SURIGAO Fianchetto Checkmates pulled off the worthiest of the four decisive victories in the quarterfinal phase of the 2023 PCAP-GM Wesley So chess team championships by beating higher-rated Mindoro Tamaraws, 16-5, 7-14, and 2-1 in Armageddon.
Malaysian Yinn Long Wong outduelled IM Barlo Nadera and NM Joey Florendo subdued AGM Nezil Arj Merilles in a pair of thrilling tiebreak matches to clinch the win for Surigao, which entered the play-in tournament as the lowest-rated team in the Southern Conference.
FM Julius De Ramos was the lone winner for Mindoro, edging Rhenz Auza.
Surigao, which finished sixth in the elimination round with 10-15 win-loss record, defeated Mindoro, 16-5, in the first match.
The Tamaraws, however, fought back in the second match, 14-7, to arrange the Armageddon tie-breaker.
Surigao will now meet No. 2 seed Iloilo Kisela Knights in the semis scheduled on Saturday.
The other semis match in the Southern Conference will pit top seed Toledo Trojans against Davao Stallions, who eliminated Cebu Niños, 15.5-5.5, 13-8.
In the Northern Conference, No. 3 Cavite Spartans bested No. 6 Manila Indios Bravos, 14.5-6.5 and 13-8, while No. 5 Laguna Heroes edged No. 4 Isabela Knights, 9-11, 15.6 and 2-1, in Armageddon.
Vince Angelo Medina defeated Lordwin Espiritu on board two and FM Dino Ballecer outplayed Anwar Cabugatan on board three for Laguna’s two victories.
FM Steven Breckenridge upset GM Rogelio Barcenilla on board one to prevent a shutout loss for Isabela.
In the semis, Cavite will meet No. 2 San Juan Predators, while Laguna will play top seed Pasig.
Pasig and San Juan clinched outright semifinals berths by finishing in the top two after the elimination round.
Toledo and Iloilo did the same in the South.
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 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.
North — San Juan vs Cavite, Pasig vs Laguna
South — Iloilo vs. Surigao, Toledo vs. Davao