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Plana, Ilagan brace for senior debuts


Junjun Plana and Marty Ilagan, two of the finest golfers produced by Ateneo de Manila, will make their senior debuts in the 72nd Fil-Am Invitational that kicks off on 26 November in Baguio City.

Plana will play for defending champion Manila Southwoods while Ilagan will represent Luisita.

“It is nice to play with older players for a change,” chuckled Plana, a fixture in the Fil-Am since 1984. “It’s a good feeling to be around guys you grew up playing with.”

Plana has been a mainstay of Manila Southwoods, a perennial champion in the regular division. It was only last year that he did not play for the Carmona-based squad.

Sciatica, pain that travels from the lower back through the hips and buttocks and down each leg, has not slowed down Plana who continues to compete in club and other major tournaments, including the Philippine Airlines Interclub.

A former national player, Plana has one club championship under his name at Aguinaldo where he outplayed now-pro Gerald Rosales in the final.

Plana is expected to provide firepower for Southwoods whose title-retention bid is threatened by a souped-up Luisita side.

Despite glowing credentials, Ilagan doesn’t see himself as the team’s top gun.

“I will just play to the best of my abilities,” said Ilagan, a four-time club champion at Manila Southwoods. He also won the Tagaytay Midlands title once.

An elite tennis player, Ilagan switched to golf at the age of 26 and quickly stamped his class, winning at least 13 low gross division crowns with different partners in various club tournaments.

He was also the team captain when Manila Southwoods captured the Federation League in 2006 and helped Ateneo edge La Salle, in their Ryder Cup-type competition during the same year.

Ilagan, however, has been busy with his work as project director/designer of the Balesin International Gateway Golf Club which limited his golf preparations.

Still, he maintains a 2-handicap despite playing less golf.

The two-week event is held in partnership with Baguio Country Club, Camp John Hay Golf Club, The Manor, The Forest Lodge and Le Chef.

The event presenters are 3K Rock Engineering and Construction Corp., Toyota, Boysen and Columbia Sportswear.

The major sponsors are Palm Grove, Britanny Corp., and Asiatraders Corp. while minor sponsors are Time Cargo Logistics, Lola Nena’s, K&G, Rudy Project, JTEN Sports Inc., Januarius Holdings, Beer Below Zero and Tee Sports Gear.

Hole-in-one sponsors are Specs Construction Inc., Noah Business Applications, and Laus Group of Companies while Daily Tribune and The Perfect Drive are media partners.

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