three opened frames each but the Filipina had a total of four strikes to Natasia's two only to come out on top. Posadas-Wong had earlier took out Hong Kong's Joey Yip, 226-180 in the first women's semi-final match to earn a crack at the title.

Natasia eliminated another Hong Kong national Gigi Leung, 277-221 in the other semi-final match to make the final. The champion dispatched another Malaysian, Radin Nur Najwa, 212-158 in Round 1 before beating team-mate, Dyan Coronacion, 245-206 in Round 2.

Ms Vivien Lau, BBS, JP, Secretary General of World Bowling and Chairman of the ABF Tour Organizing Committee presented the trophies and US$500 cash prize to the champions. She also gave away US$300 each to the first runners-up and US$150 each to the second and third runners-up.

Lara Posadas-Wong picking up her first-ever tour title

The third and final leg of this year's ABF Tour will be staged at Southern Bowling Centre on August 18, 2019, a day after the 19th Chinese Taipei International Open, which will be held from August 11 to 17. For further information and details, please contact ABF Tour Committee at Tel: +852 2893 6039, Fax: +852 2893 6290; Email: hktbc@netvigator.com.

Photos by Terence Yaw in Hong Kong, China.

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