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Torre is top pick by Rizal in PCAP Draft

Torre: No. 1 pick overall.

ASIA’S first grandmaster Eugene Torre was made the No. 1 pick overall by Rizal in the first-ever Professional Chess Association of the Philippines (PCAP) Players’ Draft at the Quezon City Sports Club in Quezon City yesterday.

Torre, who made history by becoming Asia’s first GM during the World Chess Olympiad in Nice, France in 1974, will now play top board for the Rizal team sponsored by the Barangays Achieving Thru Chess (BATCH) of chess patron Ed Madrid.

Actually, Antipolo was set to make the first pick, but traded its draft rights to Rizal, which holds No. 7.

GM Rogelio Antonio was selected as No 2 pick by Iloilo City, while Mickaela Concio was taken in as surprise No. 3 overall by Quezon City.

Iriga City also made a surprise when it took comebacking NM Glenn Altuz at No. 4.

Negros picked IM Joel Pimentel as No. 5.

Completing the Top 10 selections are Edsel Montoya, No. 6 by Cordova; NM Jose Aquino, No. 7 by Antipolo City; IM Ricky de Guzman, No. 8 by San Juan City; NM David Elorta, No. 9 by Mindoro; and NM Merben Roque, No. 10 by Lapu-lapu City.

Former Asian 16-under champion FM Vince Alaan went to Surigao City at No. 11.

Manila selected GM Julio Sadorra at No. 12, Camarines Sur picked Mark Paragua at No. 13; Olongapo City took NM Jefer Embuido at No.14 and Cabuyao chose GM John Paul Gomez at No. 15.
IM Rico Mascarinas was taken in by Toledo City as the No. 16 pick.

Also making it in the first round are Jake Tumaliwan (Cagayan), 17th; IM Chito Garma (Zamboanga), 18th; NM Marlon Bernardino (Gen. Trias), 19th; FM Joel Balico (Isabela), 20th; NM Elwin Retanal (Cebu), 21st; IM Paolo Bersamina (Caloocan) 22nd; GM Darwin Laylo (Pasig), 23rd; and Shania Mae Mendoza (Palawan).

A big surprise was United States-based GM Rogelio Barcenilla, Jr., who was not selected in the first round.

Cabuyao, however, took the opportunity to take Barcenilla and put him alongside Gomez.

Reigning national women’s champion Jan Jodilyn Fronda went to San Juan in the second round.

The three-hour long ceremony opened with inspiring messages from World Fischer Random champion GM Wesley So, Asian Chess Federation (ACF) executive director Toti Abundo and National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) executive director Atty. Cliburn Anthony Orbe.

Games and Amusements Board (GAB) Chairman Abraham “Baham” Mitra also delivered inspirational remarks.

PCAP founding president-commissioner Atty. Paul Elauria and PCAP Chairman Michael Angelo O. Chua welcomed the guests and participants.

PCAP director and treasurer Atty. Arnel Batungbakal made the closing remarks.

The PCAP First Conference is scheduled to kick off on Jan. 12.