Teen bowling champ Zach Ramin hopes to strike more golds for PH

Philip Matel

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Teen bowling champ Zach Ramin hopes to strike more golds for PH

FOCUSED. Zach Ramin in action at the 2023 Singapore International Open

Singapore Bowling Federation

After making history as the youngest and first Filipino male to rule the Singapore Open, teen bowler Zach Ramin wants to keep making the Philippines proud, even as he undergoes mandatory military service next year

MANILA, Philippines – At 6-foot-1, 17-year-old Zach Ramin may have easily been lured to play the Filipino’s sport of choice – basketball.

Although bowling hooked him early on, he still kept training to play hoops and winding up juggling both sports. 

“From a young age, I was only in basketball, mostly. So at one point I had basketball training in the morning, and then bowling training in the afternoon. It was very tiring,” shared Ramin, who’s based in Singapore with his family.

“It was like a three-year span from 9 to 12 (years old). So after that, I saw that I was getting really good at bowling, so I just stopped basketball training. I just play basketball at school.” 

The decision turned out to be right. 

Ramin recently captured the Singapore International Open championship in the men’s open division, becoming the youngest ever to rule the tournament since it started in 1965.

“Feels great,” he said. “It’s just a surreal experience, hearing all of the people around me saying I’m the youngest, I’m the first Filipino (male bowler). It’s just… it’s really crazy to have broken so many records.”

Calm and steady

An underdog all throughout the competition, Ramin knocked down very formidable opponents. 

After ranking 16th out of 24 competitors after two games, he rose to the second spot after scoring an impressive 243 average through six games.

The teenager then punched a ticket to the stepladder semifinals, where he eliminated defending champion Kim Bolleby of Sweden in the 2 vs 3 seed, 201-198.

Entering the championship round, Ramin had to overcome the twice-to-beat advantage of Yannaphon Larpapharat of Thailand, a two-time Southeast Asian Games gold medalist.

Ramin found his groove and defeated the Thai, 189-183, 229-212 to take home the trophy.

CHAMP. Zach Ramin (left) celebrates with the Philippine bowling team.

“Before the stepladder, I was preparing myself… Talking to my coach (Joe Slowinski), I was thinking through the plan… [you have to make sure] that you have a plan already, that you don’t have to make such a big move on the fly,” shared Ramin.

“Because bowling is a very lonely sport, because you’re the only one in the lane, and you’re the only one controlling what’s going to happen.”

“So being able to talk to a coach and communicate with him what’s happening, it also helps in keeping calm and steady,” he added.

Family support

Ramin shared that his interest in the sport actually started from watching a cartoon, then later testing it out himself in a family trip to Tokyo.

“I think my parents brought me on a trip to Japan, and then I saw a big bowling center with a bowling ball and a bowling pin. So I just saw and I really wanted to try it,” he shared.

“I think I remember I wanted to try it because of Tom and Jerry, which was my favorite show back then. And there’s one episode where Tom, I mean Jerry, put the glue in the bowling ball… I was very interested. And after I played like what one, two games, I wanted to try it. I wanted to try training for the sport because I had a lot of fun.” 

Ramin said he’s also grateful for the support of his parents, Rudi and Grace.

“They’re always very supportive of me and my bowling. And they’re always there to watch me,” said Ramin, a student at the Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) in the city-state.

“They don’t mind spending hours in the bowling center watching me… or watch me train. So it’s just, they give me all the strength to do really well in this sport and do the best that I can.”


Olivia “Bong” Coo, one of the Philippines’ all-time bowling greats, witnessed Ramin’s historic feat in Singapore. 

“I was very much impressed because being a bowler myself, and of course, a champion myself, I could see the intensity of his focus,” said Coo, who now serves as commissioner of the Philippine Sports Commission.

“He was very focused, he did not waver in his delivery, despite the pressure.” 

Adult, Female, Person
NEXT GEN AND LEGEND. Zach Ramin celebrates his triumph with bowling legend Bong Coo.

Coo noted Ramin’s resolve and the maturity, lauding him for being coachable. She also hopes Ramin will stay grounded even after a breakthrough international win. 

“It’s a learning experience. You have to continue to learn and continue what you need to do to become even better,” the World Bowling Hall of Famer said 

“Whether you are nervous, sad, happy, you should have the exact same routine… it’s the consistency and the ability to deliver.”

Military service

Ramin aims to sustain his winning momentum. A current member of the Philippine youth team, he will compete in the Asian Youth Championships in Bangkok this July.

My mindset is just try my best,” said Ramin. [Aiming] for medals and aiming for a far goal is like, it’s just extra pressure… it won’t help my performance.” 

“But I believe our team is very strong. I believe our team can win some medals. But I don’t want to put pressure on myself or on my teammates because I think if we just have fun and we just play our best, we can definitely get some results.” 

While Ramin remains committed to his roots by choosing to represent the Philippines, he also needs to undergo mandatory military service in Singapore when he turns 18 next year.

The Singapore National Service is a two-year requirement not only for male citizens but also for second-generation male permanent residents like Ramin.

Although the teen kegler said he still plans to find time for bowling training as much as he can, he admits it might not be easy. 

“It depends on where I get stationed, but once I get stationed, at the start it’s six weeks straight, and then it’s five days a week after that,” he said.

But even if it’s a challenge, Ramin hopes to keep his form as he aims to represent the Philippines full-time following his mandatory service in Singapore.

“Competing and bringing more medals for the Philippines is really important to me,” he said. –

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