Team Philippines rebounds but rival keeps lead

LUBAO, Pampanga, Philippines — Team Philippines finally found its stride and struck back in alternate shot format, coming away with a 4-1 triumph to negate Team Southeast Asia’s romp in best ball in the second day of the Pradera Verde Ladies Challenge 2 at the Pradera Golf and Country Club here yesterday.

That also enabled the visiting squad, composed of top jungolfers and amateurs from Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore, to keep its five-point lead intact, 12.5-7.5, built on its explosive showing in the first day of the team event among SEA neighbors.

Falling behind at 3.5-11.5 after Team SEA dominated the morning duel, the hosts bounced back in the afternoon on victories by Bernice Ilas-Kristine Torralba, Kayla Nocum-Tomi Arejola, Mikha Fortuna-Nicole Abelar and Yuka Saso-Harmie Constantino that more than made for the Phl’s loss in the novel three-player match.

Ilas and Torralba nipped Ashley Lau and Zulaikah Nasser of Malaysia, 1-up; Nocum and Arejola edged Audrey Tan and Charlayne Shing Ling, also of Malaysia, 2&1; Fortuna and Abelar fended off Thais Pinkaew Trachuentong and Phannarai Meesom-us, 2&1; and Saso and Constantino routed Thais Prampun Kultida and Pimkwan Chookaew. 6&5.

Indonesian Michela Tjan, Shannon Tan of Singapore and Thai Onkanok Soisuwan saved the day for Team SEA with a 2-1 escape over Annyka Cayabyab, Laurea Duque and Sofia Chabon.

Despite five points behind, Team Phl co-captain Norman Sto. Domingo remains confident of his wards chances but stresses the need for the hosts to come up with a strong start in today’s deciding singles.

“With the momentum slightly on our side on our good showing this afternoon (yesterday), I think we have a good chance but we need a strong start tomorrow (today),” said Domingo.

The hosts’ late surge also made Team SEA co-skipper Phunampa Pornperan a bit wary, saying: “It’s still not over and we need to stay focused and win at least four (in singles).”

The team to score 15.5 points will win the perpetual Pradera Verde Ladies trophy.