WITH a little more than a month before the first-ever Professional Chess Association of the Philippines (PCAP) inaugural tournament on Jan. 12, the 24 founding teams are now busy mulling their line-ups ahead of the Dec. 20 draft.
Antipolo City holds the distinction of getting the No. 1 pick overall in the talent-laden draft, which attracted eight grandmasters, 11 international masters and nine top-rated female players.
Asia’s first GM Eugene Torre is the sentimental favorite to be selected No. 1 in the draft, although Antipolo may decide to go for younger but equally-talented players .
Iloilo, which holds the No. 2 pick, is another possibility for Torre since the 69-year-old Filipino champion hails from Iloilo.
Another team which expressed serious interest in Torre is Rizal, which is No. 7 in the draft.
Torre is a close friend of Rizal team owner-manager Eduardo Madrid of BATCH (Barangays Achieving thru Chess).
Aside from Torre, the seven other grandmasters who have applied in the draft are GMs Mark Paragua, Rogelio Antonio, Jr., Rogelio Barcenilla, Jr., Darwin Laylo, John Paul Gomez, Oliver Barbosa and Julio Catalino Sadorra.
Top female players in the list are reigning national women’s champion Jan Jodilyn Fronda, Bernadette Galas, Shania Mae Mendoza, Marie Antoinette San Diego, Catherine Perena-Secopito, Allaney Doroy, Cherry Ann Mejia, Kajoy Acedo and Mira Mirano.
Former national team standout IM Rico Mascarinas is also hoping to play in the PCAP tournament.
Also in the list are GM-candidates Haridas Pascua and Ronald Dableo, IMs Paulo Bersamina, Jan Emmanuel Garcia, Vince Alaan, Yves Ranola, Chito Garma, Ricky De Guzman, Cris Ramayrat, Angelo Young and John Marvin Miciano and titled players Edgardo Garma, Jerome Balico, Mari Joseph Turqueza, Jayson Salubre, Richard Natividad, Ellan Asuela, Cesar Mariano, Elias Lao, Rudy Ibanez, Carlo Lorena, Nelson Mariano III, Emmanuel Emperado, Zulfikar Sali, Deniel Causo, Eric Labog and Karl Victor Ochoa.
Based on the drawing of lots to determine the order of the draft, Antipolo will make the No. 1 pick
Iloilo will pick second, while Quezon City will choose third.
Also joining the draft are Iriga, fourth; Negros, fifth; Cordova, sixth; Rizal, seventh; San Juan, eighth; Mindoro, ninth; Lapu Lapu, 10th; Surigao, 11th; Manila, 12th; Camarines, 13th; Olongapo, 14th; Cabuyao,15th; Toledo, 16th; Cagayan, 17th; Zamboanga, 18th; General Trias, 19th; Isabela, 20th; Cebu, 21st; Caloocan, 22nd; Pasig, 23rd; and Palawan, 24th.