MANILA, Philippines – Sixteen teams left standing out of 24. Only one can call itself “king.”
And to add to that prestige, Professional Chess Association of the Philippines Commissioner Paul Elauria said, “that team will be in the history books as the first ever champion of PCAP.”
It’s big. Definitely big enough for Grandmaster and Living Legend Eugene Torre to consider playing now that it is win-or-go-home time.
After almost 6,000 matches in the elimination round among 24 teams divided into the northern and southern divisions, we’re now down to 16; eight per division to slug it out in the quarterfinals Wednesday That will be whittled down to eight squads for the semi-finals on March 27, four for the division finals on March 31, and two in the Grand Finals on April 3.
In the north, top-seed Laguna Heroes (30-4) battle the Antipolo Cobras (13-21) with the second ranked San Juan Predators (30-4) taking on the Pasig King Pirates (17-17), Caloocan LoadManna Knights (29-5) duking it out with the Cavite Spartans (18-16), and the Manila Indios Bravos (23-11) matching wits with the Rizal Batch Towers.
Over at the south, top team Iloilo Kisela Knights (30-4) battle the Cordova Dagami Warriors (12-22), Camarines Soaring Eagles (29-5) face off with the Mindoro Elgin Tamaraws (13-21), Negros Kingsmen (28-6) lock horns with the Lapu Lapu Naki Warriors (15-19), and the Zamboanga Sultans (21-13) going to war with the Toledo Trojans (20-14).
Laguna is led by their two Grandmasters in Rogelio Barcenilla and John Paul Gomez while Antipolo will count on their USNM Jose Aquino Jr. and NM Rodolfo Panopio.
GM Oliver Barbosa and Narquingden Reyes are on Boards 1 and 2 for San Juan with Pasig calling on their two GMs in Darwin Laylo and Roland Salvador.
The Kisela Knights have their twin IM attack of Paulo Bersamina and Jem Garcia with Cavite’s cause taken up by AGM Marlon Bernardino and Kevin Arquero.
The Indios Bravos have GM Ino Sadorra and IM Marvin Miciano with the Batch Towers hoping to draw out GM Eugene Torre to help IM Rolando Nolte.
The Iloilo Kisela Knights have perhaps the most loaded line-up with GM Joey Antonio and their four NMs in Cesar Mariano, John Michael Silvederio, Fritz Bryan Porras, and Giovanni Meija.
Cordova will need NMs Edsel Montoya and Mario Mangubat to step up to the plate and guide this young team.
Camarines has GM Mark Paragua and Ellan Asuela on Boards 1 and 2 with the Elgin Tamaraws parading FM David Elorta and Sherwin Tiu on the opposite end respectively.
Negros has Nelson Mariano and FM Randy Segarra who will go up against Lapu Lapu’s NM Merben Roque and Bryle Arellano.
And Zamboanga looking to IM Chito Garma and NM Joey Albert Florendo to carry the fight to Toledo’s Ronald Ganzon and Rogelio Enriquez Jr.
The PCAP quarterfinals begin at 6 p.m. today and can be viewed on the Facebook page of PCAP along with the respective participants.
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