By Adrian Stewart Co
Iloilo Kisela Knights moved on to the semifinals round of the Professional Chess Association of the Philippines (PCAP) San Miguel Corporation-Ayala Land Cup on Wednesday night.
The PCAP second conference champions needed the heroics of Fritz Bryan Porras, Karl Victor Ochoa and Rogelio Antonio Jr. in the Armageddon to stave off Toledo Trojans in the Southern Division quarterfinals round.
Prior to that, the Kisela Knights defeated Trojan in the first leg of their two-leg quarterfinals, 12-9, but Toledo bounced back in the second leg, 10.5-10.5, sending the match to a do-or-die game.
Kisela Knights head coach Hubert Canto admitted that the players were a little off in the second leg but got a huge break in the Armageddon to keep their back-to-back title hopes alive.
“Credit goes to Fritz, Karl and Joey,” Canto said. “It was a tough game since Toledo were no pushovers, good thing our veterans stood up during the Armageddon and we prevailed.”
The Kisela Knights now advances to the two-leg Southern Division semifinals on Saturday evening against Lapu-Lapu City Naki Warriors, which stunned Singapore in the quarterfinals match.
“We will definitely prepare for the Lapu-Lapu City game especially since they came from a huge win over the higher-seed Singapore,” Canto said. “We have beaten them in the eliminations but playoffs is a different game.”
Unlike the Kisela Knights, the Negros Kingsmen were not fortunate as they were defeated by Penang in Armageddon in their tightly-contested Southern Division quarterfinals game.
The Kingsmen drew first blood in the two-leg quarterfinals with a close 11-10 victory but Penang bounced back in the second leg, 12-9, to force a decider. Penang won the Armageddon, 3-0, to reach the next level.
“It was a heartbreaking defeat because it was a close one but that’s why it is sports,” said Kingsmen co-team owner Carlo Fontelo. “We will just learn from this and bounce back next season.”/ASC, WDJ