DAVAO: Manila Southwoods again came out with all guns firing on Thursday, pooling a second straight 136 points to now be 14 ahead of Canlubang halfway through the 70th Philippine Airlines (PAL) Interclub Men’s Championship.
With Japanese teenager Yuto Katsiragawa matching par 72 worth 36 points and Ira Alido and Liam Cully shooting 34s, the Carmona-based squad again got solid numbers from everyone for a 36-hole 272 total as the team’s chances for a first-ever “three-peat” keeps getting better by the day.
But non-playing skipper Thirdy Escano refuses to fall into a false sense of security, considering the calibre of the team that’s giving them chase.
“They will never be a push-over,” Escano said, referring to the Sugar Barons, who drew 36 points from Gido Mandanas and 34 from Carlo Villaroman but got just 33 from Rupert Zaragosa at Rancho Palos Verdes here but still managed to stay close.
“Fourteen (points) is not a comfortable lead, especially against that team,” Escano went on as he bared that he will be “tweaking” his lineup for the third round today to prepare for Saturday’s last 18 holes at Apo Golf.
Either of Jama Reyes and Aidric Chan’s 32 counted as the fourth score for Southwoods, downplaying the balance in Escano’s lineup, while Cangolf threw away the 24 of Bambam Santos after Marco Olives’ 30 counted as the fourth card.
Zaragosa, the pint-sized multiple national champion, had two of his bogeys in the back nine and picked up on the par-5 12th hole, while Olives was working on a three-over card heading into his final three holes only to drop shots in each of them.
“That’s why you cannot get over confident against a team like Canlubang, because, clearly, we just had the better breaks today out there,” Escano said.
Del Monte wrested third place from Luisita at 238 after getting 38 points from Jelbert Gamolo – the lowest score thus far – and 32 from Julius Bautista for the chunk of its second round 127.
The Luisitans, whose Senior team triumphed last Saturday, had just 117 to be six points behind the Bukidnon-based team. Senior standout Jingy Tuason scored 32 and was the high scorer for Luisita.
The 70th PAL Interclub Platinum sponsors are Mareco Broadcasting Network, A&E Networks Asia, RMN Networks, The Manila Standard, Fox Networks Group, Rolls-Royce, TV5, MasterCard, TFC and Business Mirror.
Major sponsors include Asian Air Safari, Airbus, Primax Broadcasting Network and Sabre Airline Solutions while Corporate sponsors are Baron Travel Corporation, Boeing, MX3, GE Aviation, Bombo Radyo Philippines, Asia Brewery, Tanduay Distillers, Sabre Airline Solutions and Tourism Promotions Board.
The donors are Shangri-La at The Fort, Trinity Insurance and Eton Properties.
Third round action will again be at well-manicured Palos Verdes and Escano wants nothing less than the same effort from his boys just to stay comfortably ahead going back to tree-lined Apo Golf.
“Anything can still happen with Canlubang breathing behind your neck,” he said. “Fielding in the final two days will still be of utmost importance, that’s where their (Barons’) coaching experience comes in and we have to be ready.”
A total of 83 teams are entered in the four-day, five-division event which ends on Saturday. They are playing at the Apo Golf and Country Club and Rancho Palos Verdes.