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San Juan-Iloilo, Manila-Toledo highlight Wesley So Cup Wednesday matches

San Juan-Iloilo, Manila-Toledo highlight Wesley So Cup Wednesday matches

Rick Olivares (Philstar.com) - June 16, 2021 - 11:42am

MANILA, Philippines – You bet the San Juan Predators are looking forward to this match against the Iloilo Kisela Knights.

The last time these two squads tussled, the Kisela Knights defeated the Predators, 14-7, in the battle for third place in the All-Filipino Cup of the Professional Chess Association of the Philippines last April. 

It is a different San Juan team that Iloilo will face tonight when inter-division play resumes in PCAP’s Wesley So Cup.

The Predators are tops in the north with a 13-2 record while the Kisela Knights — oft changed places with fellow southern powers Camarines and Negros during the elimination round last conference — are third with an 11-4 slate.

San Juan has been buoyed by Spanish GM Viktor Moskalenko and the strong showing of Filipino GM Oliver Barbosa, WIM Jan Jodilyn Fronda and IM Ricky de Guzman. The four give San Juan a huge chance to win in the top four boards at any given time. 

Iloilo, on the other hand, has picked it up after struggling out of the gates. With 25-year-old Polish GM Kamil Dragun picking up the slack from Armenian GM Hovhannes Gabuzyan, Iloilo has found its verve.

Dragun has come in and notched 13 wins and 6 draws versus one defeat. He has given Iloilo even more threats as they race up the standings.

San Juan closes out its evening with a match against the Iriga Oragons in their nightcap. 

The Kisela Knights boast of seven players with double digit wins including GM Joey Antonio (11-8-4), WFM Cherry Ann Meija (18-2-7), Cesar Mariano (24-1-5), Fritz Bryan Porras (16-2-7), Dennis Bernas (14-4-10), NM Jan Michael Silvederio (17-6-7) and Dragun.

Northern Division power Manila Indios Bravos are either looking to keep pace with San Juan or to forge ahead should the Predators trip in the Wednesday doubleheader.

The 13-2 Indios Bravos, in second spot owing to percentage points, will battle rising southern division team, Toledo City Trojans (fourth place with an 11-4 record) and the unpredictable and yet highly dangerous Zamboanga Sultans (sixth place with a 9-6 record). 

Manila is led by Indonesian IM Yosef Taher, Ronald Dableo, Cris Ramayrat Jr., Mira Mirano and Ryan Dungca. 

The Trojans have been given a boost in the top boards with Iranian GM Amir Bagheri who recently was proclaimed the Rapid Chess Champion of Monaco last Sunday, June 13; IM Rico Mascarinas, Richard Natividad, Rogelio Enriquez Jr. and Jinky Catulay. 

The Zamboanga Sultans are paced by Brazilian import GM Alexandr Fier, IM Angelo Young, Jenny Mayor and NM Joey Florendo.

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