Behind the talent and recognition is an athlete who has a burning passion and dedication to numerous hours of training. Ultimately, this is what molds a seasoned sportsman—one that is also still eager to keep achieving excellence.
When the Philippine National Bowling Team returned to action in the 2021 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, a young Lasallian again achieved another feat in his career. This was Patrick Nuqui (III, BSE-MEM), whose journey to the international competition sharpened and strengthened his character as a student-athlete. After going through trials and tribulations in terms of his career, Nuqui still triumphs and continues his mission toward Philippine bowling excellence.
The two-time SEA Games medalist has an accomplished resumé, spanning both local and international competitions.
After his stint last May, Nuqui added another prestigious bowling title to his record. The 21-year-old was crowned champion of the 2022 Brunswick Manila Open last July 28, edging out the country’s top bowlers in the Youth Masters Division.
Considered a niche sport in the Philippines, Nuqui aims to steer bowling into a brighter future. And with his list of achievements piling up at a young age, it seems that the young Lasallian’s dominant run is far from over.
A risen prodigy
While bowling, for many, is a hobby that is considered a pastime, Nuqui had humble beginnings as a bowler. He shares that it was his father who first introduced him to the sport, and later on encouraged him to pursue it professionally after a coach saw his potential while he played at a bowling center.
But it was not after he finished third in his first youth tournament that he decided to blaze his own trail in the sport. “I guess at that time, I felt like, ‘Hey this is cool,’ parang there’s some competition in this sport and I got the chance to win. That fueled me [and] gave me an interest to keep going,” Nuqui recalls. Since then, as a 17-year-old, Nuqui’s next goal was to be part of the national team. “Gradually, I think ‘yun ‘yung direction ko talaga, which was to become a national bowler,” says the Lasallian.
(I think that’s the direction I was going for.)
Unfortunately, on his first try, Nuqui was unable to make the cut for the national team roster in 2017 and had to wait a whole year before the next tryout. “‘Yung mindset ko was entirely to prepare myself for that tryout opportunity again”—and that was exactly what Nuqui did.
The year 2018 spelled triumph and improvement for the hardworking bowler. In his dedication to make the national team, Nuqui participated and placed no lower than the fourth runner-up in all the local tournaments that year, allowing him to move up in the local ranks. Nuqui credits his countless hours of training and participation in competitive tournaments, which aided him in finally making the national team. “[It] (2018) was a good year kasi I won a bunch of tournaments and I think that led me to perform better at the end of the year sa tryouts,” he attests.
The young Lasallian then continued his bowling excellence the following year as he managed to crack a spot in the 2019 SEA Games roster. As a member of an underdog Philippine team, the rookie bowler made a mark in his debut against his childhood heroes in the region: countries such as Indonesia and Thailand. Nuqui eventually aided the team in bagging a silver medal in the team event at the said tourney—the country’s first since 2011.
But his achievements were not limited to Asian competitions. Finding their groove, Nuqui and his squad also secured a bronze-medal finish in the 2021 International Bowling Federation World Bowling Championship. To achieve such a feat, the team faced off against the top bowlers from around the world despite only having a month-long preparation. The competition at the championship was no joke as it featured more than 30 countries, upping the scale from the usual regional tournaments that only have 15 or so.
Coming off successful stints, the Philippine bowling team eventually found themselves bagging the coveted gold medal in the 2021 SEA Games. “So many things can keep you from competing, so the fact na I got to play in this [year’s] SEA Games is a great opportunity na I can be thankful for. To represent the country—that in itself is already a great honor for me,” Nuqui relishes. To add further emphasis to his accomplishments, like many others, the bowler had to face turmoil in preparations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet, he and his team emerged victorious on multiple occasions.
Only the beginning
As the national team continues to rack up successful performances internationally, Nuqui believes that the sport is significantly gaining traction. “I think if we continue ‘yung streak namin, [and] ‘yung success namin, I think in the future, bowling will be bigger, hopefully,” he projects.
In improving the sport at the grassroots level, Nuqui wishes to witness international tournaments held in the Philippines, bringing back the bowling culture in the country where other nations send promising youthful bowlers to compete against local talents. Aside from that, the integration of bowling in college sports programs would be the next thing he wants to see.
With his storied athletic journey at a young age, he reminds aspiring bowlers to continue moving forward by playing their hearts out, “Keep on practicing, keep on playing, never lose your energy, never lose hope, [and] always believe in yourself.”
Looking to continue his momentum this 2022, Nuqui and the Philippine Bowling Team will represent the country at the 2022 IBF World Cup in November.