MANILA, September 4, 2003 (MALAYA) The Philippines reeled farther back as its backup crew floundered anew in the second day of the Asia Pacific Golf Team Championship, limping home with a nine-over par 222 yesterday and falling behind by 14 strokes behind New Zealand in Port Douglas, Queensland.

After firing a solid 69 in the first round, Jerome Delariarte slowed down a bit with a 73 while Juvic Pagunsan improved from 72 with a gutsy even par-71 card.

But Jay Bayron and Marvin Dumandan continued to struggle in another unpredictable day at The Links layout, their identical 77s dampening the Filipinos' bid in the biennial event also known as the Nomura Cup.

Counting its first round aggregate of 217, the Philippines remained in fourth place with a 439 but faces the tough task of having to overhaul a big 14-stroke deficit with two rounds left in the four-to-play, three-to-count format event which drew 15 nations from the Asia-Pacific region.

With Brad Shilton firing the day's best of 68, New Zealand kept its hold of the lead with a 425 after a 214 although fancied Australia made inroads as US amateur champion Nick Flanagan settled down and shot a one-under 70 after an opening-round 76.

The Aussies turned in the day's best score of 213 with James Nitties matching par 71 and Michael Sim shooting a 72 and closed within two strokes of New Zealand, which also drew a 71 from Bradley Lles and a 75 from Matthew Holten.

Japan slid to third from a share of second with a 434 after a 220 as Yuki Ishikawa made a 72, Haruo Fujishima a 73 and Takayoshi Iseki a 75.

Despite his two-over par card, Delariarte remained in second place in the race for individual honors with 142 in a tie with Aussie James Nitties and Ishikawa, one stroke behind the 141 total of Shilton. Pagunsan likewise stayed in the hunt with a 143.

RP team coach Roger Retuerto can only hope that Bayron and Dumandan would finally settle down and dish out games expected of them and put the Philippines back into contention for the title in the final round.

The Filipinos' campaign here is under the auspices of the National Golf Association of the Philippines.

Admiral Louie Fernandez, NGAP vice president, is the delegation head and team skipper.

The RP Team is trying to surpass its third-place finish in the World Team Championships last year in Malaysia.

India proved to be the day's biggest loser when it tumbled from a share of fourth with the Philippines to ninth with a 448 after a 231.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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