ASEAN Para Games multiple gold medalist FM Sander Severino credited the Professional Chess Association of the Philippines (PCAP) for providing him “with a good training before representing the country in international competitions.”
Severino, who played for the Davao Eagles in the PCAP, said the opportunity to play regularly against the country’s top players in the fast-growing professional chess league helped a lot in his preparations for the recent ASEAN Para Games in Solo, Indonesia.
“Sa PCAP, mataas talaga yun level ng competition kaya malaking tulong ito para sa amin. Nandun lahat yun mga malalakas at magagaling na players natin, pati mga foreign GMs na nagsisilbing imports sa bawat team,” said Severino during the 34th “Sports On Air” via Zoom recently.
“Pag naglalaro ka sa PCAP or kahit naman sa ibang online tournaments, kailangan talaga maghanda ka. Hindi ka pwede basta sumali at maglaro na hindi ka nakapaghanda kundi mabubugbog ka lang,” explained Severino, who led Davao to a respectable semifinal finish in the Southern Division.
Asked about his perfromance in the ASEAN Para Games in Surakarta, Indonesia where he won four golds and trwo silvers, Severino said he was very happy with his performance despite playing against stronger and more-experienced opponents.
“I’m really blessed to win four golds and two silvers in the recent ASEAN Para Games,” said the 31-year-old pride of Silay City, Negros Occidental who rose to prominence by winning the International Physically Disabled Chess Association (IPCA) World Online Chess Rapid Championship in 2020.
“Nagpapasalamat ako kay Lord,ky coach James Infiesto at sa mga teammates ko na sina NM Henry Lopez, NM Jasper Rom and NM Felix Aguilera. Madaming naging challrnges, pero nanalo kami dahil nga sa team effort.”
Severino, who has now won a total of 19 gold medals in bith Asian and ASEAN Para Games from 1015 to 2022, said host Indonesia provided the biggest challenge to the Filipinos.
“Mahirap talaga kumpara sa mga previous editions ng Para Games, Yun Indonesia, nag-improve talaga yun line-up nila at may mga bagong malalakas na players, like IM Tirto,”explained Severino, who has been diagnosed eith amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) when he was eight years old after a bicycle accident.
“Nagulat nga kami sa team dahil yun level of competition talagang tumaas kahit pa nagka-pandemic.Yun actual games mas mahirap ngayon.”
Severino’s four golds and two silver medal haul is worth P500, 000 based on the Republic Act 10699, or the Athletes Incentives’ Act being implemented by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC).
Overall, the Filipino chessers bagged 10 golds, 11 silvers and five bronzes in the week-long competition held in the historic royal capital on the Indonesian island of Java.