TOP seeds Laguna Heroes and San Juan Predators hurdled their respective quarterfinal opponents to remain on collision course in the Northern Conference of the 2021 Professional Chess Association of the Philippines (PCAP) All-Filipino tournament.
The Heroes, led by two-time Asian Junior champion GM Rogelio Barcenilla Jr., and GM John Paul Gomez, eliminated No. 8 Antipolo Cobras, 16-5 and 19-2, in their two-set knockout showdown.
Barcenilla and Gomez teamed-up with FM Austin Jacob Literatus, FM Efren Bagamasbad and Vince Angelo Medina to power the Heroes of PECA president Dr. Fred Paez to a pair of surprisingly easy victories over the Cobras of NCFP director Binky Gaticales.
WNM Christy Lamiel Bernales and Jude Ulanday carried the fight for Antipolo by winning over WNM Jean Karen Enriquez and Kimuel Aaron Lorenzo, respectively.
Up next for Laguna in the semis will be No. 4 seed Manila Indios Bravos, who advanced following an Armageddon victory over No. 5 seed Rizal Towers, 12-9 and 10.5-10.5.
GM Julio Catalino Sadorra and IM John Marvin Miciano led the Indios Bravos to victory over the GM Eugene Torre-led Towers.
The Predators, bannered by GM Oliver Barbosa and reigning national women’s champion WIM Jan Jodilyn Fronda, outsteadied No. 7 Pasig Pirates, 11.5-9.5 and 13.5-7.5.
Barbosa, Fronda, Arden Reyes and IM Ricky de Guzman delivered the much-needed victories for the Predators of PCAP president Michael Angelo Chua and coach Hubert Estrella.
San Juan’s semifinal opponent is No. 3 Caloocan Load Manna Knights, who defeated the Cavite Spartans in another Armageddon finish, 14.5-6.5, and 8.5-12.5.
IM Paulo Bersamina salvaged a draw from an inferior position against IM Petronio Roca while IM Jan Emmanuel Garcia outclassed Renie Malupa for Cavite’s match-clinching points.
The Load Manna Knights of PCAP treasurer Attty. Arnel Batungbakal actually dominated the first set played in blitz and rapid format but needed a victory in the three-game playoffs to reach the semis.
There was no surprise in the Southern Conference with the top four teams advancing to the semis outright.
Top seed Iloilo Kisela Knights,led by by 13-time Philippine Open champion GM Rogelio Antonio Jr., slammed the door in No. 8 Cordova Dagami Warriors, 14-7 and 15.5-5.5.
Also making it to the semis are No. 2 Camarines Soaring Eagles, who eliminated No. 7 Mindoro Tamaraws, 16.5-4.5 and 15.5-5.5; No. 3 Negros Kingsmen, who dispatched the Lapu-Lapu City Naki Warriors, 14-7 and 13.5-7.5; and No. 5 Toledo City Trojans, who subdued No. 4 Zamboanga Sultans, 12.5-8.5 and 12-9.
In Saturday’s semis, it will be Iloilo against Toledo and Camarines against Negros.
The semifinal pairings:
No.1 Laguna Heroes vs. No. 4 Manila Indios Bravos
No. 2 San Juan Predators vs. No. 3 Caloocan Load Manna Knights
No. 1 Iloilo Kisela Knights vs. No. 5 Toledo City Trojans
No. 2 Camarines Soaring Eagles vs. No. 3 Negros Kingsmen