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Canlubang, Luisita renew storied rivalry


Manila Southwoods is threatening to gatecrash the party of traditional rivals Canlubang and Luisita when the Philippine Airlines Interclub senior golf tournament is held in February in Cebu City.

Fresh from its successful title-retention run in the 72nd Fil-Am Invitational in Baguio City, Southwoods is poised to make a serious drive after campaigning in the Founders division for many years.

Two years ago, the Carmona-based squad finished only fifth in the second-tier division topped by Del Monte.

Southwoods, however, has slowly strengthened its lineup through the years as shown by its back-to-back wins in Baguio City.

The addition of Junjun Plana, who is still good enough to play in the regular tournament, makes Southwoods dangerous.

Four players of the team that won the Fil-championship class in Baguio — Plana, Judd Roy, Manfred Guangko, and Theodore Pascual — are expected to form the core of the squad.

Raul Minoza, the fifth player, usually plays for his hometown Del Monte.

JUNJUN Plana’s addition makes Southwoods very dangerous in the PAL Interclub senior golf tournament.

“We will try to convince Raul to join us,” Southwoods captain Freddie Mendoza said.

“We’ll possibly try forming early next year but the gist of the team will come from our Fil-am squad with a couple of changes. Some may not be available.”

Mendoza can look at the players who saw action in the Am-Championship: Thirdy Escano, Daniel Samaniego, Alexander Ignacio, Raulito Magpantay, Joseph Tambunting and Ryan Abdon.

Still, the main storyline will be the battle royale between defending champion Canlubang and Luisita whose stranglehold dates back to the start of the century.

Luisita has the most titles with 17 but Canlubang has won 11 of the last 15 editions, including a narrow four-point victory two years ago in Bacolod City.

Canlubang will be fielding an intact lineup led by Abe Rosal, the youngest.

PHOTOGRAPHS BY JOEY SANCHEZ MENDOZA for the daily tribune @tribunephl_joey
TOMMY Manotoc will provide the veteran presence for Canlubang in the PAL Interclub senior golf tournament.

Tommy Manotoc and Rolly Viray, the eldest at 73 years old, form the backbone of the team which includes Zaldy Villa, Damasus Wong, Mari Hechanova, Abe Avena and Rene Unson.

Except for Rosal, Viray, and Villa, the rest of the team saw action in the Fil-am Invitational for various squads.

“Nothing changed except that we got older,” Manotoc said.

“We are aging but we have the experience.”

Luisita will be returning to the site of its last victory in 2019.

“The team likes the Cebu courses,” Luisita’s non-playing captain Jeric Hechanova said.

“We are due for a win.”

Three years ago, Luisita saw its overnight six-point margin reduced to a single point before the former University of Santo Tomas basketball player Edmund Yee went one-under in the last three holes at the Alta Vista Golf and Country Club.

Canlubang was undone by Wong’s pair of out-of-bounds shots and lost by three points.

Yee, a successful businessman, is no longer part of the team but Luisita boasts of young additions in Marty Ilagan and Ronnie Littaua.

Benjie Sumulong is one of the mainstays of the team including Rodel Mangulabnan, Dan Cruz, Chino Raymundo, Jingy Tuason, and Demy Saclot.

Conspicuously absent is Eddie Bagtas.

Negros Occidental Golf and Country Club and Cebu Country Club are the other teams that are expected to play in the championship division.

The seniors’ event will be held from 23 to 26 February at the Alta Vista Golf Club and Club Filipino de Cebu.

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