Red Sox Star Mookie Betts, PBA’s Tommy Jones Win Chris Paul’s CP3 PBA Celebrity Invitational Title
CONROE, Texas – Boston Red Sox star Mookie Betts was still in the midst of celebrating a stunning baseball season in which he won almost every key award possible, including helping his team to a World Series victory. But stuck in the back of his mind was the fact that in two previous appearances, he and his Professional Bowlers Association partners had finished second in NBA star Chris Paul’s annual CP3 PBA Celebrity Invitationals.
Betts was determined to end that streak, and in the 10th anniversary CP3 benefit bowling event that aired on FOX on Sunday just ahead of the Super Bowl, Betts found his stroke just in time as he and 18-time PBA Tour titlist Tommy Jones rolled to a convincing 101-86 victory over 2017 CP3 champions Pete Weber and Pro Football Hall of Famer Terrell Owens in the modified five-frame title match at Bowlero at the Woodlands.
“I finally got one,” Betts said after hoisting his Heisman-style trophy. “Now I’m going to enjoy it and get ready for baseball.”
The doubles competition involved a modified five-frame format in which the PBA partner bowled the sixth, eighth and 10th frames while the celebrity bowled the seventh and ninth frames.
Betts, a life-long bowler who has demonstrated his skills on the lanes as a competitor in the PBA World Series of Bowling twice – including bowling a 300 game in the 2017 WSOB – made a key speed adjustment in his delivery just in time to give Jones the help he needed. The 2018 American League MVP, batting champion, defensive player of the year, etc., thrilled the crowd inside Bowlero when he converted the challenging 2-10 split in his first frame of the doubles competition. Jones led off with a strike and then sandwiched two more strikes around Betts’ 10 pin spare conversion to record a 100-84 decision over Australia’s Jason Belmonte and NASCAR champion Aric Almirola in their opening match.
“I was just throwing the ball too hard but I figured it out,” Betts said. “It was fun. I don’t think Tommy missed, so I kinda rode his back.”
In the semifinal round, Betts struck in both of his frames, providing key support especially after Jones left a 4-10 split that he failed to convert in his second frame. Betts and Jones advanced to the title match with a 116-72 decision over the split-plagued team of Big Brother star Tyler Crispen and his PBA partner, Kyle Troup.
Betts again made a key contribution in the final match, following Jones’ first-frame strike with one of his own, and when Jones struck again, the outcome was all but decided after Weber and Owens started their game with back-to-back splits and open frames.
“The charity is first and foremost, but the competition is fun too, and seeing guys from other sports, different backgrounds and other professions, all coming together to play one sport is definitely fun. But I don’t like to lose; you never like to lose, so I’m glad we won this time.”
The 10th anniversary Super Bowl Sunday special, benefitting the Chris Paul Family Foundation, again featured a field of well-known athletes including a guest appearance by Houston Texans superstar defensive end J.J. Watt; a supporting cast of PBA stars and an opportunity for Teen Masters age-group winners Brandon and Justin Bohn, Tom Hankey Jr. and Jenna Williams, and collegiate All-American Gazmine Mason to rub elbows with the celebrity stars.
“We have a lot of great guys who come out for this event,” Paul said. “When Mookie doesn’t strike, we’re surprised, but this is the first year he’s won it so that shows that even if guys might be better players, when you get out here, things happen. It’s a whole lot of fun.”
The 2019 Go Bowling! PBA Tour season and the race to the PBA Playoffs heats up with back-to-back major championships (and Tier 1 points events), beginning with the PBA Tournament of Champions at AMF Riviera Lanes in Fairlawn, Ohio, Feb. 4-10, followed by the PBA Players Championship, Feb. 12-17, at Wayne Webb’s Columbus Bowl in Columbus, Ohio. FOX will air the TOC finals live at 4:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, Feb. 10 and the Players Championship finals will air live on FS1 on Sunday, Feb. 17 at 1 p.m. ET. Preliminary rounds of both events will be live streamed by FloBowling.