LAGUNA Heroes and Iloilo Kisela Knights emerged as the overall leaders in their respective divisions after the elimination round in the 2021 Professional Chess Association of the Philippines (PCAP) All-Filipino tournament over the weekend.
Laguna, bannered by two-time Asian junior champion GM Rogelio Barcenilla, Jr and WNM Jean Karez Enriquez, demolished Quezon City Simba’s Tribe, 20-1, to clinch the No. 1 seed in the Northern Conference with a 30-4 win-loss record and tiebreak points of 509 points.
As the No. 1 Northern Conference team, Laguna will meet No. 8 team Antipolo Cobras.
Antipolo fell to the Pasig Pirates, 9-12, but still finished with 13-21 slate.
“Our last match in the elimination round was still filled with tensions. It was truly important for the final ranking before the playoffs. I admire the efforts of our team ( Laguna Heroes) in scoring 20-1 against Quezon City. We are indeed lucky for being on top after 34 rounds ” said Dr. Alfredo Paez, one of the four team owner of the Laguna Heroes along with Engr. Benjamin Dy, Engr. Jonathan Mamaril and Mr. David Nithyananthan.
Erstwhile frontrunner San Juan Predators outsteadied Rizal Towers, 13-8, to finish in a two-way tie with Laguna at the end of the 34-round competition supported by San Miguel Corporation.
San Juan, however, settled for No. 2 seed with 503.5 tiebreak points.
The GM Oliver Barbosa-led Predators will battle the Pirates in the 2 vs. 7 quarterfinal pairings.
In other North matches, No. 3 Caloocan Load Manna Knights (29-5) clash with No. 6 Cavite Spartans (18-17) and No. 4 Manila Indios Bravos (23-11) battle Rizal Towers (23-11).
Iloilo, led by GM Rogelio Antonio Jr. and Cherry Ann Mejia, whipped Mindoro Tamaraws, 18.5-2.5, to close out with a 30-4 mark and the No. 1 spot in the South.
The Leo Sotaridona-managed Kisela Knights will meet No. 8 Cordova Dagami Warriors.
Camarines Soaring Eagles, 16.5-4.5 winner over Surigao Fianchetto Gamvits, and Negros Kingmen, 15.5-5.5 victor over Cordova, finished second and third with 29-5 and 28-6, respectively.
The Soaring Eagles of GM Mark Paragua will play No. 7 Mindoro Tamaraws, while the Kingsmen of FM Nelson Mariano III will meet No. 6 Lapu-Lapu City Naki Warriors.
Zamboanga Sultans, fourth with 21-13 record, and Toledo City Trojans, fifth with 20-14 slate, collide in the No. 4 vs No. 5 pairing.
Already out of it are the Olongapo Rainbow, Isabela Knight Raiders, Cagayan Kings and Quezon City Simba’s Tribe in the North,; and Cebu City Machers, Surigao Fianchetto Checkmates, Palawan Queen’s Gambits and Iriga City Oragons in the South.
PCAP president-commissioner Atty. Paul Elauria said the playoffs will begin on Wednesday, March 24.
All games are sanctioned by the Games and Amusements Board (GAB), headed by Chairman Abraham “Baham” Mitra.
North quarterfinals: Laguna vs Antipolo, San Juan vs. Pasig, Caloocan vs Cavite, Manila vs Rizal
South quarterfinals: Iloilo vs Cordova, Camarines vs Mindoro, Negros vs Lapu-Lapu, Zamboanga vs Toledo.