That’s franchise players Jason Belmonte of the Los Angeles X and Chris Barnes of the Silver Lake (Calif.) Atom Splitters.
The two L.A. teams were reunited with their No. 1 players from the past two years in the 2015 Professional Bowlers Assn. League draft, which was held Friday at South Point Bowling Plaza in Las Vegas.
Belmonte and Barnes had become the face of their respective L.A. teams and it was feared they would be headed elsewhere when the league announced plans to re-draft its players from scratch for its third season.
But Belmonte was grabbed by X manager Andrew Cain on the third pick of the first round. Belmonte was widely considered the best player in the league the past two seasons and led his team to the Elias Cup finals in 2014.
The X lost in that championship match to the Atom Splitters, who picked Barnes as the fourth player of the first round. Barnes was drafted by Silver Lake manager Mark Baker.
The L.A. selections of Belmonte and Barnes pretty much squelched an ongoing controversy that the PBA’s re-draft would break up the continuity of all the rosters of the league’s eight teams.
Overall, four franchise players returned to their old teams. Sean Rash was back with the BROOKLYN STyLES. He was the first player drafted. The other returnee was PBA Hall of Famer Pete Weber, who was drafted first by the New York City WTT KingPins on the eighth and final first-round selection.
Weber led the KingPins to the Elias Cup title in the league’s first season in 2013.
Wes Malott, who was a member of the league champion Atom Splitters in 2014, was the second player selected – taken by the Pittsburgh Jack Rabbits.
Dom Barrett was taken fifth – by the Philadelphia Hitmen. Barrett, like Malott and Barnes, was a member of this year’s Atom Splitters. The three Atom Splitter first-round choices were a testament to Silver Lake’s strength in 2014.
The Motown Muscle drafted sixth and selected E.J. Tackett, a member of this year’s X team. Bill O’Neill was the seventh player taken – drafted by the Dallas Strikers.
The other four players taken by the X were Stuart Williams, Martin Larsen, Patrick Allen and Andres Gomez. Gomez will be bowling with the X for his third season.
After Barnes, Silver Lake took Mika Koivuniemi, Tom Daugherty, Dick Allen and Craig Nidiffer.
The eight teams begin competition March 28-29 at Bayside Bowl in Portland, Maine. ESPN will televise all the rounds of the league competition tape-delayed.