by JSchneider | Thursday, November 16, 8:36 PM
RENO, Nev. – Australian two-hander Jason Belmonte won his best-of-three Pepsi PBA Scorpion Championship presented by Go Bowling! Round-of-8 match at the National Bowling Stadium Thursday to make his second consecutive GEICO PBA World Series of Bowling IX animal pattern ESPN finals telecast.
Bowling on the 42-foot PBA Scorpion lane oil pattern, the three-time PBA Player of the Year also made his 18th career WSOB telecast by beating rookie Raymond Lussier of Canada, 2-0 (235-189, 276-237).
Belmonte, a 15-time Tour winner that includes eight majors, qualified for the Cheetah Championship finals earlier Thursday with a 2-1 Round-of-8 win over Ryan Ciminelli of Cheektowaga, N.Y.
Belmonte, who also qualified second for the PBA World Championship finals earlier in WSOB IX, added to his PBA major win total earlier this season with wins in the Barbasol PBA Players Championship and USBC Masters.
The Scorpion Championship finals will be taped Saturday by ESPN at 6 p.m. PT at the National Bowling Stadium and live streamed on ESPN3. The Finals will air on ESPN Dec. 24 at 2 p.m. ET.
In addition to being part of the GEICO PBA World Series of Bowling IX, presented by Eldorado Reno Resorts Properties, the Scorpion Championship is also part of the 2017-18 Go Bowling! PBA Tour schedule.
Defending PBA Player of the Year EJ Tackett of Huntington, Ind., made his first WSOB IX finals appearance by beating Arturo Quintero of Mexico 2-1 (220-157, 188-247, 205-176). Tackett, an eight-time Tour winner will be trying for his third win of the season.
Brandon Novak of Chillicothe, Ohio, made his second consecutive WSOB Scorpion Championship finals appearance by beating Matt McNiel of Minneapolis, Minn., 2-1 (199-205, 279-237, 223-196). In 2016 Novak finished fourth in the Scorpion Championship.
Rounding out the Scorpion Championship finals telecast will be Shawn Maldonado of Houston who swept England’s Dom Barrett 2-0 (234-232, 225-206).
All animal pattern championship ESPN finals telecasts (Chameleon, Shark, Cheetah, and Scorpion) will use a format where the four finalists simultaneously bowl one game on the same pair of lanes with the top two scorers advancing to a head-to-head final match.