CEBU CITY – The Iloilo Kisela Knights picked the right time to avenge its elimination round losses to the Cordova Dutchess Dagami Warriors as the third seed team eliminated the south top finisher in the Division Finals via 2-0 to move to the National Finals in the 2021 Professional Chess Association of the Philippines (PCAP) Wesley So Cup Conference.
GM Joey Antonio-led Kisela Knights scored a 13-8 win in the opening set then ramped up its performance in the second set for the National finals clinching 15.5 to 5.5 win to eliminate the Dagami Warriors.
No players from Cordova put up a steady performance, not even its reinforcement Israeli GM Nitzan Steinberg who lost the Rapid matches to GM Antonio and had a 1-1 performance in the Blitz games with Karl Victor Ochoa.
WIM Bernadette Galas was the top scorer of the Cebuano-based squad as she scored 4 points of a total 6.0 points in Board 3 against WFM Cherry Ann Mejia in Board 3 followed by Bryle Arellano who had 3.0 in Board 5 and Mario Mangubat who had 2.5 points against NM Ceasar Mariano.
What Cordova came unprepared for was Iloilo’s complex strategies of changing players on every match.
GM Steinberg for one had to play Ochoa in the Blitz and Antonio in the Rapid games. While in the homegrown player’s Fritz Bryan Porras, Denis Bernas, and NM John Michael Silvederio played alternately against Cordova’s Bryle Arellano in Board 5, Allan Pason in Board 6 and Michael Joseph Pagaran in Board 7.
That strategy earned Iloilo a total of 13 points compared to Cordova’s 5 points in the three homegrown boards.
Iloilo will play tournament top seed and North Division champions San Juan Predators, who earlier eliminated Laguna Heroes via 2-0 sweep (12-9; 13.5 to 7.5).
The Cordova Dutchess will try to settle for third place when they play Laguna on Wednesday, August 4, which be held simultaneously with the Grand Finals between San Juan and Iloilo. RCM