By Adrian Stewart Co
Iloilo Kisela Knights emerged as champions in the Professional Chess Association of the Philippines (PCAP) GM Wesley So Cup after defeating San Juan Predators in the finals on Wednesday night.
The Kisela Knights opened the two-leg championship round with a 13-8 victory over the favored Predators before following it up with a close 11.5-9.5 second leg triumph for its first-ever PCAP crown.
“It was really a total team effort from start to finish. The team’s hard work did pay off especially here in the finals,” Kisela Knights team owner Leo Sotaridona said. “Hope we got more success as the team continues to improve individually and as a team.”
The Kisela Knights had a slow start in the first leg’s blitz game with only reinforcement Hovhannes Gabuzyan winning in Board 1 and Cesar Mariano and John Michael Silvederio settling for draws in Boards 4 and 6, respectively.
The Kisela Knights, however, charged back in the rapid on wins by Rogelio Antonio Jr. (Board 2), Cherry Ann Mejia (Board 3), Fritz Bryan Porras (Board 5), and John Michael Silvederio (Board 6) and draws by Gabuzyan (Board 1), Mariano (Board 4) and Dennis Bernas (Board 7).
The Ilonggos continued their run in the second leg’s blitz event with Gabuzyan (Board 1), Mariano (Board 4), Silvederio (Board 5), and Porras (Board 7) scoring wins and Karl Victor Ochoa being held to a draw in Board 2.
Iloilo, however, was challenged by San Juan in the rapid event with only Gabuzyan (Board 1), Mejia (Board 3) and Bernas (Board 6) nailing two-pointers each and Mariano (Board 4) forcing a draw.
Mariano’s draw with San Juan’s Ricardo de Guzman was the title clincher for the Kisela Knights as the match could have been stretched to a do-or-die Armageddon or tiebreak game if the latter won.
“Preparation and conditioning ‘yung naging key namin the entire conference,” said Kisela Knights mentor Hyubs Canto. “We really trained hard our homegrown players and nagbunga naman because we won it all.”
The Kisela Knights advanced to the finals after defeating Cordova Dutchess Dagami Warriors in the Southern Division finals, while the Predators prevailed over Laguna Heroes in the Northern Division finale./ASC, WDJ