PCAP: Going homegrown with the Cagayan Kings
Upper left: Cagayan Kings Robert Mania, Jeff Tugade and Jake Tumaliuan; lower left: Cagayan Kings owner Joel Butuyan; right: 18-year-old team member Krizza Mae Biggayan.

PCAP: Going homegrown with the Cagayan Kings

Rick Olivares (Philstar.com) - January 19, 2021 - 3:49pm

MANILA, Philippines – If it all goes according to plan, the next big export from the Cagayan Valley could be its homegrown chess players.

The Cagayan Kings — Jake Tumaliuan, Jojo Foz, Krizza Mae Biggayan, Lambert Arugay, Emerson Aquio, Robert Mania, Danilo Bartolome Jr., Jefferson Tugade, Judemund Ramirez and John Robert Bumatay — are all homegrown stars and ready to make a case for themselves in the inaugural Professional Chess Association of the Philippines and Philippine sports.

And if their opening day 11-10 win over the Pasig Pirates is any indication, they are off to a good start.

“We decided to go homegrown for several reasons,” bared Cagayan Kings owner Joel Butuyan. “Our participation is an earnest desire to help homegrown players to show their talents and skills from the Cagayan Valley region. Our players here haven’t gotten exposure on a national level so we (the country) is finding out that we can compete.”

Butuyan also emphasized that his team couldn’t get players from outside the region so they decided to rely on local chess players.

“Jake Tumaliuan was really the overwhelming pick among all the (regional) players,” added the team owner. “It is a recognition that he is the best in the province.”

“Jake ekes out a living as a tricycle driver (as is his father),” narrated the team owner of his squad’s Board 1 player who made news after he defeated Grandmaster Darwin Laylo in rapid match play. “He learned chess by watching his father and his friends play. His lifelong dream is to play with chess masters so he is living his dream through the Kings and PCAP.”

“I actually didn’t know the chess personalities in Cagayan because I was working in Manila before the pandemic hit and only flew to Cagayan during weekend to visit my wife and baby who are based here. But because of the pandemic, I decided to stay here in Cagayan and work from here.”

Butuyan linked up with the Cagayan Valley Chess Association and from there, selected the players who would comprise its initial roster. 

The Cagayan Kings return to action this coming Wednesday, January 20, with matches against the Antipolo Cobras and the San Juan Predators.

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