Solid Luisita opens defense of PAL Senior crown
BACOLOD—Rock-solid Luisita and the ever-gritty Canlubang side open another chapter of their storied rivalry beginning Wednesday when the 34th edition of the Philippine Airlines Seniors Interclub golf team championship tees off, with the Luisitans again installed as the slight favorites and the Sugar Barons labeled as the only team that could stop them.Former pro Eddie Bagtas, for so long the face of the Luisita Senior program, will be back for another tour of duty even as Tommy Manotoc, the ageless wonder regarded as one of the finest amateurs this country has ever produced, will be bannering the Sugar Barons, who lost narrowly in Cebu last year and have come to this progressive city with a battle cry to win this one for team owner Luigi Yulo.
“We will all be playing for Luigi,” Manotoc told the Inquirer after squeezing in a total of 24 holes of practice at Marapara and Binitin on Monday. Yulo is recovering from an illness and was advised by his doctors to rest.
Tony Olives will be the nonplaying skipper for the Sugar Barons vice Yulo, while Jeric Hechanova skippers the Luisitans.
“It is important for us to play well on the first day and hopefully lead or be just a few strokes behind the leaders,” said Hechanova, who is fielding virtually the same team that scored a three-point victory over Canlubang last year.
Only Edmund Yee is not around for Luisita, his spot taken by returnee Jingy Tuason.The other Luisita players are Benjamin Sumulong, Chino Raymundo, Chito Laureta, Rafael Garcia, Rodel Mangulabnan and Demetrio Saclot.
“The courses’ conditions are the best that I have ever seen,” Manotoc said. “Light rains made the fairways softer.”Manotoc, who at 70 remains Canlubang’s leader, will be backstopped by Abe Rosal, Zaldy Villa, Rolly Viray, Damasus Wong, Abe Avena, Mari Hechanova and Rene Unson.
NOGCC, led by veteran Francis Gaston, looms as tournament dark horse while CCC hopes to duplicate its success in the regular PAL Interclub last year. INQ
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