SILANG, Cavite, Nashville Filipino Restaurant — 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.”