MANILA, Philippines – The road to the crown is never easy.
If this were medieval times, there’d be knights and brigands not to mention the odd wild animal or two. These days, the remaining Professional Chess Association of the Philippines teams in contention for the first ever All-Filipino crown has to worry about top-ranked squads, spotty internet connections and Armageddon play.
For a moment, the fourth seed of the northern division, Manila Indios Bravos, looked like they would knock down the big fish in their group when they won Game On over the Laguna Heroes, 12-9.
The Heroes rose to the occasion in Game Two, 13-8, to send the series to a best-of-three penalty shootout. Unfortunately for Manila, the momentum shift had swung Laguna’s way as the Heroes swept the tie-breaker, 3-0.
In the northern division’s other marquee match-up, the San Juan Predators took Game One over the Caloocan LoadManna Knights. In the second set, Caloocan forced a draw at 10.5-all to send it to Armageddon. But the Predators would not be denied as they beat back the spirited challenge from the group’s third seed to arrange a meeting with Laguna in the division finals.
Down south, the Iloilo Kisela Knights also faced an upset conscious Toledo Trojans team as they had to duke it out in Armageddon following a 10.5-all draw. The Kisela Knights won, 2-1. The tough loss broke the backs of Toledo as Iloilo cruised to a 15.5-5.5 win in the second Game.
The second-seeded Camarines Soaring Eagles blanked the Negros Kingsmen 2-0 to advance to their group’s finals. Negros was most unlucky when internet connections severely hampered their play on three boards that hurt them.
The division finals of the All-Filipino Conference is slated for this Wednesday, March 31, at 6 p.m. on PCAP’s Facebook page.
Both match-ups will feature the number one and two teams of each division for the right to go to the finals on April 3.
Laguna will battle San Juan while Iloilo will face Camarines.
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