Now that we've gotten accustomed to two hours of highest-possible-level bowling every Sunday, we're going to have to relax for a couple weeks. The PBA will be on a two-week hiatus, returning March 23 with the final opening-round match in the PBA League Elias Cup tournament.
The Silver Lake Atom Splitters, who made the biggest overhaul of their roster of any team over the offseason, defeated the team that made the least number of changes, the Dallas Strikers to advance to the semifinals of the PBA League Elias Cup tournament.
The Atom Splitters won three of the four matches, only falling in the doubles match by a single pin, for a victory of 5-1. In the semifinals, Silver Lake will face the winner of next week's quarterfinal match between the Philadelphia Hitmen and Pittsburgh Jack Rabbits.
The top stars of the PBA50 Tour, including newcomers and rookies Parker Bohn III and Mike Scroggins, will take to the lanes beginning this April for the 2014 PBA50 Tour season.
View the complete 2014 PBA50 Tour schedule.
With the third of four quarterfinal matches coming up this Sunday on ESPN, the Elias Cup tournament is well underway.
What do you think of the new format? Let's throw out the obvious gripes like there's no qualifying round, no season, et cetera, and let's focus on the actual tournament as a playoff bracket. Does this format appeal to you? Further, what about the actual shows, with singles, doubles, trios and five-man team matches?
The quest for the Elias Cup continues Sunday at 3 p.m. ET on ESPN with first-round action between the Dallas Strikers, led by captain and general manager Norm Duke and the Silver Lake Atom Splitters.
The winner will battle the victor of the upcoming Pittsburgh/Philadelphia match in the semifinals.
Belmonte led qualifying and seemed to be cruising through bracket-style, double-elimination match play before falling to Tom Smallwood, preventing Belmonte from the top seed, which he had last year. From there, Belmonte had to win two more matches to get himself into the final match, in which four bowlers compete for three spots.
Surprisingly, Belmonte looked like he would be the man eliminated until mustering a great shot when he needed it to stay alive as the fifth seed.
Belmonte ran the televised stepladder, defeating Ryan Ciminelli, Smallwood, Michael Haugen Jr. and E.J. Tackett to claim the title.
League action will then take a week off as we'll see the live finals of the USBC Masters on February 23.
In the first of four PBA League semifinal matches, the L.A. X defeated the Brooklyn Styles, 4 points to 2.
Jason Belmonte took one point in his singles match over Sean Rash, but Brooklyn came back to win both the doubles and trios matches, giving the Styles a 2-1 lead going into the Baker team final, with three points available.
The L.A. X earned a 237-215 victory in that match, sending them to the semifinals against the winner of the match between the New York City WTT Kingpins and Motown Muscle, which will be broadcast this coming Sunday at 3 p.m. ET on ESPN.
This year's revamped incarnation of the PBA League features a bracket format that will begin airing this Sunday on ESPN at 3:00 p.m. ET. Each of the eight teams were slotted into a bracket, with the winners advancing until there is only one team remaining as the Elias Cup champion.
PBA League telecasts will consist of a singles match (between the franchise players), a doubles match and trios match (all worth one point), as well as a team match worth three points. Yes, the math is weird, but that doesn't mean the bowling isn't exciting.
Prior to the Super Bowl this Sunday, tune into ESPN at 4 p.m. ET for the first ever PBA Super Clash, featuring a three-game, total-pinfall match between the last two PBA Players of the Year, Sean Rash (2012) and Jason Belmonte (2013).
This event will definitely spark opinions on both sides of bowling fandom. This is a totally different presentation from the traditional stepladder finals born from countless games of qualifying, so some purists will likely loathe the concept. Others, who enjoy watching a good bowling match regardless of how the competitors got there, will love it. To a non-bowling fan, the latter is probably more appealing, and for this time slot on this day, the hope is the PBA can pick up a few fans.
Rash and Belmonte are two of the best bowlers in the world, and the PBA is choosing to showcase them on a day when everyone is watching TV. Mike Jakubowski will be laneside throughout the match, with Randy Pedersen joined in the booth by Chris Barnes, Jason Couch and Tommy Jones, all giving their opinions and analysis on the match. And undoubtedly trading some barbs, too.