Del Monte will host the first and third rounds of the 64th Philippine Airlines Men’s Interclub championship on Wednesday, a schedule that certainly augurs well for the hosts looking to win just their second title.
The bets from Manolo Fortich in Bukidnon will come into the four-day event installed as the slight favorites, owing mainly to their familiarity of the course and a 17-year-old spearhead named Clyde Mondilla.
Canlubang is the defending champion looking to win an unprecedented sixth straight title, but the Sugar Barons will be hard-pressed after losing Asian Games silver medal winner Miguel Tabuena two weeks before the start of the event.
Jobim Carlos and Ruperto Zaragosa III, a couple of age-group standouts, and the ageless Tommy Manotoc will banner the Barons, who won this event in overwhelming fashion over The Country Club last year in Negros.
Mark Fernando and Jonel Ababa have both turned pro and Jessie Balasabas couldn’t fit in the team because of the new handicapping system as Canlubang reactivated Abe Rosal and will be fielding another senior in Dave Hernandez.
The Country Club is listed as doubtful as of this writing, but if the Laguna-based club decides to send an entry, it will be the hands-down choice as the team to beat with a huge number of talented amateurs in its stable.
After finishing second in the last three years, The Country Club had informed organizers last Feb. 11 that it might not be able to send a team this year. And should that happen, it will be suspended for next year and would have to reapply for membership if it wants to play in 2013.
Del Monte will no doubt be Mondilla’s team, and the son of the club’s caddy master is prepared to handle the pressure of the Interclub.
“I will just do my best and contribute in the best way possible to the team,” Mondilla said in Filipino before teeing off Monday for his practice round at Pueblo de Oro here. “There’s no pressure, actually, only the eagerness to play.”
Mondilla will be trying to anchor a charge that would deny Canlubang another sweep of hostilities after the Barons, through Manotoc and an intrepid backup crew, romped off with a 28-point victory over Luisita in the Seniors Championship Division on Sunday.
This year’s competition is backed by platinum sponsors Boeing, Airbus, Radio Mindanao Network, Business Mirror and Interactive Broadcast Media (DWWW). Major sponsors are People Asia, 105.1 Crossover, GE Aviation, Asia Brewery Inc. and Traversing the Orient.
Also lending support are corporate sponsors Manila Bulletin and Bombo Radyo Philippines, while minor sponsors are Lufthansa Technik Philippines, MasterCard and Century Park Hotel. Prize donors include Panasonic Avionics and Tanduay.
More detailed information on the tournament is available on the dedicated PAL Interclub webpage at www.palinterclub.com. (pr)