By Adrian Stewart Co
Iloilo Kisela Knights reached the finals of the Professional Chess Association of the Philippines (PCAP) San Miguel Corporation-Ayala Land Cup after beating Penang Malaysia in the Southern Division finals on Wednesday night.
The Kisela Knights leaned on Fritz Bryan Porras and Karl Victor Ochoa in the Armageddon round to defeat Penang Malaysia and emerged as the kings of the south for the second straight conference.
“It was a hard earned victory for us. Penang was a tough opponent,” Kisela Knights head coach Hubert Canto said. “Credit to Fritz and Karl for their strong showing in the Armageddon.”
The Kisela Knights suffered a close 11.5-9.5 defeat in the first leg of the two-leg Southern Division finals before bouncing back with 14.5-6.5 victory in the second leg to set up the winner take all game.
The Kisela Knights edged Penang in the second leg’s blitz game behind wins by Ochoa (Board 2), Cherry Ann Mejia (Board 3), Cesar Mariano (Board 4), and Porras (Board 5) and a draw by Rogelio Antonio Jr. (Board 1).
The Kisela Knights also dominated Penang in the rapid event with two-pointers from Antonio, Ochoa, Mejia, Mariano, and Porras, who played the seventh board in the category.
“It was a total team effort,” Kisela Knights owner Leo Sotaridona said. “It was a great comeback for us and this tension-filled action against Penang showed Iloilo Kisela Knights’ teamwork became a difference.”
The Kisela Knights are set to face Northern Division champions San Juan Predators in a two-leg championship round on Saturday night. Predators reached the finals after beating Caloocan.
In their lone encounter this conference, the Kisela Knights suffered a 15-6 defeat to the Predators but Sotaridona is confident that the llonggos can replicate their success against San Juan during the PCAP GM Wesley So Cup finals.
“During that match, San Juan truly live up to being the number one team in the Northern Division. We just have to learn from our mistakes in that game ahead of our finals meeting,” he said./ASC, WDJ