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GM Barbosa, homegrown player Gumila reflect on San Juan’s PCAP title

GM Barbosa, homegrown player Gumila reflect on San Juan’s PCAP title

GM Barbosa, homegrown player Gumila reflect on San Juan's PCAP title

MANILA, Philippines – During the first year of the Philippines Basketball Association, Toyota and Crispa played each other for the nascent pro league’s first three conference championships.

Toyota won the first two and Crispa finally broke out and took the third conference.

Forty-six years later, the Professional Chess Association of the Philippines was born and took inspiration from the pro hoops league, of which the former’s leadership are fans.

In PCAP’s first year, San Juan and Iloilo butted heads thrice — first for third place in the All-Filipino Cup and second for the Wesley So Cup championship which the latter took, and this PCAP-SMC-Ayala Land Premier Cup which the former won. spoke to two members of the victorious San Juan Predators — Grandmaster Oliver Barbosa and homegrown player Narciso Gumila about their accomplishment.

“We’re very happy to win the Grand Finals of the third conference at nakasabay pa sa Pasko at Bagong Taon,” pointed out Barbosa. “We have been trying for two conferences but failed. Buti na lang nakuha namin itong third conference.”

Added Gumila, “Sobrang saya namin kasi finally naging champion na inaasam namin mula first conference. Ito lang naman ang maisukli kay sir Mike (Chua), coach Hubert (Estrella), and Sir Simeon (Co).”

Regarding the third conference finals, GM Oliver said the team went into it with new-found motivation, “We went into the Grand Finals mentally and emotionally prepared. Leading kami sa eliminations pero somehow nag-falter pag Top Four ang usapan.”

“This time Lady Luck smiled on us. Medyo sinwerte kasi nagkaproblema raw ang Iloilo sa internet connection sa first set. It gave us momentum and siyempre naka apekto sa mindset ng players nila.”

Iloilo’s senior and homegrown players were all competing under one roof when their internet connection faltered. They also applied the same technique during the Wesley So Cup Finals but then encountered no such problem.

But as we know, injuries (in contact sports) and internet problems are part of the game.

“The second set was much closer though nakauna na naman kami sa blitz,” added Barbosa. “Usapan namin ng teammates ko na walang bibitaw and to always be ready for their counter-attack at talagang mag-all-out yan sila. And ayun. Tinalo kami sa rapid sa second set pero buti nalang napuhunan na kami ng points sa blitz.”

Barbosa paid tribute to Iloilo, which is so far the most bemedaled team in PCAP (with trophies from first, second, and third place finishes), “Iloilo is no doubt one of the strongest teams in all of PCAP. Solid players din lahat. Makita din sa performances nila especially pagdating ng medal rounds. There’s no better way to be better than to keep playing against one of the best.”

Gumila was more graphic in his view of the Kisela Knights, “Nakakakaba lalo na twice na kami natalo sa Iloilo. Pero yun din ang motivation.”

With the first season of PCAP all played, Gumila hoped that his San Juan Predators team can continue it strong first year showing, “Pipilitin naming ma-hold yung title at mas magpraktis kami ng maigi kasi for sure yun din ang gagawin ng opponent namin.”

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