TV-tested Allen rolls into another finals

Patrick Allen and Wes Malott might need to join whatever union is required to perform regularly on television.

By finishing as the leader in the PBA Tournament of Champions on Friday at Red Rock Lanes, Allen advanced to the nationally televised singles-format, stepladder finals for a PBA Tour-record fifth straight time.

It will be the fourth straight appearance for Malott, who rallied from fifth place to make the top four.

Malott will play Mike Scroggins at 9:30 a.m. Sunday in the opening match on ESPN, with the winner advancing to face Rhino Page, who jumped from fifth to second in the 48th game and position round.

The semifinal winner gets to take on Allen, who rallied in the last eight games to take the lead from Scroggins with three games left Friday night.

“I think I’m more focused right now than anyone in the building,” said Allen, 38, an 11-time Tour winner from Wesley Chapel, Fla.

He posted a 16-8 record during match play the past two days, the best record among the top four. His average for 48 games is 238.48.

While more viewers have seen Allen’s face, the 6-foot-4-inch, 250-pound Malott has hogged the camera by winning two of the Tour’s past five tournaments.

Malott, the only right-handed bowler remaining, won last week at Medford, Ore., and Allen the week before in Reno.

“I have a lot of confidence right now, and I’m getting some key hits to keep the momentum going,” said Malott, 32, a five-time PBA Tour titlist from Pflugerville, Texas.

Scroggins struggled in the position round in a 265-207 loss to Allen on lanes 31 and 32.

“I struggled in that part of the center all week,” said Scroggins, relieved that the finals will be on lanes 9 and 10.

“Fortunately I made the show, and it’s a new ballgame now,” he said.

For Page, the No. 2 seed and last season’s top rookie, the entire week has been a whole new game. The 25-year-old Kansan is competing in his first Tournament of Champions, during which the 50 greatest bowlers in the PBA Tour’s 50-year history will be honored tonight at Red Rock.

Page, who has one title this year, needed every pin in his final 254 game and 30 bonus pins for beating Ryan Shafer, who fell from third to fifth.

Contact reporter Jeff Wolf at jwolf@ or 702-383-0247.

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