BACOLOD, Philippines – Luisita is back at the top of the Philippine Airlines Senior Interclub golf tournament and no one could be happier for the Tarlac-based team than “Luisita boy” Eddie Bagtas.
The ex-pro who spent his youth at Luisita has made his debut in interclub play as a senior and proved helpful in giving them back the crown with a pair of solid rounds in the 28th edition of the annual event.
Bagtas scored 52 and 51 points in the first and third rounds, his output instrumental in putting Luisita within two after falling behind by nine at the end of the second.
He watched in glee as skipper Francis Gaston, Bong Sison and Richie Garcia put the finishing touches to Luisita’s come-from-behind victory over holder Canlubang, 564-562, as they reclaimed the crown they last held in 2010. It was Luisita’s 15th PAL Interclub seniors title overall.
“Masaya at nakatulong ako (I’m glad to have contributed to this win),” said Bagtas.
He still remembered how Luisita gave him a break as a budding jungolfer.
“Malaki ang utang na loob ko sa Luisita kaya parang pagtanaw na rin ito ng utang na loob (I owe them so much and I’d love to repay them through this),” he said.
The Luisitans faced the danger of getting blown to bits when Cangolf seized a nine-point lead at the halfway point. They were forced to field Bagtas in the third at Bacolod Golf and Country Club-Binitin instead of the final round at Negros Occidental Golf and Country Club-Marapara to try to cut the deficit and go within striking distance of the Sugar Barons.
With two stints at Binitin, the 57-year-old Bagtas did not contend for the individual plum anymore.
“Sacrifice na yun para sa team. Kailangan naming humabol (I sacrificed individual honors for the good of the team),” he said.
Canlubang’s Rolly Viray, who tallied 101 points, won the plum.
“Walang problema yung sa individual. Nakuha ko naman ang highest sa Binitin at nag champion (I didn’t mind not winning the individual award; we won the championship and I got the highest score at Binitin),” he added.
Bagtas looks forward to his next appearance for Luisita in 2015 and figure in another exciting competition against Canlubang.
“Masaya yan next year. Palalakasin pa namin ang team dahil sigurado pagpaplanuhan din yan ng Canlubang (It’s going to be another dogfight next year. I’m sure Canlubang will be plotting their move and so we’ll also be beefing up our team),” he said.