Ilas sib­lings edge closer to Riviera sweep

The Philippine Star - - SPORTS - By DANTE NAVARRO

SI­LANG, Cavite – Ber­nice Oli­varez-Ilas and younger brother Miguel moved in the thresh­old of post­ing a si­b­ling sweep but braced for a wild, wooly fin­ish in the Riviera MVPSF Am­a­teur Cham­pi­onship at the ex­act­ing Riviera Langer course here yes­ter­day.

Howl­ing winds knocked the erst­while fron­trun­ners off the leader­board in both sides of the Cham­pi­onship Divi­sion, and the field made up of the coun­try’s lead­ing and ris­ing play­ers in the ranks also had to bat­tle their way through in­ter­mit­tent rain in an­other pun­ish­ing day that pro­duced a new set of lead­ers for the sec­ond straight day.

The Ilases, how­ever, set out for a rare feat as Ber­nice, 16, took charge in women’s play with a gutsy 73 for a 147, one ahead of Ju­nia Gabasa, who groped for a 76, and Miguel, 14, saved a 75 to grab the men’s lead at 152, two up on Kristof­fer Arevalo and Josh Jorge, who shot 74 and 75, re­spec­tively.

“We’re both happy to be in con­tention,” said Miguel, who birdied the dif­fi­cult No. 18 to spike his 38-37 card that moved the re­cent win­ner of the Pradera World Am­a­teur Qual­i­fy­ing Cham­pi­onship to the top of the heap. “I went into trou­ble on some holes but some­how man­aged to play it right.”

Ber­nice also kept her game in check from start to fin­ish, bounc­ing back from mis­cues with clutch birdies for a 36-37 round that lined her up for an­other big win af­ter hum­bling the pros at Bev­erly Place in Pam­panga in 2016.

Gabasa, who led Ber­nice by two Fri­day, yielded the up­per­hand with a 40 start but struck back with a 36 to sal­vage a 148 while Rianne Mal­ixi also squan­dered a 36 start with a 42, her 78 drop­ping her eight strokes off Ber­nice at 155 in the event pre­sented by the MVP Sports Foun­da­tion and held as part of the PLDT Na­tional Am­a­teur Tour.

“I played well to­day and came up with a num­ber of good pars,” said Ber­nice, who will try to lead a fam­ily sweep in the event backed by Cig­nal and Metro Pa­cific In­vest­ments.

With Sam Di­zon and Mariel Tee too far be­hind at 156 af­ter a 79 and 80, re­spec­tively, Ber­nice said she would opt for con­ser­va­tive play in the last round to hold off her two near­est ri­vals and boost her ti­tle bid. “I’ll just try to en­joy my game but will do the best that I can.”

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