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Luisita seniors face stiff challenge in PAL Interclub

MANILA, Philippines – Luisita Golf Club is setting out for the Philippine Airlines Interclub golf team championships in high spirits as it aims to defend its title in seniors division when the 75th staging of the annual event is held on February 22 in Mindanao.

However, there is a sense of caution as the Luisitans face tough competition in the event that serves as run-up to the centerpiece Men’s Regular Interclub on March 1 at the Pueblo de Oro Golf and Country Club in Cagayan de Oro and the Del Monte Golf Club in Bukidnon.

Despite the departure of Benjie Sumulong, who has joined the Alabang squad, the Tarlac-based squad remains optimistic about their chances for a back-to-back victory. Key players like Jing Tuason, Ferdie Barboza and Marvin Caparros are set to back up the core team, including Rodel Mangulabnan, Ronnie Littaua, Chino Raymundo, Marty Ilagan and Dan Cruz.

“Luisita still has a solid team even without Benjie (Sumulong),” said Luisita non-playing team captain Jeric Hechanova. “But Canlubang should be favored with three new solid players who will be a good addition to their existing lineup.”

In the previous edition, Luisita staged a final round rally to secure a seven-point victory over Canlubang in Cebu City.

But Canlubang and Manila Southwoods are determined to challenge Luisita’s bid for another championship. Both teams have strengthened their rosters for the upcoming competition at the two challenging courses.

Canlubang will still be led by Abe Rosal, Damasus Wong, Zaldy Villa, Abe Avena, and Rolly Viray with support to come from Pem Rosal, John Paul Reyes and Jess Hernandez.

Southwoods, on the other hand, has enlisted the expertise of Jorge Gallent, a multi-titled ace from Alabang Country Club, to bolster their team alongside Junjun Plana, Thirdy Escano, Joseph Tambunting, Theody Pascual and Mandred Guangko, alongside Monet Garcia and Michael Cheon.

Meanwhile, a new format will be implemented to ensure balanced competition, with the men’s regular event adopting a four-to-play, three-to-count setup, deviating from the usual five-player format.

Alabang is eyeing a surprise performance in seniors’ play, led by Sumulong and supported by Arnel Paras,