Tommy Manotoc JOEY MENDOZA]

DAVAO, PHILIPPINES, FEBRUARY 25, 2009 (STAR) By Abac Cordero - Tommy Manotoc, the 59-year-old backbone of the Canlubang team, yesterday kept his hot streak going over the tree-laden Apo course, firing 36 points to push the Sugar Barons to a two-point lead over the Country Club yesterday in the 62nd PAL Interclub here.

Manotoc had five birdies against the same number of bogeys on another rain-drenched round that forced organizers to apply the preferred-lie rule in the round.

Jonel Ababa, 24, chipped in another 36 for Canlubang, eyeing a 16th crown since becoming the first rookie-champion 32 years ago.

Mario Labajo had a 32 and Zanie Boy Gialon a 28 as Canlubang chalked a two-day total of 265 for a slim two-point edge against TCC, the first-day leader.

The bright boys of TCC did not live up to expectations with Ferdie Aunzo walking home with a 32, and Rufino Bayron, Art Arbole and Peter Villaber pitching in 31 cards each.

The Country Club, a very exclusive course which is within shooting distance from the fabled Canlubang layout, will carry a 263 total into today’s third round at Rancho Palos Verdes.

Del Monte had a 121 and overtook Manila Southwoods (117) in their own battle for third. Up next in the Championship division were Team Brookside (205), Manila Golf (190), Sta. Elena (181) and Mabuhay Golf Club SFO (146).

The last two days of the country’s oldest and biggest golf team championship is tipped to be as tough as the weather, which has brought heavy rains over this southern city over the last two days.

Manotoc, who spelled the difference as Canlubang wrapped up its fourth seniors crown last week, will be saving his best for last, skipping today’s round and plunging back into action on Saturday at Apo.

But he’s hoping that he still has the legs.

“Now I’m hoping the weather would stay this way,” he said. “Because I don’t know if I can still handle the heat.”

Canlubang skipper Luigi Yulo said the third round will be as crucial as the rest. It will be up to him who to field where and when.

“We have to analyze what they (TCC) are most likely to do before we can come up with our roster. But we have to keep it up tomorrow. We have to match their score because Apo (for the last day) is always the decisive course,” he said.

Yulo said his men will be ready for anything the TCC, the weather or the course could offer.

“We’ve been here for so long we know all the little tricks,” he added.

Freddie Mendoza, TCC team captain, was not about to sulk after his team lost the initiative, saying all they need to do is “keep it close tomorrow” and then hope for the best on Saturday.

“It’s still anybody’s game,” he said.

Behind the event are ABS-CBN Cable Channels and Print Media Group, Airbus, Boeing, Business Mirror, Mizuno, MTV Philippines, Radio Mindanao Network, Solar Sports, Action Asia, Bombo Radio, Crossover 105.1, People Asia, Royal Caribbean, XFM 92.3 and GE Aviation.

Other backers are Pagcor, Rajah Broadcasting Network, Century Park Hotel and Honda Cars Davao.

In the Founders division, Cebu Country Club held on to the lead with a 247 total, dragging behind Tagaytay Highlands (232), Davao Golf (215), Forest Hills (213), Negros Golf (206), Wack Wack (202), Alabang (201) and Villamor (199).

The second round of the Friendship division was rained out at Palos Verdes and has been reduced into a 54-hole championship.

Mactan Island landed on top of the Sportswriters division after a 113 for a 216 total, followed by Apo Golf at 201, Camp John Hay’s 198, Sherwood Hills’ 186, Saranggani’s 191 and Camp Evangelista’s 189.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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