CEBU – Cebu Country Club pulled away from the pack with another standout effort yesterday, assembling a third-round 125 built around LJ Go’s level-par 72 worth 36 points for a nine-stroke lead over Alabang heading into the final round of the 66th Philippine Airlines Men’s Interclub championship.
Finally conquering the unfamiliar Mactan Island Golf Club course, the Cebuanos drew 31 points each from former pro Carl Almario and Japanese teen Gen Nagai and 27 points from Andre Borromeo for a 375 aggregate and a comfortable buffer over Alabang.
Alabang, possibly the youngest team in the championship division, got 34 points from AR Ramos and 31 from Justin Quiban in a 122 for 366, which is two points better than the output of 2011 champion Del Monte going into the final 18 holes on Saturday at well-manicured Cebu Country Club.
Nagai will be the spearhead of Cebu CC as it tries to wrap things up on home turf today, and skipper Montito Garcia, who will be part of the mop-up group, believes they will be very tough to beat because of course familiarity and with a nine-point lead.
“There will be no pressure,” Garcia told reporters. “When we were lording it over in the Founders (Division), these same men have been so used to playing under immense pressure.”
Bayani Garcia, who scored one of two 32s for Cebu CC in the first day also at Mactan, failed to count with a 23 even as Andres Saldana fired a 30 and Dax Garcia a 27 to complete scoring for Alabang. The 24 of junior talent Christopher Popp did not count.
Del Monte fielded the very same team that opened its bid on Wednesday with only Francis Morilla breaching the 30-point mark, his 31 leading the Bukidnon-based bets to a 117 for 364 that practically put them out of championship contention.
Noel Langamin and Jelbert Gamolo fired 29s and Leonardo Lofranco contributed 28 for Del Monte, which threw away Jovencio Lusterio’s 24.
Sta. Elena remained a distant fourth – exactly 100 points behind – after a measly 76 built around the 21 points of Tugie Evangelista.
In Founders Division action also at Mactan, Ace Stehmeier fired 32 points and towed Orchard to a 108 total for the day that gave the Dasmarinas-based squad back the lead over surging Manila Southwoods.
Southwoods assembled a day-best 109 built around Jik-Jik Abdon’s 32 and with a 339 aggregate, will be going into the final day just a point behind.
Negros slipped from the lead to third spot overall after shooting just 99 points, with the 30 of JR Tanpinco pacing the squad. King Stehmeier (27), TJ Benitez (25) and Alan Arcilla (24) were the others that counted for Orchard.