BACOLOD?How the shock troopers deliver for either Canlubang or The Country Club will be the key starting Wednesday as centerpiece Men?s action in the 63rd Philippine Airlines Interclub gets off the ground at the Marapara layout here.
The Sugar Barons set their ?five-peat? drive in motion with a team anchored on Mark Fernando and Jonel Ababa, but coach Tommy Manotoc believes that the reserves, not the stars from each team, will spell the difference.
?It will basically be the third or fourth men,? Manotoc told the Philippine Daily Inquirer shortly after practice. ?We may be solid, but they have a solid core, too. And that will be the key, when the third and fourth scores are counted.?
Both squads remained tight-lipped as to who will start, but Canlubang will surely be fielding in rookie Jobim Carlos together with Paul Echavez and Alvin Engino, an ex-caddy at Marapara who wants to prove something in his homecoming.
Carlos and Echavez were the ones who practiced for Cangolf at the Marapara, but surely, the Barons could be fielding one of their stars in Day 1 to get a head start.
?More than anything, leading after the first round would be a big morale booster for any team,? Manotoc said. ?So yes, it?s important that you get a good start.?
Engino was banned by club officials from even playing in his former course over some disagreements and the 28-year-old?s familiarity with the course is something which Manotoc said he would like to bank on.
The Country Club has an edge in that department, with JR Tanpinco, who also serves as a coach, and another ex-caddy in Erwin Madrileno knowing every bump and roll at the Marapara.
?This match will be decided by experience and the second team? where Canlubang has the advantage,? said The Country Club skipper Freddie Mendoza.
?We are actually a development team that?s why we are younger and inexperienced.?
The Country Club will be bannered by Rufino Bayron and Antonio Asistio, players with great talent who were also members of the team that got nipped at the wire in upset fashion by the Barons last year in Davao.
And they would want to erase bitter memories of that setback, with the new stars of the team hoping to make up for losing former RP Amateur champions Ferdie Aunzo and Anthony Fernando to the professional ranks.
While Canlubang is expected to unveil 12-year-old Rupert Saragoza in Binitin on Thursday, TCC could be utilizing Fil-Am rookie Carl Ocampo right in the first day.
Ocampo is a new recruit coming out of Notre Dame in Indiana and based on his practice round at Binitin, he truly has great potentials.