THIS WEEKEND ON FOX: PBA Playoffs Semifinals Saturday at Noon ET; Finals Sunday at 12:30 p.m.
by Jerry Schneider | Friday, May 31, 8:54 AM
PORTLAND, Maine -- Another chapter in PBA history will be written when Anthony Simonsen, Kris Prather, Bill O’Neill and Sean Rash return to Bayside Bowl Saturday and Sunday for the live semifinal and final rounds of the inaugural PBA Playoffs on FOX. In addition to becoming the first PBA Playoffs champion, the winner takes home a $100,000 first prize, the biggest payday of the 2019 Go Bowling! PBA Tour season.
The first semifinal match gets underway at noon ET Saturday with No. 4 seed Simonsen vs. No. 9 seed Prather. It will be followed by No. 6 Rash vs. No. 7 O’Neill. The winners will return for the Finals at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday.
The journey to the PBA Playoffs semifinals started in January with the PBA Hall of Fame Classic, the first Go Bowling! PBA Tour tournament of the season. After 12 more tournaments – including three majors (PBA Tournament of Champions, PBA Players Championship and USBC Masters) – the top 24 players on the points list earned berths in the Playoffs and a trip to Bayside Bowl for Round of 24, 16 and 8 matches that aired on FS1 over the past eight weeks.
The 2019 season has already been a milestone season for both Simonsen and Prather.
Simonsen won the PBA Players Championship to become the youngest player to win two majors (at age 22). After seven consecutive top five finishes over the past two seasons, the 27-year-old Prather finally broke through for his first PBA Tour title by winning the PBA Scorpion Championship at World Series of Bowling X.
Saturday’s second stepladder match will feature a pair of PBA Tour veterans and future Hall of Fame candidates. O’Neill won the season-opening PBA Hall of Fame Classic for his 10th PBA Tour title and Rash won the PBA Mark Roth-Marshall Holman Doubles Championship with Matt Ogle for his 13th PBA Tour title. The pair of 14-year PBA Tour veterans will bowl in a head-to-head match on national television for the first time.
Competition will once again feature the unique Race to 2 Points format where each game won in the match is worth one point. If the players split the first two games, a ninth and 10th frame tie-breaker is used to award the deciding point.
Sunday’s 90-minute finals telecast will feature the broadcast team of announcer Rob Stone, analyst Randy Pedersen and sideline reporter Kimberly Pressler, plus input by PBA Tour competitors Jason Belmonte and Kyle Troup as bonus commentators. The telecast also will include the special analytics introduced by FOX for the 2019 season plus the addition of a second super slow-motion camera, and a “jib” camera that will provide unique perspective shots inside Bayside Bowl.