EXPECT more exciting and action-packed games when the 2021 Professional Chess Association of the Philippines (PCAP) All-Filipino tournament enters its win or go home quarterfinal showdowns in both the Northern and Southern Conferences on Wednesday, March 24.
Laguna Heroes, the No. 1 team in the North, and Iloilo Kisela Knights, the frontrunner in the South, battle lower-rated but dangerous opponents in knockout quarterfinal action starting 7 p.m.
Both Laguna and Iloilo finished with identical 30-3 win-loss records in the prestigious 24-team tournament sponsored by San Miguel Corporation and sanctioned by the Games and Amusements Board (GAB).
The Heroes, bannered by former Asian junior champion GM Rogelio Barcenilla, Jr and Jean Karez Enriquez, will test the mettle of No. 8 seed Antipolo Cobras, while the Kisela Knights, led by 13-time national champion GM Rogelio Antonio, Jr. and Cherry ann Mejia, will square off with No. 8 Cordova Dutchess Dagami Warriors.
No. 2 seed San Juan Predators will tackle No. 7 Pasig Pirates, No. 3 Caloocan Load Manna Knights meet No. 6 Cavite Spartans and No. 4 Manila Indios Bravos battle No. 5 Rizal Towers.
Barring any upsets, Laguna is set to meet Manila or Rizal, while San Juan is slated to battle Caloocan or Cavite based on playoff positioning.
In the Southern Conference, it will No. 2 Camarines Soaring Eagles against No. 7 Mindoro Tamaraws, No. 3 Negros Kingsmen versus No. 6 Lapu-Lapu Naki Warriors and No.4 Zamboanga Sultans against No. 5 Toledo City Trojans.
If the seedings hold, Iloilo will meet Zamboanga or Toledo, while Camarines will play Negros or Lapu-Lapu in the semis.
The win or go home knockout format, however, makes the playoffs a lot more exciting than the elimination rounds.
“Parang basketball din ito, bilog ang bola kaya madami pwedeng mangyari. Sa elimination wala gaanong pressure. Ngayon knockout na. Pag natalo ka, uwi na,” said Antonio when asked about the Kisela Knights’ chances in the playoff stages.
PCAP president-commissioner Atty. Paul Elauria said the semifinals are scheduled on Saturday, March 27, while the conference finals will be on March 31.
The Grand Finals pitting the North and South champions will be played on April 3
Already out of it are the Olongapo Rainbow, Isabela Knight Raiders, Cagayan Kings and Quezon City Simba’s Tribe in the North,; and Cebu City Machers, Surigao Fianchetto Checkmates, Palawan Queen’s Gambits and Iriga City Oragons in the South.
North quarterfinals: Laguna vs Antipolo, San Juan vs. Pasig, Caloocan vs Cavite, Manila vs Rizal
South quarterfinals: Iloilo vs Cordova, Camarines vs Mindoro, Negros vs Lapu-Lapu, Zamboanga vs Toledo.