San Juan rebounds with win over Cordova in Wesley So Cup

San Juan rebounds with win over Cordova in Wesley So Cup

MANILA, Philippines — He was in the same situation; but this time, San Juan Predators’ Spanish Grandmaster Viktor Moskalenko didn’t make the same mistake.

When Moskalenko’s Filipino teammate GM Oliver Barbosa scored a win against his Cordova counterpart Allan Pason, the Spaniard had the slight advantage in terms of position and time.

A draw would have been sufficient to give San Juan the win in their match up with this rising southern division power.

Yet, with roughly a minute left in the game, Moskalenko was able to force his Cordova opponent, Mario Mangubat, to give up his rook for a massive piece advantage and to threaten to promote a new queen.

Faced with sudden change of fortunes and time dwindling, Mangubat resigned and by doing so awarded the two huge rapid play points to Moskalenko for a 12-9 win for San Juan last Saturday, June 12 in inter-division competition of the Wesley So Cup — the second conference of the maiden season of the Professional Chess Association of the Philippines.

Last Saturday, Moskalenko was faced with the same situation with Camarines’ GM Mark Paragua in which he had the advantage.

An unfortunate mistake led to Paragua taking the match up and the game to the Soaring Eagles.

San Juan bounced back with two huge triumphs in this Saturday evening doubleheader. The Predators opened a 19-2 demolition of Cebu.

Their two wins gave them a 13-2 record that kept them atop the Northern Division standings leading Manila and its similar record by percentage points (218.5-185.5).

Two huge wins were not lost on San Juan team owner Michael Chua.

"After the loss to Camarines, this win asserts that the Predators have not lost their killer instinct. It is a statement that we can rebound strongly after a heartbreak," he said after the match.

As for the Manila Indios Bravos, they defeated the Palawan’s Queen’s Gambit, 12-9, in their first game, and crushed Surigao, 17-4, in the second game.

The All Filipino champions Laguna Heroes split their matches with a 12.5-8.5 loss to the Negros Kingsmen and a 13-8 win over the Queen’s Gambit. The split results put Laguna at third with an 11-4 record.

Caloocan picked up two big triumphs with an 11-10 win over Iloilo and an 18.5-2.5 thrashing of Iriga for a similar 11-4 record but slides to fourth owing to percentage points.

Slumping Antipolo, meanwhile, lost both their matches — and three of their last four — to drop to fifth spot in the Northern Division with a 9-6 slate.

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