WITH the semis cast now complete, the battle royale shifts into high gear with all eight remaining teams — four each in the Northern and Southern Conferences — looking to deliver the knockout punch and make it to conference finals in the 2021 Professional Chess Association of the Philippines (PCAP) All-Filipino tournament.
Top seed Laguna Heroes square off with No. 4 seed Manila Indios Bravos, and No. 2 San Juan Predators tangle with No. 3 Caloocan Load Manna Knights in the North; while No. 1 Iloilo Kisela Knights test the mettle of No. 5 Toledo City Trojans, and No. 2 Camarines Soaring Eagles collide with No. 3 Negros Kingsmen in the South.
The winners of the semifinal matches scheduled at 6 p.m. Saturday will dispute the conference championship in this trail-blazing competition supported by San Miguel Corporation.
The North and South champions will battle for the overall championship and the bragging right as the first-ever PCAP champion.
The semifinal matches will also feature the country’s top players capable of producing note-worthy games in both blitz and rapid format.
In the North are GM Rogelio Barcenilla Jr., FM Austin Jacob Literatus, Karen Jean Enriquez, FM Efren Bagamasbad and GM John Paul Gomez of Laguna against GM Julio Sadorra, IM John Marvin Miciano , Mira Mirano, Cris Ramayrat and IM Angelo Young of Manila; and GM Oliver Barbosa, Narquingden Reyes, WIM Jan Jodilyn Fronda, IM Ricky de Guzman and Narquingel Reyes of San Juan against IM Paulo Bersamina, Jan Emmanuel Garcia, WNM Arvie Lozano, NM Pacifico Villasenor and FM Nelson Villanueva of Caloocan.
The South will feature GM Rogelio Antonio, Jr., Karl Viktor Ochoa, Cherry Ann Mejia, NM Cesar Mariano and NM John Mixhael Silvederio of Iloilo against Rommel Ganzon, Richard Natividad, Jean Gacang, IM Rico Mascarinas and Rogelio Enriquez of Toledo; and GM Mark Paragua, Ellan Asuela, Ezraline Alvarez, NM Carlo Lorena and NM Ronald Llavanes of Camarines against FM Nelson Mariano, FM Randy Segarra, AGM Rowelyn Joy Acedo, NM Rosendo Bandal and IM Joel Pimentel of Negros.
Last Wednesday, Laguna eliminated No. 8 Antipolo Cobras, 16-5 and 19-2; San Juan outsteadied No. 7 Pasig Pirates, 11.5-9.5 and 13.5-7.5; Caloocan edged Cavite Spartans in Armageddon, 14.5-6.5, and 8.5-12.5; and Manila survived No. 5 seed Rizal Towers in another Armageddon, 12-9 and 10.5-10.5.
In the South, Iloilo trampled No. 8 Cordova Dagami Warriors, 14-7 and 15.5-5.5, Camarines bested No. 7 Mindoro Tamaraws, 16.5-4.5 and 15.5-5.5; Negros Kingsmen dispatched No. 6 Lapu-Lapu City Naki Warriors, 14-7 and 13.5-7.5; and Toledo City overcame No. 4 Zamboanga Sultans, 12.5-8.5 and 12-9.
PCAP, the country’s first government-licensed professional chess league, is headed by Atty. Paul Elauria, president-commissioner; Michael Angelo Chua, chaIrman: and Atty. Arnel Batungbakal, treasurer.
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