MANILA, Philippines — Grandmasters and other champs from clubs across the country were among those named at Sunday's Professional Chess Association of the Philippines Draft.
The draft, held at Quezon City Sports Center, was notable for two other things as well—the oldest professional athlete was drafted, and the first Philippine all-pro women’s chess team was put together.
National Master Pacifico Villasenor, 81, was drafted by the Caloocan Knights. He will join a squad that includes International Masters Paulo Bersamina and Jan Emmanuel Garcia as well as women’s player Kristine Joy Abellardo.
Speaking of the distaff squad, the Palawan team—known as the Queen’s Gambit—features four Women’s International Masters in Shania Mae Mendoza, Catherine Perena-Secopito, Antoinette San Diego, and Mikee Suede.
Its homegrown players include Marife dela Torre, Yanika Eli Seratubias, and Jesibel Maberit.
Mendoza, who took her college at Far Eastern University and represented them in the UAAP, created a stir when she was selected third overall in the draft by Palawan.
Team owner Jojo Mitra stated that “by selecting an all-female chess team, we hope to attract the interest of more Filipinas to take up chess. Chess isn’t just for men.”
Said one veteran chess watcher, “The results of the draft create excitement. And having that all-women’s team in Palawan is a groundbreaking move. And having an elder statesman in National Master Villasenor shows that PCAP has wonderful diversity in its ranks.”
The inaugural PCAP conference tips off this coming January 2021.
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