DEFENDING champion Pasig Pirates and San Juan Predators, the two most successful teams in the first two years, will clash anew for the Northern Conference title in the 2023 PCAP-GM Wesley So Cup chess team championships.
Pasig subdued Laguna Heroes, 12-9 and 14-7, while San Juan bested Cavite Spartans, 11-10 and 13.5-7.5, in a pair of tensely-fought semifinal encounters to arrange a titular showdown in the North for the third straight time.
IM Eric Labog shone brightest for Pasig as he swept Kimuel Aaron Lorenzo in all their four games — two each in blitz and rapid matches — to secure the much- needed six points for the Pirates of Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto and coach Franco Camillo.
IM Cris Ramayrat and Kevin Arquero also struck hard for Pasig with victories over Rodel Jose Juadinez, 3-0, and Dino Ballecer, 3-0, respectively.
The heavyweight battle between GM Mark Paragua of Pasig and GM Rogelio Barcenilla, Jr. of Laguna ended in fighting draws.
Rowelyn Joy Acedo of Pasig edged Shania Mae Mendoza of Laguna, 1.5-.5, in the female board.
The San Juan-Cavite semifinal.battle was just as exciting.
IM Paulo Bersamina and Narquinden Reyes provided the victories for San Juan in the first of their two-set showdown against Cavite.
Bersamina won over Jayson Visca in blitz and Carlo Magno Rosaupan in rapid and Reyes blanked Alexis Maribao in both matches to produce six points for the Predators of PCAP Chairman Michael Angelo Chua and coach Hubert Estrella.
IM Jan Emmanuel Garcia and WIM Jan Jodilyn Fronda were the top scorers for Pasig in their second match against Cavite,
Garcia humbled Raymond Salcedo in blitz and IM Rolando Nolte in rapid, while Fronda outclassed Marie Antoinette San Diego in blitz and Bernadette Galas in rapid for the much-needed points for the Predators.
GM Rogelio Antonio, Jr. was the lone bright spot for Cavite as he outplayed import GM Victor Moskalenko in all their four matches, 6-0, in the senior board.
GM Aleksey Sorokin outduelled Garcia, 2.5-.5.and San Diego downed Fronda for the other points of the Spartans.
Over in the South, Toledo Trojans slammed the door on Davao Stallions, 15.5-5.5 and 11.5-9.5, while Iloilo Kisela Knights edged Surigao Fianchetto Checkmates, 4-17 and 11-10 and 2-1 in Armageddon to set up their own title showdown.
Leading the way for Toledo are IM Richard Bitoon, who nipped Sander Severino, 2-1, David Elorta, who edged IM Jonathan Tan, 2-1; and Cherry Ann Mejia, who outsteadied Karen Enriquez, 2-1.
IM Kim Steven Yap also hurdled his matches against Henry Lopez and Irwin Aton.
Iloilo took two of three playoff matches to escape the upset ax against Surigao.
PCAP, the country’s first and only play-for-pay league, is headed by President-Commissioner Atty. Paul Elauria, Chairman Michael Angelo Chua, Treasurer Atty. Arnel Batungbakal and technical committee head Engr. Jojo Buenaventura.
The prestigious tournament is sponsored by San Miguel Corporation, Ayala Land and PCWorx and sanctioned by the Games and Amusements Board (GAB), headed by Chairman Atty. Richard Clarin.