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Bowling: Diandra Asbaty helps Emmanouel Fokianos get rolling to 879 series

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The Post-Tribune Women’s and Men’s Awards Tournament will take place next week — women on May 25 and men on May 26 — at Stardust III in Dyer. To find qualifier lists, visit post-trib.suntimes-com/sports. For more details, contact Steve T. Gorches at 314-3797.

Updated: June 16, 2013 6:42AM



When LaPorte’s Emmanouel Fokianos rolled a career-high 879 series in March at Casey’s Lanes, it was a vast improvement from his previous five high series that ranged between 802 and 807.

And, yet, the accomplishment came in Fokianos’ only league for the 2012-13 bowling season.

But the journey to his monster series, which topped John Thode’s previous mark of 869 for all-time high LaPorte Association series, started many years back as a youth bowler in Dyer and Highland.

A Portage native, Fokianos bowled in morning youth leagues at Stardust III and Plaza alongside a young Diandra Asbaty — back when she was Diandra Hyman. In the past year, Asbaty hooked Fokianos up with the Storm IQ Tour solid ball he used to roll the 879.

“A mutual of friend of ours in 1996 told me that he had an opening on a team and he asked me if I was interested in bowling,” he said. “So I traveled to Stardust (III) and then Plaza Lanes for many years and was definitely influenced by Diandra. That Storm IQ Tour has been a great ball, so kudos to her.

“I got my previous ball from (PBA star) Jason Belmonte when I bowled my previous 800 series last year.”

When he was bowling at Stardust III and Plaza, Fokianos was also competing in leagues at Hobart Lanes, Ray’s Lanes and Camelot Bowl, where he was also influenced by local sharpshooters Jay Bridges and Darrell Gilbert Jr.

“I looked up to those guys a lot,” he said. “I was a division behind them coming up, but I loved watching them both bowl. They were fun to watch and I always wanted to play the lanes like them.”

In his 879, Fokianos started the first game with 10 strikes before leaving a 7-pin on a light shot for a 289. He began the second game by leaving a 10-pin on the first shot before going off the sheet for 290. He followed that with a 300 for a total of 23 consecutive strikes to close out the night.

“It was quite a string,” he said, “I threw 35 good shots that night. The two I didn’t carry I thought I threw pretty well. It was a pretty crazy night, but I can’t take too much credit. It was the right equipment and right lanes. I matched up perfectly.”

An active league bowler for many years, Fokianos stepped away from the sport completely for a year and half due to just plain burnout. He’s found joy playing a guitar in a local band, “Greek Tragedy,” while still plying his craft once a week at Casey’s, which is just three minutes from his house. But he won’t lie. The recent success has made him reconsider the level of commitment he will devote to competing in the future.

“I’m definitely thinking about bowling more tournaments, without a doubt,” said Fokianos, whose next tournament could be the Post-Tribune Awards event on May 26 at his old house, Stardust III. “I just bowled the Michigan Bowling Association tourney. I’m definitely interested more in doing weekend tournaments. Leagues are decent and competitive, but I just don’t want to over extend myself again.”



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