Nicco Olaivar of PBA-Philippines and 2016 Asian School Team and All Events gold medallist, Merwin Tan set the early pace with 236 in their opening game to share the lead ten pins ahead of 2017 ABF Tour Thailand leg first runner-up, Jay Leon Guerrero of Guam.
Olaivar added another superb second game of 252 to stretch his lead to 25 pins as Singapore's Ahmad Safwan moved up into second spot. JM Villanueva of MBA-Philippines and Hengki Susanto took up third and fourth while Tan slipped down to fifth.
Safwan rolled two strong games of 246 and 216 to take over the lead at the halfway mark as Tan recovered to move back up to second spot, 34 pins adrift. Hengki stayed close to the leading duo in third with Guerrero in fourth.
Despite managing only 186 in the fifth game, Safwan kept the lead as Tan continued in second but reducing the lead to 21 pins.