Manila Southwoods knows exactly what it is chasing when regular Men’s Championship division action in the PAL Interclub tees off in two courses in Bacolod on March 8.
“It has never been done before, that’s why the boys are so motivated,” non-playing skipper Thirdy Escano said as the Carmona-based parbusters gun for an unprecedented fourth straight triumph in the country’s unofficial team golf championship.
“The players have started practicing weeks before and some have even gone to Bacolod to sample the layouts,” Escano said, knowing well that Marapara and Binitin are courses that vary very much in character compared to the layouts his young squad is used to playing.
Canlubang and defunct Aguinaldo are the only other teams that have won this event three straight years, with Escano part of that Agui team together with Bong Lopez and several others more than two decades ago.
And just when they had the chance to go for four, the team was suddenly disbanded.
“The club has thrown its full support to the team because we want them to achieve something—history,” Escano, who helped touch off this streak as a player in Cebu three years ago, said. “They all know what’s at stake and they can’t wait to get going.”
Reedy Japanese teener Yuto Katsuragawa will spearhead Southwoods in its “Four-Peat” drive, with the former club champion planing in this week after completing academic requirements back home.
The veteran Jun Jun Plana will again be the steadying presence in the squad made up of mostly teenagers, acting the same role he had in Baguio when Southwoods completed a sweep of the Fil-Am Invitational.
“It’s going to be a tough battle,” Escano said in closing, as he braces for another tough fight with the Sugar Barons.
Meanwhile, PAL president Jimmy Bautista will be doing the ceremonial drive to usher in hostilities on Feb. 26, marking three official days of practice.
Senior’s action gets the ball rolling March 1 with Luisita as defending champion.
This year’s Platinum sponsors are Primax Broadcasting, RMN and Fox, while major sponsors are BusinessWorld Publishing, Rolls Royce, TV5, Philippine Standard.
Other sponsors include Boeing, Under Armour, Eton Properties and Asia Brewery. with “4-Peat”