Rafael "Paeng" Nepomuceno, Order of Lakandula (born January 30, 1957 in Manila) is a six-time World Ten-pin bowling Champion Filipino bowler. He has won the World Cup of Bowling four times (1976, 1980, 1992 and 1996). Nepomuceno has also won the World's Invitational Tournament in 1984 and the World Tenpin Masters championship in 1999.
In its September 2003 issue, the Prestigious Bowlers Journal International named Paeng as the Greatest International Bowler of All Time.
He is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records for three records:
1) for most Bowling World cup wins, 4, in three different decades. 2) for being the youngest ever to win the Bowling World Cup (at 19 years of age),
and 3) for having won the most number of bowling tournament titles. Currently, Paeng has 131 career bowling titles. Paeng who still actively competes up to this day is the only bowling athlete to have won or awarded titles in the Americas, Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Currently he is the head coach of the Philippine National Mens and Ladies bowling teams and also teaches at the University of the Philippines as a senior lecturer professor for bowling.
He is the only bowling athlete in the world who has received the prestigious International Olympic Committee President's Trophy and was the first international male bowling athlete to be enshrined in the International Bowling Hall of Fame and Museum based in Arlington, Texas in 1993 where his seven-foot image is displayed at the Museum's entrance. In November 1999, the Federation Internationale des Quilleurs (FIQ) named Paeng as the "International Bowling Athlete of the Millennium."
Paeng is the only athlete in the Philippines who has been given the highest award to a Filipino by five Philippine presidents.In 1984, Paeng was awarded the Presidential Medal of Merit by President Ferdinand E. Marcos, the highest award given to a Filipino by a Philippine President.
In 1989, Paeng was given a Presidential Citation by President Corazon C. Aquino at Malacanang for his various victories internationally and locally.
President Fidel V. Ramos honored Paeng at the Malacanang Palace on three separate occasions for his two World Cup wins and for being named "Athlete of the Year" twice during his term as President.
In 1999, President Joseph E. Estrada awarded Paeng the Philippine Legion of Honor, becoming the first-ever Filipino to receive that honor.
In 2008, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo awarded Paeng the Order of Lakandula with Class of Champion for Life and was declared Best Filipino athlete of all time.
Both the Philippine Senate and House of Representatives have declared Paeng the "Greatest Philippine Athlete of All Time".
Paeng was named Athlete of the Century by the Philippine Sportswriters Association in the end of 1999 and Athlete of the Millennium in 2000. The Philippine Sportswriters Association has named him Philippine Athlete of the year a record 5 times. He was the first athlete to be inducted in the Philippine Sportswriters Association Hall of Fame in 1993. . Both house of Congress in the Philippines named him "Greatest Filipino Athlete" in 1999.
On April 19, 2009 Paeng became the first and only bowling athlete to receive all awards in all categories that the World Bowling Writers gives out. He was the recipient of the World Bowling Writers Mort Luby Jr. distinguished service award for his lifetime contribution to the sport. Paeng was also honored by the World Bowling Writers by naming him World Bowler of the Year three times (1984,1985 and 1992).. He was also the first inductee to the World Bowling Writers Hall of Fame in 1993.
Paeng is the first and the only one in Asia to be a USBC GOLD Level Coach. The USBC Gold Level is the highest certification for coaches, much like receiving a doctorate in a field of study. Paeng is one of only 25 coaches from around the world to currently hold the designation. At present Paeng has been designated by the USBC (United States Bowling Congress) as its International Bowling Ambassador for Bowling and promotes bowling around the world and he also Certifies Coaches for USBC.
He is still active in competition and only last May 5, 2009, he established a new four game Philippine National Record when he rolled games of 300,299,268 and 256 for a scintillating average of 280.75 per game. He also bowled 23 strikes in a row when he bowled a perfect 300 game followed by a near perfect 299 game.
He was also a TOYM awardee for sports in 1978 and he is the youngest up to this date to have received this prestigious award given by the Philippine Jaycees.
Nepomuceno was also inducted into the De La Salle University Sports Hall of Fame in 2003 and was also awarded with the Distinguished Lasallian award in 2009 which is De La Salle University's highest award.