PAL Interclub Advancer

BACOLOD CITY – The 27thPhilippine Airlines Seniors Interclub golf team championships get going Thursday with defending champion Canlubang parading two new recruits in its bid for a fourth straightchampionship.

Reigning national seniors champion Abe Avena and Japanese Saso San will join regulars Dave Hernandez, Rolly Viray, Tony Olives, Luigi Yulo, Rene Unson and Mari Hechanova.

For the second straight year, Tommy Manotoc is not on the Canlubang roster.

Last year, Hernandez and Viray each shot 51 points on the final day at the Alta Vista Golf Club in Cebu City to power Canlubang to a thrilling six-point win over old rival Luisita.

Another close finish is expected as Luisita gets a big boost with the return of Iggy Clavecilla and the entry of former pro Eddie Bagtas.

Clavecilla suffered a freak accident in South Korea in 2011 and did not see action in the last two staging of the event.

Bagtas had a respectable pro career, winning several tournaments while competing against the likes of Frankie Minoza, Antolin Fernando and Mario Manubay.

The other Luisita regulars are Francis Gaston, Richie Garcia, Pepot Inigo, Lino Magpantay and Bong Sison.

Cebu Country Club, the runaway Founders champion last year, looms as the tournament darkhorse with the entry of Jeric Hechanova who will make his seniors’ debut.

Hechanova will join Ramontito Garcia, Nonoy Tirol, Mastsugu Ochial, Koichi Horii, Lor Alaan, Ray Gibbs and Kim Kwang Seok.

Rounding out the elite championship field is Orchard Golf and Country Club composed of Miguel Garcia, Jose Gonzales, Chito Servida, Jin Gon Lee, Jie Sik On, Ryan Abdon, Nestor Sevilla and Jun Bailee.

A hundred teams, including 52 foreign clubs, are seeing action in the four-day, four-division annual event which serves as the prelude to the Regular Men’s Interclub.

Play in the championship division begins at the Binitin Golf Club, one of two golf venues, the other being the Negros Occidental Golf and Country Club.

This year's Interclub is being co-sponsoredby CrossOver with Boeing, Philippines Graphic, Stargate Media (People Asia) and Rogue as corporate backers. Also lending support are Airbus, Business Mirror, One Mega Group (Travel Now), Philippine Broadcasting Corporation, Manila Broadcasting Corporation and Manila Bulletin.