“You have to set your goals and continue to work towards it. The road to achieving it is not easy. It takes a lot of patience and motivation to get through depressing times. Discipline to avoid the temptations of vices. Dedication and determination to keep you moving forward. In the end it is all worth it.” -Thomasian World-champion bowler Mr. Engelberto “Biboy” Rivera.
The 1996 BS Tourism graduate first loved basketball. In fact, he was part of the varsity team of Don Bosco Makati when he was in High School. He aspired to be a basketball player of UST Growling Tigers, but because of his height, he wasn’t able to join the roster. In spite of this, he was not discouraged. He lifted up his spirit and turned his attention to another sport that would match his physique.
Back then, he have witnessed matches of Paeng Nepomuceno and Bong Coo on TV. He was later on encouraged by his schoolmate in Don Bosco to try bowling. After their periodical exams, he and his classmates would, then, play billiards and bowling to celebrate.
While he was starting in 1992, he was first trained by Orly Gan who taught him the basics of the game and guided him until he made it to the National Youth Team.Since he was exhibiting with great aptitude and dexterity in bowling, he trained and developed more his skills with several mentors such as John Losito, a foreign coach who taught him advance techniques; Madoka Amano, a Japanese coach; and Bong Coo, who taught him the aspects of the game, how to win, and how to keep winning. Bong Coo also taught him discipline, determination, and dedication. He eventually competed in various local and international bowling tournaments astonishing everyone of his feat.
His tenacity and passion for bowling paved his way towards achieving 55 perfect 300 score game. Aside from this, he has represented the Philippines for the past 17 years earning different titles. Among his titles are 1996 Gold Medalist in Singles and Masters in 8th FIQ Asian Youth; 2001 Masters Champion in 9th China International Open; 2001 Gold Medalist (5 Man Team) in the 21st SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; 2002 Gold Medalist (Doubles) and Silver Medalist (all events) in 17th Asian Championships; 2004 Masters Champion in 30th Hong Kong International Open; Silver Medalist (5-Man Team) in 2005 SEA Games; 2006 Master’s Champion in Philippine International Open; 2006 Gold, Masters in World Championships in Busan, Korea; 2006 and 2011 Athlete of the Year in Philippine Sports Writers Association; 2007 Champion in Asian Bowling Tour; 2009 Champion in PSB Open, Greenvalley and in Khalifa Ramadan Open, Abu Dhabi, UAE; 2009 Bronze Medalist in Singles Game in Asian Indoor Games; 2nd Runner-up at 2010 World Cup, Toulon, France; 2010 Gold Medalist in Singles Game in Asian Games; 2011 Silver Medalist in Doubles, Bronze Medalist in 3-Man team, and Silver Medalist in 5-Man Team at 26th SEA Games; 2012 Champion in BALP Holloween Open; 2014 Champion in Philippine National Games and AMF World Cup National Eliminations; lastly, 2015 Champion in AMF World Cup National Eliminations.
To reach where he is now, he had to balance a lot of things. While he was still studying in UST and starting with bowling, he had to sacrifice his sleep, social life, and family time to train and prepare for his tournaments, and, of course, to study well. All his hard work and sacrifices now have paved his way to reach the top rank in the Philippine Bowler’s ranking. Until now, he still continues to practice and hone his skills. In spite of all his achievements, he keeps his feet on the ground.
When he was asked in an interview with him, “what makes a Thomasian, Thomasian?”, he heartily responded that “Thomasians are god-centered people. We do everything with dignity, honour and respect.”
Apart from bowling, Mr. Rivera is a business person engaged in construction, and travel and sports apparels. Just like all of us, he loves to bike, watch movies and catch up with his family and friends.
Filipino bowlers are indeed world-class champions. UST surely continues to produce world-class Thomasians to astound the world!