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Torre, Fronda loom as top picks in PCAP Draft

Torre & Fronda
Torre (left) and Fronda: Top favorites.

THE Professional Chess Association of the Philippines (PCAP), the country’s first and only professional chess league, marks another milestone when it holds its first-ever Draft Day at the Quezon City Sports Club today.

Games and Amusements Board (GAB) Chairman Abraham “Baham” Mitra will deliver a special message to the PCAP officials and participants during the 3 p.m. ceremony.

Mitra is greatly responsible for the formal establishment of PCAP, which was granted full recognition by GAB last Sept.18.

GAB also presented the first government-issued chess license to Asia’s first GM Eugene Torre last Nov.18.

PCAP founding president-commissioner Atty. Paul Elauria said top chess personalities have been invited to deliver messages during the two-hour draft ceremony.

The highlight of the ceremony will be the special message from World Fischer Random champion GM Wesley So, who will congratulate both PCAP officials and participants in this trail-blazing pro chess league.

Asian Chess Federation (ACF) executive director Toti Abundo and National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) executive director Atty. Cliburn Anthony Orbe will also deliver messages of encouragement.

PCAP Chairman Michael Angelo O. Chua will deliver the opening remarks.

Torre will make the player’s response following the draft proper.

PCAP director and treasurer Atty. Arnel Batungbakal will make the closing remarks.

Elauria said all 24 member-teams will participate in the draft in time for the start of the First Conference on Jan. 12.

Torre, the country’s most recognizable player since the 70s, is expected to become the No. 1 pick overall.

Torre and reigning national women’s champion WIM Jan Jodilyn Fronda will headline the draft.

Antipolo City holds the distinction of making the No. 1 pick overall in the talent-laden draft.

Aside from Torre, the other grandmasters in the draft are GMs Rogelio Antonio,Jr. ,Mark Paragua, Rogelio Barcenilla, Jr., Darwin Laylo, John Paul Gomez, Oliver Barbosa and Julio Catalino Sadorra.

Joining Fronda as top female choices are Bernadette Galas, Shania Mae Mendoza, Marie Antoinette San Diego, Catherine Perena-Secopito, Allaney Doroy, Cherry Ann Mejia, Kajoy Acedo and Mira Mirano.

Also in the list are GM-candidates Haridas Pascua and Ronald Dableo, IMs Rico Mascarinas, 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 City will pick second, while Quezon City will choose third.

Also drafting 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.

The draft is expected to reach until the fourth round.

After the draft, the players are required to apply for GAB license to be eligible to play in all three conferences next year.

Each team is required to field two titled players, one female participant and one senior player and three homegrown participants.