|Full name||Rafael Villareal Nepomuceno|
January 30, 1957|
Quezon City, Philippines
|Alma mater||Adamson University|
|Spouse(s)||Saira R. Puyat|
|Coached by||Angel Nepomuceno|
|Now coaching||Krizziah Tabora|
|Achievements and titles|
Early life and education
Rafael "Paeng" Nepomuceno was born on January 30, 1957 in Quezon City, Philippines to Angel Nepomuceno and Teresa Villareal. Paeng Nepomuceno's father, Angel, is a bowling coach while his mother is a former Miss Philippines (1952). He attended La Salle Green Hills for his elementary and high school studies.
Paeng Nepomuceno was initially into golf at age 10 but later switched to bowling. He got involved in bowling after he and his father sought shelter at the Mile High Bowling Center in Baguio due to rain. He then asked his father to enroll him in a junior league held at Coronado Lanes in Metro Manila.
His first tournament was the Philippine Junior Masters Championship, which he won at age 15. He also won the Philippine International Masters at age 17, becoming the youngest winner of the tournament.
He competed at the Bowling World Cup, becoming the men's champion in four editions (1976, 1980, 1992, and 1996). He was 19 years old when he won the 1976 edition. For this feat he was recognized by Guinness World Records as the youngest bowling champion. He has three Guinness World Records, which are all unbroken.
Nepomuceno also competed at the Southeast Asian Games. He led a bowling squad that won 9 gold, 6 silver, and 4 bronze medals for the Philippines at the 1981 edition which was hosted in Manila. He himself can be credited for 3 out of the 7 bowling gold medals won at the 1987 games in Jakarta and 1 out of 4 gold medals won at the 1991 games in Manila. He has won a total of 30 gold medals in the South East Asian games.
He also won the 1984 World Invitational Tournament, a competition held in conjunction with the Summer Olympics held in the same year, and the World Tenpin Masters in 1999. That year he suffered a left-hand injury, which required surgery which temporarily sidelined him from bowling.
In 2011, he became the oldest winner of the Philippine International Masters, at age 54. By 2013, he had won at least 124 career titles, six of which are world titles. His latest title, his 131st, was won at the 2016 PSB Open Bowling Championships Senior Masters in September 2016.
Nepomuceno joined United States Bowling Congress in 2007 as an International Ambassador to help promote the sport of bowling. In the same year he began aiming to become a USBC certified coach and started training to become a USBC Coaching Level I and Bronze Instructor. He hosted seminars discussing coaching and the sport itself. He underwent training the International Training and Research Center in Arlington, Texas to attain a USBC gold level coaching certification, which he earned by 2013. He received the certification at the World Coaching conference at the USBC headquarters the following year. He is the first and only Asian to attain the certification.
The Philippine Bowling Federation announced on March 21, 2016 that Nepomuceno had been tasked to mentor the country's national bowlers as their head coach. Under his watch, Krizziah Tabora became the women's champion of the 2017 QubicaAMF Bowling World Cup.
By world sporting bodies
The International Olympic Committee awarded Nepomuceno its highest sports award, the IOC President's Trophy, in November 1999, in an elaborate ceremony in Abu Dhabi. In the same year the Federation Internationale des Quilleurs (FIQ) named him as the "Athlete of the Millennium".
He was the first international male bowler to be inducted into the International Bowling Hall of Fame, in 1993. A statue of him is displayed in front of the entrance of the International Bowling Museum in Arlington, Texas, where the hall of fame is hosted.
From the government
Nepomuceno has received recognition from the Philippine Presidents for his feats in bowling. Five Philippine presidents have conferred on him orders and medals, including the Presidential Medal of Merit by Ferdinand Marcos, Philippine Legion of Honor by Joseph Estrada, and the Order of Lakandula with Class of Champion for Life by Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. He is the first Filipino athlete to be awarded the Presidential Medal of Merit (1984) and the Philippine Legion of Honor (1999). The other presidents that have honored Paeng are President Corazon C. Aquino and President Fidel V. Ramos.
Both the Philippine Senate and House of Representatives have declared Paeng the "Greatest Philippine Athlete of All Time". He was also named Philippine Athlete of the Century by the Philippine Sportswriters Association in 1999.
The Philippine Sportswriters Association recognized Nepomuceno as the Athlete of the Year five times (in 1976, 1980, 1984, 1992, and 1996). The association inducted him to their Hall of Fame in 1997, and in 1999 named him among the "Athletes of the Millennium".
The World Bowling Writers awarded him the Mort Luby Jr. Distinguished Service Award, named him World Bowler of the Year three times (1984, 1985, and 1992), and named him to the World Bowling Writers Hall of Fame in 1993 as its first inductee.
The Philippine Jaycees gave Nepomuceno a Ten Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) Award in 1978. He was inducted into the De La Salle Alumni Association Sports Hall of Fame in 2003 and was also awarded with the Distinguished Lasallian Award in 2009. He has been part of Adamson University's Hall of Fame since 2012.
He has three records listed at the Guinness World Records. The record recognizes him as the "youngest tenpin bowling champion" by winning the 1976 Bowling World Cup (BWC) in Tehran, for winning "world titles in three decades" (1976, 1980, 1992, and 1996 BWC titles), and for winning the most career titles in bowling (124 titles as of the 2013 edition of Guinness).
Paeng Nepomuceno has been married to Saira Puyat since he was 25. They have a son and two daughters.
Currently he is a professor and a senior lecturer at the University of the Philippines.
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