Luisita ends five-year title drought in PAL Interclub

Bacolod—Luisita reigned supreme again, beating rival Canlubang, 550-546, in a classic duel at the close of the 63rd Philippine Airlines (PAL) Interclub seniors tournament at the Negros Occidental Golf and Country Club.
The long struggle finally ended for Luisita, which had finished runner-up to 16-time winner Canlubang in the last four editions of the PAL Interclub.  With its latest win, the newly-crowned champ earned its 14th title overall.
Francis Gaston, the 60-year-old local bet, proved steadier by carding an inspiring even-par 70 equivalent to 54 PAL Stableford points at the Marapara course while veteran Richie Garcia contributed 46 for Luisita.
Bong Sison rounded out Luisita’s 142 output in the finale as rallied at the back nine to end with 42 markers.  Minieng Maravilla’s 37 did not count.
Canlubang, whose four-win-streak came to a halt, was led by Tommy Manotoc’s 50 points, followed by Bing Bunye’s 46 and Mari Hechanova’s 44 for 140 yesterday.  Rolly Viray bombed out with a 41.
“Canlubang is a tough team to beat especially with Tommy (Manotoc) around.  That’s why I had to play my best in the final nine,” said Gaston, who had two birdies on Nos. 3, 7 and 12 and bogeys on Nos. 11, 14 and 15 for that level par.
Just four ahead before the final round, Luisita lost the lead after nine holes as Bong Sison and Minieng Maravilla struggled in the early holes which allowed the dethroned defending champion Canlubang to catch up.
In fact, Canlubang’s senior Sugar Barons had regained the lead after 13 holes.  It could not sustain, however, the drive for crown No. 17.  Still, there’s nothing to be ashamed with their performances.  It battled back in third round and for most past Sunday.
“They played a little better than us, although, the players all have had difficulties playing the Marapara,” said Canlubang manager Luigi Yulo.
The 63rd PAL Interclub, with this year’s theme “Swing High in Bacolod”, opens this year’s sporting season for the national flag carrier which flies five times a day to the capital of Negros Occidental, just one of the country’s many golfing venues regularly served by PAL.
The event is presented by platinum sponsors Airbus, Boeing, 105.1 Crossover and Radio Mindanao Network.  Major sponsors are Action Asia, GE Aviation, MTV Philippines, People Asia and Royal Caribbean.
The corporate backers are Business Mirror, Philippine Graphic,, Sabre Airline Solutions/Sabre Travel Network and Resort World Manila.  Century Park Hotel, DWWW 774 AM, Panay News, Master Card and Thales Aerospace are minor patrons.(pr)
Luisita champs: (from left to right) Bong Sison, Francis Gaston, Pepot Inigo, Richie Garcia, Minieng Maravilla.(PAL pool photo)

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