July 25, 2021

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CEBU CITY – South top seeds Cordova Dutchess breezed through the semifinal round after disposing of no. 8 seed Surigao Fianchetto Checkmates in the quarterfinal round of the 2021 Professional Chess Association of the Philippines (PCAP) Wesley So Cup Conference, on Wednesday evening.

 

The Dagami Warriors defeated the GM Enrico Sevillano-led Surigao 2-0 in a two-set quarterfinal round which still features the Blitz and Rapid games. On the first set, the RiChess Masters backed Cordova Dutchess trounced the Fianchetto Checkmates 13.5 to 7.5 from a 4.5 to 2.5 edge in the Blitz games and a 9-5 decision in the Rapid matches.

 

The Dagami Warriors then finished the job with a 14-7 victory on the second set to eliminate Surigao for good.

 

Surigao made the quarterfinals after eliminating Lapu-Lapu City Naki Warriors in the play-in last Saturday. However, their hopes to advance deeper into the playoff rounds were doused by the toughness of the PCAP vice-chairman Ariel Potot-owned Cordova Dutchess.

 

Individually, Israeli reinforcement GM Nitzan Steinberg gave away the point in the two Blitz games and picked up a win and a draw in the Rapid matches against NM Jonathan Tan. Merben Roque scored a win in the Rapid (set 2) and a draw in the blitz (set 1) against the US-based Cebuano GM Sevillano, WIM Bernadette Galas swept all her matches with Jessa Mae Lisondra and Zsuzsa Tabudlong respectively, Mario Mangubat went 4.0/6.0 (2 wins – rapid set 1, blitz set 2, 1 draw – rapid set 2, 1 loss – blitz set 1) against Vic Arellano, Michael Joseph Pagaran had two wins (S1 blitz, S2 blitz), a draw (S2 rapid) and a loss (S1 rapid), Bryle Arellano also had two wins (S1 blitz and rapid), a draw (S2 rapid) and a loss (S2 blitz), and Allan Pason scored three wins (S1 Blitz, S2 blitz and S2 rapid) and a draw (S1 rapid) for a total 5.0 points out of a total 6.0 points per individual points.

 

Cordova’s complete transformation from finishing 8th in the previous All-Filipino Conference and outright elimination in the quarterfinal round was credited to the hard work and determination of the team and dedication of the support staff.

 

The Dagami Warriors will be playing against the no.4 seed Negros Kingsmen in the semifinal round on Saturday. The Kingsmen eliminated the 5h seed Zamboanga Sultans following a 2-0 win in the quarterfinal round, 13.5 to 7.5 and 12 to 9 respectively.

 

Cordova and Negros were 1-1 this conference. The Dagami Warriors defeated Negros via a thrilling 2-1 Armageddon decision after ending up with 10-5 to 10.5 deadlock last May 19 but the Kingsmen got back with a  14-7 victory last June 26.

 

Also advancing to the semifinal round in the south were Camarines Soaring Eagles and Iloilo Kisela Knights. The Soaring Eagles booted out Mindoro Tamaraws with a 2-0 decision (14.5 to 6.5 and 17.5 to 3.5) while the Kisela Knights ended the campaign of Toledo City Trojans via a 2-0 sweep (15-6, 15-6).

 

The Camarines-Iloilo matchup is a rematch of the Southern Division finals in the AFC. Camarines advanced to the national finals against the Laguna Heroes after beating the then top seed Iloilo.

 

Up north, tournament top seeds San Juan Predators swept Cavite Spartans after a 12-9, 18-3 rout; fifth seed Antipolo Cobras send fourth seed Caloocan Loadmanna Knights after winning the Armageddon tiebreaker game 2-1 after the regular matches settled to a 1-1 finish, 16-5 and 9.5 to 11.5. Second seed Manila Indios Bravos prevailed in an Armageddon game 3-0 after 7th seed Isabela Knight Raiders force a tie break following a 16-5 and 10-11 decision; and the Laguna Heroes advanced to the semis after containing the marauding Pasig City King Pirates 2-0 (12-9 & 17.5 to 3.5).

 

San Juan will play Antipolo and Manila faces Laguna in the Northern Division semifinal round. RCM