AND now there are only four.
Laguna Heroes and San Juan Predators, the top two teams in the North, and Iloilo Kisela Knights and Camarines Soaring Eagles, the best teams in the South, dispute the division championships in the 2021 Professional Chess Association of the Philippines (PCAP) All-Filipino tournament on Holy Wednesday.
The winners will then battle it out for the inaugural All-Filipino crown on Black Saturday, April 3.
Odds are about even between Laguna and San Juan, which split their two regular season games.
The Predators drew first blood, 12-9, last Jan. 30, but the Heroes evened up the score, 11-10, in their second meeting last March 3.
In the South, Iloilo dominated Camarines in their two matches, with the Kisela Knights winning 11.5–9.5 last Jan. 30 and 17.5-3.5, last March 13.
Last Saturday, Laguna slammed the door on Manila Indios Bravos, 9-12 and 13-8 and 3-0 in Armageddon while San Juan sent Caloocan Load Manna Knights packing, 9-12 and 10.5-10.5 and 2-1 twice in Armageddon to arrange a titular showdown.
GM Rogelio Barcenila, Jr. outwitted GM Julio Catalino Sadorra, GM John Paul Gomez humbled IM Cris Ramayrat and FM Austin Jacob Literatus drew with FM Deniel Causo as the Heroes defeated the Indios Bravos.
San Juan alo also needed a victory in two Armageddon showdowns against Caloocan to reach the finals.
GM Oliver Barbosa, Arden Reyes and IM Ricardo de Guzman provided the much-needed victories for the Predators of team owner Michael Angelo Chua and coach Hubert Estrella.
PCAP president-commissioner Atty. Paul Elauria said the Northern and Southern Division will dispute the overall title in the prestigious 34-team tournament supported by San Miguel Corporation.
The competition is sanctioned by the Games and Amusements Board (GAB), headed by Chairman Abraham “Baham” Mitra, and supported by the National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCP), led by Chairman/President Prospero “Butch” Pichay.
The division finals:
Northern Conference — No. 1 Laguna Heroes vs. No. 2 San Juan Predators.
Southern Conference — No. 1 Iloilo Kisela Knights vs. No. 2 Camarines Soaring Eagles.