Manila Southwoods will go to Bacolod in two weeks thinking of one thing: Starting from scratch.
Denied a fifth straight Philippine Airlines Interclub Men’s championship last year in Cebu, the Carmona-based squad will be fielding another roster that is armed to the teeth as it tries to start off another streak and get one of the strongest programs in the country back on track.
“For us, it’s like we’re starting over again,” non-playing skipper Thirdy Escano said over the phone. “Our players know what it is we missed last year. All credit to Cebu (Country Club), don’t get me wrong, but we are going all out to get the first of another streak.”
Cebu CC, feeling right at home, pulled off the unimaginable at the PAL Interclub last year, coming from the lower-ranked Founders Division to dethrone Southwoods with fine play and scoring all week.
And Escano believes, unlike last year, that no team will have an advantage in the 72-hole unofficial team championship of the country that gets off the ground on March 4 at the Binitin and Marapara layouts.
Yuto Katsuragawa, the Japanese hotshot, returns for another tour of duty, and Escano tweaked his lineup a bit by recalling a veteran who was part of Southwoods’ early successes in Vince Lauron, the former pro who will be the team’s second anchor together with Jun Jun Plana.
“Veteran presence was what we lacked last year,” Escano said. “Bringing back Vince addresses that while also providing a lot of firepower for the team.”
Former Junior World champion Kristoffer Arevalo, Jeff Jun, Sean Ramos, Josh Jorge, Masaichi Otake, Santino Laurel and Aguri Iwasaki, who is priming up for the final stage of qualifying for the Asian Tour, are the other members of the loaded Southwoods squad.
National flag carrier Philippine Airlines is the host of this prestigious international sporting event. The platinum sponsors are Asian Air Safari, Vanguard Radio Network, Fox Networks Group, and Radio Mindanao Network, Inc.
Major sponsors include The Boeing Company, University of Mindanao Broadcasting Network, Avolon Aerospace Singapore Pte Ltd, Rolls Royce, Manila Broadcasting Company, Primax Broadcasting, Rolls-Royce Singapore Pte Ltd, and CIGNAL TV Inc.
Other supporters are Uniglobe Travelware Co., Inc. (The Travel Club), Philippine Manila Standard Publishing Inc. (Manila Standard), Officine Corporation, GE Aviation, SEDA Hotels, BDO Unibank, Smart Communications, Inc., People Asia Magazine, A+E Networks Asia (History), and Allianz PNB Life.