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Del Monte coasts along to PAL victory with 18-point lead

ROMEO Jaraula cards another great round to pace virtual champion Del Monte. | PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF PAL Interclub

MANOLO FORTICH, Bukidnon — All it has to do was play the final round Sunday with the same gusto it did over the last few days and then step up the stage to claim the crown.

Del Monte played yet another solid round on Saturday, putting up an almost insurmountable 18-stroke advantage to virtually claim the team championship in the Philippine Airlines Seniors Interclub tournament.

Del Monte amassed 155 points and has all but put away the centerpiece division crown after opening up an 18-point lead over Canlubang heading into the final round at Pueblo de Oro.

“Things are looking good for us going into the last day,” playing skipper Yoyong Velez, the opening 18 hero for Del Monte who comes out for the fourth round, said.

“Everybody delivered, and obviously it’s a good thing.”

Romeo Jaraula carved out a level par 72 worth 54 points and paced Del Monte for the second straight day, his two-round stint this season over the course no other team has solved being at 141. Crispin Aparilla accounted for 53 points and Billy Adag rounded out scoring with 48 points in another overpowering display.

Starting the round 11 points ahead, Del Monte has added to its lead in each of the last two rounds — five after the second 18 — and Velez said that despite the impending win, it will be business as usual for them.

“We will still play our game, treat this one as a normal round,” Velez said of what their mindset will be on the final day. “We will not let our guards down.”

Ex-pro Jessie Hernandez and Rolly Viray each scored 50 points as Canlubang totaled 148 counting the 48 of Pem Rosal. The Sugar Barons are now just three points ahead of darkhorse Manila Southwoods, which amassed 151 for 439.

Champion San Miguel Beer coach in the PBA Jorge Gallent, playing in his first Senior tournament in the Interclub, led the Carmona-based bets for the second straight day with 53 points and Southwoods also counted the 49s of Jun Jun Plana and Monet Garcia to be two points up on defending champion Luisita.

The Luisitans, who came from behind last year to nip the Sugar Barons in Cebu, have a 437 tally going back to Pueblo de Oro after pooling 148 built around the 54 points of Ronnie Littaua.

Rodel Mangulabnan accounted for 48 points and Jingy Tuason 46 for the Luisitans, who threw away the 43 of Marvin Caparros.

The 75th staging of the PAL Interclub is supported by diamond sponsors Mastercard and Asian Journal.

Platinum sponsors include Airbus, Primax Broadcasting Network and Araw Hospitality while gold sponsors are Tanduay and Asia Brewery.

Joining the event as silver sponsors are ABS-CBN Global, Radio Mindanao Network and Philippine National Bank.

VISA is a minor sponsor while Must Glow is joining as a donor.

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