DAVAO—Call it the calm before the storm.
Cebu Country Club and Del Monte, both seeking a first in the PAL Interclub Men’s Championship, braced for a final-round shootout at the tree-lined Apo Golf here today by keeping their big guns silent Friday.
The Cebuanos actually saw their 10-point overnight lead dwindle to seven at the easier Rancho Palos Verdes course, but it was a small price to pay for a chance to preserve their best squad for the round that matters the most.
Scoring just 122 on the strength of Carl Almario’s four-over-par 76 worth 32 points, Cebu CC held the defending champions at bay with a 379 aggregate.
Del Monte kept pro-bound Banny Abano and Clyde Mondilla in the freezer, but still gutted out 125 points behind the 35 of Leonardo Lofranco for 372, making today’s final 18 holes a virtual two-horse race with first-round leader Alabang now a faraway 21 points behind.
“It was a good result even though we didn’t have a good game,” said Montito Garcia, CCC’s acknowledged leader who chipped in with 30 points. “I didn’t expect them to get some (points) from us. But we will be fielding our strongest lineup (today).”
Jovi Neri accounted for 31 points and burly Bayani Garcia struggled to just 29 as Cebu CC remained on track toward a maiden Championship Division crown in the tournament.
Playing skipper Yoyong Velez shone with 34 points for Del Monte, which also drew 30 from Magno Arancon and 26 from Mark Mondilla.
Del Monte, which is seeking to win this tournament away from home for the first time, discarded the 26 of Julius Bautista.
Alabang scored a day-best 130 behind Justin Quiban’s 37—equivalent to a 71, the tournament’s first sub-par card—and the 34 of Dax Garcia for a 358 total.
AR Ramos had 30 and Jama Reyes carded 29 for Alabang. JB Garcia’s 25 failed to count.
Playing for Cebu CC today are Lloyd Jefferson Go, the 17-year-old who matched par at Apo on Thursday, Montito Garcia, Mark Dy, Eric Deen and 16-year-old Gio Gandiongco.
Giving Abano and the former national titlist Mondilla support will be JJ Gamolo, Lawrence Cubillo and Noel Langamin.
Cebu scored 134 points Thursday at Apo, which also decided the Senior championship Saturday when Canlubang erased a 12-point deficit in the last round to pip Luisita.
Meanwhile, Wack Wack stayed precariously on top of the Founders class at Rancho Palos Verdes after pooling 120 points for 353 overall and a four-point lead over Orchard.
Oliver Gan led the Mandaluyong-based squad with 32 points, with Tommy Manotoc shooting 31 and Garry Uy and 14-year-old Gabriel Manotoc firing 30 and 27, respectively.
Orchard drew 31 from Wolen Superal and 30 each from Ace Stehmeir, TJ Benitez and Tonito Payumo for 121.
Meanwhile, Alfonso Quitangon of Riviera scored a hole-in-one on No. 17 at Palos Verdes.
The tournament’s platinum sponsors are Mareco Broadcasting Network, Radio High, Stargate Media, Media Five, GE, while its major backers are Asia Brewery, Business Mirror and Airbus.
Also lending support are the Department of Tourism, Philippine Graphics, Boeing International Corp., Bombo Radyo, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Manila Bulletin, Moevenpick Resort & Spa Cebu, Plantation Bay, Radisson Blu Hotel and Imperial Palace Waterpark & Spa Cebu.