Ex-FIQ champ Ollie now bowling up there

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    PAENG Nepomuceno fondly recalls former national teammate Ollie Ongtawco as outgoing yet very competitive while Philippine Bowling Federation secretary general Bong Coo remembers him as a passionate coach.

    The two multi-titled bowlers paid tribute yesterday to former world bowling champion Oliver “Ollie” Ongtawco, who passed away last Monday, 17 days short of his 79th birthday, of a heart attack.

    “Ollie was a very good player and gregarious. He was a talented musician, too,” Nepomuceno, a four-time World Cup champion, said of Ongtawco, who bagged the FIQ world bowling men’s gold medal at the Celebrity Plaza in 1979.

    “We were roommates on the Asian tour and he played the guitar well. Ongtawco had (Senate President) Tito Sotto and Rene Reyes among his contemporaries,” recalled the bowling icon, who teamed up with the late bowler in capturing the men’s doubles gold medal in the 1981 Manila Southeast Asian Games.

    Nepomuceno said the right-handed Ongtawco was formerly based in Guam before returning to the Philippines in the seventies and easily stamped his mark on the local bowling scene, eventually securing a spot on the national team.

    “Ongtawco was a good national coach. He was passionate about what he was doing,” Coo said of the former mentor, who was around when she won the women’s masters gold medal of the 1992 Asian bowling championships in Sydney, Australia.

    The PBF honored Ongtawco with a video presentation of some of the kegler’s highlights on its Facebook page the other day.

    Among those who paid their respects was former Philippine Bowling Congress president Reuben Lista in a post on the PBF page.

    “Rest in peace, my friend,” Adm. (ret.) Lista, a former commandant of the Philippine Coast Guard, said.

    “Remember the legends!” exclaimed Malaysian Tenpin Bowling Congress secretary general Maradona Chok on the same thread of the FB page of the PBF.

    Coo said Ongtawco’s widow informed her that his remains would be cremated today and interment will be at the Loyola Memorial Park in Sucat, Paranaque.