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San Juan battles Negros, Camarines plays Caloocan


THE top players in the Northern and Southern Conferences return to the battlefield in the 2021 Professional Chess Association of the Philippines (PCAP) All-Filipino tournament this Wednesday after being forced out of action due to typhoon Auring last Saturday.

In a pair of highly-anticipated battles, San Juan Predators square off with Negros Kingsmen and Camarines Soaring Eagles clash with Caloocan Load Manna Knights on the 11th day of competitions in the country’s first-ever professional chess league.

All eyes will be on the Predators, the top team in the North with a 17-2 win-loss record, and the Kingsmen, the best in the South with a 16-3 slate, who take centerstage in one of 12 matches starting at 7 p.m.

Led by GM Oliver Barbosa and WIM Jan Jodilyn Fronda and handled by coach Hubert Estrella, San Juan will stake the league’s best record against Negros in the featured North versus South encounter.

Buoyed by back-to-back victories over the Lapu-Lapu City Naki Warriors (16-5) and Mindoro Tamaraws (13.5-7.5), the Predators are looking to extend their winning streak against the Kingsmen.

The Kingsmen will be bannered anew by Randy Segarra, Nelson Mariano III, Rowelyn Joy Acedo, Joel Pimentel and Rosendo Bandal, Jr.

Negros split its two assignments last Wednesday, losing to the Laguna Heroes 8.5-12.5, but winning over the Antipolo Cobras, 15-6.

Later in the night, the Soaring Eagles (16-3) and the Load Manna Knights (16-2) meet in another heavyweight battle.

The marquee match-up is expected to pit GM Mark Paragua, Ellan Asuela, Ezraline Alvarez and NM Carlo Lorena of Camarines against IM Paulo Bersamina, IM Jan Emmanuel Garcia, WNM Arvie Lozano and NM Pacifico Villasenor of Caloocan.

The Iloilo Kisela Knights of GM Rogelio Antonio, Jr., Karl Viktor Ochoa, Cherry Ann Mejia and NM Cesar Mariano gun for another sweep when they take on the Olongapo Rainbow in the first match and Manila Indios Bravos in their second matc.

The Leo Sotaridona-managed Kisela Knights swept the Pasig Pirates, 11.5-9.5, and Quezon City Simba’s Tribe, 18.5-2.5, to forge a three-way tie for the lead with Camarines and Negros at 16-3.

The Rizal Towers of playing coach Eugene Torre and manager Eduardo Madrid hope to improve their fourth-best 13-6 record in the North when they meet the Mindoro Tamaraws and Negros Kingsmen.

Zamboanga Sultans, led by IM Chito Garma and seven-time national executive champion Dr. Jenny Mayor, battle Caloocan Load Manna and Cagayan Kings.

The tournament is supported by the National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP), headed by Chairman/President Prospero “Butch” Pichay, and sanctoned by the Games and Amusements Board (GAB), headed by Chairman Abraham “Baham” Mitra.