Eastridge ties Monte on top; Southwoods lurks

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MANOLO FORTICH, BUKIDNON—Eastridge and defending champion Manila Southwoods beat Del Monte on the layout where it usually slaughters its opponents as Regular Men’s Championship play in the 75th Philippine Airlines (PAL) Interclub on Saturday took on a very interesting twist heading into the final 36 holes.

Starting the second round five points down on the Bukidnon-based bets, Eastridge tallied 107 points over the tricky, tree-lined layout to tie the host club at the top at 211 overall, even as defending champion Southwoods swung into contention also after a 107 that left the team with just eight points to chase.

The third round will again be played at the gem inside the vast pineapple plantation here and Southwoods nonplaying captain Thirdy Escaño has made his team’s intentions known.

“I think it’s a manageable deficit,” Escaño told the Inquirer. “What’s important is the last two days. If after (the third round) we don’t have the lead, we will be very close. We just threw away precious points in our last holes (in the second round).”

Gimo Asuncion, Escaño’s Eastridge counterpart, talked more cautiously but with a lot of confidence after getting one-under-par 71s worth 37 points each from Edison Tabalin and Ronel Taga-an. Alexander Bisera’s 33 counted as the last card for Eastridge.

“The boys are just fired up,” Asuncion said. “There will be a few adjustments for tomorrow’s round. Still two days to go. Anything can still happen. We hope and pray we finish strong.”

Del Monte got 39 points from Joven Lusterio and 34 from Romeo Jaraula. But the squad was pulled down by the 29 of Xhylas Luzon, with the 27 of the seasoned Raul Miñoza failing to count.

But playing on the course that it knows like the back of its hands in the crucial third round still gives Del Monte all the edge.

The pro-bound trio of Aidric Chan (37), Ryan Monsalve (36) and Lanz Uy (34) made up the Southwoods tally in the second round.

“The third round is definitely crucial,” Escaño said. “I believe we can pull it off.”



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