ESPN Airs 27th Round1 Japan Cup Finals Sunday, Jan. 12 at 1 p.m. ET

The PBA Tour moves across the Pacific for its traditional stop in Japan when ESPN airs the finals of the 27th Round1 Japan Cup from Tokyo’s Minami Suna Round1 Bowling Center Sunday, Jan. 12 at 1 p.m. ET.

PBA players advancing to the finals were 2011-12 PBA Player of the Year Sean Rash, three-time Japan Cup champion Tommy Jones, 2003 winner Chris Barnes, Osku Palermaa and E.J. Tackett, who earned an entry into the tournament through a pro tour qualifier. They will join JPBA members Kazuaki Watanabe, Yuya Kotah and Shinichi Horie in the finals.

The Japan players will try to break a 25-year title drought. Only two Japanese players, Ken Taniguchi (inaugural event in 1985) and Takeo Sakai (1988) have won the Japan Cup.

Rash, Jones and Barnes were among 20 PBA players (16 based on points and four invited players) in the field. Other PBA players who qualified through points were Jason Belmonte, Pete Weber, Chris Loschetter, Wes Malott, Scott Norton, Bill O’Neill, Parker Bohn III, defending champion Mika Koivuniemi, Stuart Williams, Dan MacLelland, Jason Sterner, Mike Fagan and Norm Duke.

Koivuniemi, who defeated Japan’s Yoshihiro Kaji for his second Round1 Japan Cup title last December, was one of five multiple champions in a field that also included Bohn (a four-time winner), and two-time winners Weber, Amleto Monacelli and Walter Ray Williams Jr.

The four players invited by the Japan Cup organizing committee were Palermaa, Rhino Page, Williams Jr. and Monacelli.

The seventh edition of The Bowling Center on pba.com recaps the World Bowling Tour Finals won by Sean Rash and Kelly Kulick from the World Series of Bowling in Las Vegas. ESPN play-by-play announcer and Xtra Frame host Mike Jakubowski talks to three-time Tour winner Dick Allen. Xtra Frame’s Jef Goodger and Jason Thomas provide an entertaining analysis of the impact of facial hair on bowler performance, and the pair meet once again in yet another on-lane battle in The Drilling Room segment.


1985 – Ken Taniguchi
1986 – Pete Weber
1987 – Amleto Monacelli
1988 – Takeo Sakai
1989 – Randy Pedersen
1990 – Chris Warren
1991 – Walter Ray Williams Jr.
1992 – Parker Bohn III
1993 – Pete Weber
1994 – Brian Voss
1995 – Amleto Monacelli
1996 – Steve Wilson
1997 – Doug Kent
1998 – Parker Bohn III
1999 – Parker Bohn III
2000 – Parker Bohn III
2001-02 – Bob Learn Jr.
2002-03 – Robert Smith
2003-04 – Chris Barnes
2004-05 – Tommy Jones
2005-06 – Tommy Jones
2006-07 – Walter Ray Williams Jr.
2007-08 – Mika Koivuniemi
2008-09 – Patrick Allen
2009-10 – Tommy Jones
2010-11 – not held
2011-12 – Mika Koivuniemi

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