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Iloilo confident in Wesley So Cup title defense

Rick Olivares - Philstar.com
Iloilo confident in Wesley So Cup title defense

MANILA, Philippines – Although the last two finals of the Professional Chess Association of the Philippines have not gone the way of the Iloilo Kisela Knights, they take heart in the fact that they have four trophies in as many conferences and have made the finals three straight times.

And there’s the return of their Armenian Grandmaster Hovhannes Gabuzyan for the second staging of the import-spiced Wesley So Cup that kicks off Saturday, May 21. 

“Iloilo is pretty much ready for action,” pronounced Kisela Knights team owner Leo Sotaridona from his home in the United States. “Our Armenian import is coming back and that is one thing we are excited about.”

“Our lineup has been quite stable since we added NM Rolly Parondo Jr., who has reinforced our homegrown squad.”

Gabuzyan’s return gives Iloilo a twin-Grandmaster attack, with Joey Antonio moving from the top two boards to the senior board depending on match-ups. Along with Karl Viktor Ochoa, Iloilo has the flexibility to dominate three immediate boards. 

Ochoa and Parondo Jr. are consistently among the Top 25 players in the league.

Speaking of best players, GM Antonio was the best player of the recently concluded All-Filipino Cup where he finished with 51 wins, 14 draws and only three losses — the fewest by any player in the league. As such, he garnered a total of 86 won points.

Cherry Ann Meija is one of the top women players in the league as is senior player, NM Cesar Mariano.

And there is their trio of homegrown studs in John Michael Silvederio, Fritz Bryan Porras and Parondo.  

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