Banaag bowls his way to scholarship


By Aaron Facundo 

Bowling strikes the average person as an activity only done in one’s “spare” time. To Kevin Banaag (’19), however, it is the real deal.
Banaag began bowling at the age of six, enrolling in tournaments at fourteen.
He was inspired to bowl by his brother Robert Banaag and late father Romy Banaag.
Every Friday in Van Nuys, Banaag would tag along with them since there was no one available to babysit him.
As he watched the competition between the duo every week, Banaag became more interested in bowling and eventually was given his own eight-pound plastic ball.
As he practiced more and more, his dad’s friends recommended that he join the Junior Amateur Tour due to his impressive skill.
Currently, Banaag competes alongside teammates in leagues or by himself in tournaments in the Junior Bowlers Tour where he is able to win scholarship money for college.
On his team for leagues are a group of friends who share his passion for bowling.
Bowling with and against other competitors who have achieved success in their bowling careers motivates him to accomplish more.
Last February, Banaag was named the tournament champion of the Brunswick Invitational Challenge at Keystone Lanes in Norwalk where he competed against 24 other people.
The challenge was to bowl on a 26-foot pattern of oil when a normal bowling house shot is 40 feet. Banaag was able to win the title match with 183 points despite the oil pattern restricting him.
For earning this title, he was given a $125 scholarship to a college of his choosing.
“I feel happy about winning that title because it was the last one my dad got to see me win,” Banaag said.
Banaag’s father died last spring from an accident at the car repair facility where he worked. He is still in shock over the event.
His personal greatest achievement is a 768-point series where he averaged 256 points over three games.
By competing in several bowling tournaments and leagues, Banaag gained a “greater sense of responsibility and time management.”
He was given better exposure to competition and was able to make new friends with bowling as an intermediary.
Even though he was awarded many titles in his bowling career, Banaag strives to constantly improve himself.
To increase his skill and prowess towards the game, Banaag goes to the bowling alley four to five times a week.
There, he improves on timing, release and spare shooting.
“He always wants to improve his game no matter what and I consider him the epitome of bowling,” teammate Reigh Abaoag said. “He has had some slumps in bowling, but he doesn’t give up easily on that.”
At times, the competitive nature of bowling frustrates Banaag, but he puts everything aside and looks at the more amusing aspects of the sport when playing with friends.
Bowling has been something Banaag does to block all the bad things out of his life.
But it has transformed into something more.
Bowling means his life to Banaag.