The ICTSI Philippine Masters gets under way today with the elite field all geared up for a fierce battle for what used to be an esteemed title in the pro circuit.
The Villamor layout measures up to 7,000 yards and though it is expected to yield low scores given the current form of the competing field, it could still pose a challenge with its tight fairways, thick roughs and unpredictable putting surface.
“You just can’t take Villamor for granted. It could yield low scores but it could also punish those who commit even the slightest mistake,” said Robert Pactolerin, an old hand at the military layout with a number of titles tucked under his belt, including this one which used to rank high in the local golf circuit.
But Clyde Mondilla, who beat Miguel Tabuena and Tony Lascuña by one to win the ICTSI Manila Southwoods Championship, is eyeing to match or better his impressive 22-under 266 feat last week on a course whose make-up is so similar to where he honed his talent and skills.
“Villamor is like Del Monte, the fairways, the grass and the surface. So I feel like I’m playing right at home,” said Mondilla during yesterday’s pro-am of the P2 million event sponsored by ICTSI and organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments Inc.
The event actually marks the return of what used to be one of the country’s version of four majors with Cassius Casas topping the last Masters in 2000, nipping Pactolerin in sudden death.
Long-hitting Orlan Sumcad, meanwhile, proved that power is key to winning at Villamor as he ruled the pro-am with amateur partners Benjie Castañeda, Bong Sacro and Angelo David with a 17-under 55 total, edging Edward Reyes, with Nestor Sevilla, Domeng de Leon and Derek Ramsay, by one.
UST-KAMENOGORSK, Kazakhstan — The Rebisco-PSL Manila squad arrived here Tuesday after a long 35-hour travel from Manila to Istanbul, and to this cold, scenic town that will be the site of smashing action for the Asian Women’s Club Volleyball Championships starting Thursday
Team captain Rachel Anne Daquis is aware of the enormity of their task, but says their “big fighting heart” against seven other teams will help carry them through.
The team is composed of 14 player team, featuring the core of the newly formed Philippine team for the Southeast Asian Games.
They will be up against top clubs from Japan, China, Vietnam, Thailand, Iran, Chinese Taipei and host Kazakhstan.
The Philippines last finished at seventh place when the country hosted the event last year at the MoA Arena. But head coach Francis Vicente expects to give SEAG rivals Vietnam and Thailand a tough time when they meet.
“We will be a going all out here because we want to gauge the team,” said Vicente. “From here we would know how to go about preparing for the SEA Games.
The Rebisco spikers are SEAG team skipper Mika Reyes, Jaja Santiago, Aby Marano, Kim Fajardo, Denden Lazaro, Bia General, Lourdes Clemente, Maika Ortiz, Gen Casugod, Ces Molina, Aiza Pontillas, Rhea Dimaculangan and Jovelyn Gonzaga.
“This is the strongest team we have formed for this tournament,” said team manager, Philippine Superliga director Anna Tomas of the team supported by Asics and GrandSports.
They will be playing without foreign reinforcements, unlike last year.
(Smart Araneta Coliseum)
4:15 p.m. — Nlex vs Alaska
7 p.m. — Star vs Meralco
Joint leaders Meralco and Star clash tonight with the winner moving closer to the top two quarterfinal slots of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Commissioner’s Cup.
The winner of the 7 p.m. match at the Araneta Coliseum will have the best chance at securing the win-once advantage over the lowest-ranked team in the next phase, and both Meralco coach Norman Black and young Star mentor Chito Victolero are aware of this match’s importance to their teams.
"It will be a crucial game for both of us since both teams have chances for the top two spot," said Victolero, whose Hotshots share the lead with the Bolts at 7-2 (wins-defeats).
Black agreed, saying: "It's an important game for both teams because a win will move you one step closer to the twice-to-beat advantage."
They were only stating the obvious.
"We just need to tighten our defense inside and limit the activity of their import, especially getting offensive rebounds and second chance points," Victolero said, noting the performance of Meralco import Alex Stepheson, who has been averaging close to 18 points and 22.3 boards.
"Perimeter defense is also very important to prevent their guards from penetrating and creating their shots," added Victolero.
"We expect a defensive game since both teams are in the top four in defense and points allowed. So mental toughness will be a key factor for this game."
But for Black: "Since Meralco and Star have been winning mainly due to solid defense, my feeling is that good offensive execution will be a big key to pick up a win," he said.
Alaska Milk also seeks to win against an also-ran Nlex in their 4:15 p.m. match.
The Aces are eyeing to snap out of their four-game slide, but the recently-bolstered Nlex roster still poses a threat to them despite the Road Warriors staying winless in nine games.
"This is a huge game for us and we are treating it like a must-win," said Compton, whose Aces still have to battle San Miguel Beer on Saturday and Star next Wednesday. They are currently at 4-4.
"No excuses for us. We need to be great tomorrow," said Compton.
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