Del Monte to take same tested approach in defending Seniors title next year

The Del Monte team receives their trophy.

CAGAYAN DE ORO–Del Monte broke through as a Philippine Airlines (PAL) Championship division titlist in the Seniors division on Sunday, and Yoyong Velez, the lawyer-turned-team builder, vowed that they will stick to the formula that gave them glory.

And that is that no one from this champion team will have a sure slot for next year.

Not even Velez himself.

“We’ve always done that and don’t intend to veer away from that formula,” Velez said after the celebrations had died down at Pueblo de Oro. “All those who represent Del Monte (in the Interclub) will have to go through qualifying. There will be no exceptions.”

Romeo Jaraula scored a 36-hole three-under-par 141 total playing at Del Monte in the middle two rounds. Being the best scorer of the team–and the tournament for all intents and purposes–he naturally deserves to be seeded.

“No,” was Velez’ curt reply when asked if Jaraula will be a cinch next year. “We will all go through that process so we can see who the best players for the tournament are.”

Velez also talked with much pride after the Bukidnon-based squad finally won the big one. It took them six years, or since he and Ondoy Mondilla turned 55 and became eligible.

“While we also hold a four-round qualifying, I am very proud of the fact that we at Del Monte have never recruited any player coming from the outside,” he said. “All of our players are homegrown. I don’t know how many teams do that.”

The Del Monte win took the spotlight away from the Luisita-Canlubang rivalry, much in the same way in 2004 when, in the Regular Men’s Championship, Velez spearheaded a team that broke the stranglehold of the Sugar Barons.

The Del Monte team receives their trophy.

Del Monte has three Championship division titles, counting the 2011 edition in the Men’s–which Velez was also a part of.

Velez knows that all of those titles have come on home soil, and that, he said, will be the mission of those who will qualify to the team next year.

“Of course, the target would be to repeat,” he said. “Wherever the Interclub will be held next year. We also want to shed that label that we are only good when the event is held (in Cagayan de Oro and Bukidnon).”

The 75th staging of the PAL Interclub is supported by diamond sponsors Mastercard and Asian Journal.

Platinum sponsors include Airbus, Primax Broadcasting Network and Araw Hospitality while gold sponsors are Tanduay and Asia Brewery.

Joining the event as silver sponsors are ABS-CBN Global, Radio Mindanao Network and Philippine National Bank.

VISA is a minor sponsor while Must Glow is joining as a donor.


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