Rolando Pila fought back from three holes down in morning play then unleashed a strong finishing kick to turn back Harvey Sytiongsa, 2-up, while Junia Gabasa outlasted Pamela Mariano to fashion out a 5&4 triumph in the finals of the fourth MVPSF Visayas Regional Match Play Championships at Cebu Country Club yesterday.
Pila struggled in the early going of their marathon 36-hole duel and still trailed his fellow club bet by three with only 10 holes left. But he birdied Nos. 9 and 11 to pull within, yielded another hole on the 12th but took three straight holes from No. 14 to go 1-up before birdying the last hole to complete a come-from-behind 2-up victory in men’s play.
The top seeded Gabasa, on other hand, fought it out on even terms with the No. 2 Mariano after 18 holes but won Nos. 5, 6 and 8 before winning Nos. 13 and 14 to wrap up the ladies crown in the event sponsored by the MVP Sports Foundation, PLDT Group, Cignal and Metro Pacific and hosted by CCC.
Earlier, Masaichi Otake birdied the 17th to force an all-square match with Aidric Chan then parred the last to steal a 1-up victory over last week’s Philippine Junior champion in their duel for third place in the event organized and conducted by the National Golf Association of the Philippines.
Grace Quintanilla, on the other hand, trounced Ashley Llena and came away with a 4&3 romp in their side of the battle for third while Joseph Alvarez topped the Mid-Amateur division over Hugo Saurat.
Sytiongsa, who stunned top seed Jacob Rolida in the quarterfinals and nipped Otake on the 19th hole to earn a crack at the crown, went 3-up after just six holes then fended off Pila’s fightback to keep that lead intact at the turn.
But he wavered in the last 10 holes, yielding Nos. 9 and 11, regained a hole on the next but lost three straight and failed to match Pila’s final hole birdie.