Garcia and Garcia help in twin golf wins

Raymond Garcia and Bayani Garcia are first cousins. Their fathers, Alvin and Jesus, Jr., are brothers. But that’s not the only thing they share in common. There’s another: golf.

Last week, while triathletes braved Liloan and Donnie Nietes salvaged a majority draw Waterfront Hotel win, there was another duel going on: the 66th PAL Interclub.

The biggest winner? No doubt: Cebu. Team CCC won the Championship Division. In another category — not played by sportswriters but called the “Sportswriters Division” — Club Filipino won. That’s 2 out of 4 for Cebu.

But first, the premier category: the Championship Division.

Bayani Jess L. Garcia, one of the 10 chosen by Cebu Country Club to lead their squad (the others include Andre Borromeo, LJ Go, Mark Dy, Marko Sarmiento, Eric Deen, Jovi Neri, Carl Almario, Montito Garcia and Gen Nagai), surprised me with this statement…

“I can confidently speak for the team that we did not feel any added pressure,” Bayani said. “Yes, we were favored to win because we were the defending champions and the tournament will be held in our turf but we did not let those thoughts get to us. We were more focused on our practice, preparation, and character-building for the tournament.”

In one word, Bayani alludes to a trait that’s common to all winners: Confidence. And, when you add that the venue is Cebu, you have this: Home-court confidence.

Bayani considers this victory even sweeter than last year’s. “We were able to do it in our home course, in front of all the members, our club, and our fellow Cebuanos,” he said. This win also validated what his team knew: last year was no fluke. He adds, “It also solidifies our position as the top club in the country.”

The secret to victory? “Chemistry and a family-oriented frame of mind,” he answered. “Everyone is so comfortable with one another despite the different age groups (ages covering from the 50s down to the teens). We play with each other so often even during the offseason that we are able to form bonds and develop a certain level of comfort among one another. We don’t consider ourselves just teammates. We are FAMILY to each other. This is a special trait that CCC has which sets us apart from the rest.”

Next year? The host city has yet to be determined. But, ever the confident bunch, they’ll maintain the same team next year (“a solid group of skilled and talented players,” says Bayani) and will be aiming to defend and give CCC a new meaning: Champion-Champion-Champion.

CLUB FILIPINO. Another Cebu club that triumphed was Club Filipino.

Atty. Raymond Alvin N. Garcia, SunStar’s AVP for Legal and Administration Affairs, narrated to me their story.

Heading into the PAL Interclub event, Club Filipino had not won in a long time. Led by captain Evans Tumaliwan, club president Boboy Durano and Atty. Garcia, they devised a plan.

“Our strategy was very well planned and executed,” said Raymond. “It was simple: let the players who are familiar with Mactan play in Mactan for two days and the same for Cebu Country Club.”

They assigned Mactan specialists like Fernando Mondares, Jufil Sato, Bataire Balangauan, Hospicio Razon and Teddy Almario to play in Mactan and CCC regulars like Garcia, Evans Tumaliwan, Kawakami, Shotaro Soda and Victor Yuvallos to play in CCC.

The result was amazing. “Club Filipino won by 16 points. And it could have been 20 points if Jufil Sato was not disqualified,” Raymond said. “Before the tournament, I told the team that the key to success was Mactan. True enough, it was the Mactan scores that gave us the lead. We scored 17 points better than Zamboanga (who was the 1st day leader by 8 pts.), and in Day 2, we scored 8 pts. better than Zamboanga.”

The most remarkable part? The last time Club Filipino won the Sportswriters Division was in 1980.

Raymond Garcia explains: “The team then was composed of, among others, my dad, former Mayor Alvin Garcia. I was 3 years old then. Now after 33 years, Club Fiipino wins again and this time, me as a member of the winning team. What a great trivia.”

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