PCAP semis slated tonight

Rick Olivares - Philstar.com
PCAP semis slated tonight

MANILA, Philippines – It is always best when it comes down to the top four teams. That is the way it should be disputed.

The semifinals of the Open Conference of the Professional Chess Association of the Philippines is Saturday night.

The battle for northern supremacy features three squads that have won it all — the Laguna Heroes, San Juan Predators and Pasig King Pirates, who wish for a dynasty of their own. The Manila Indios Bravos are one of those teams with a lot of “what-ifs” but they are here hoping to finally take it to the next level. 

Down South, only the Iloilo Kisela Knights have brought home some silverware, and they want more. The Negros Kingsmen have from PCAP’s inception been touted as a powerhouse squad but have always teased more than put fear into foes. With their best lineup in league history, they are poised to win it all.

Toledo is that other squad that took some lumps in their patient build-up to being a top squad in PCAP and they are now acknowledged as such. But they want more than that. They want to go to the Big Dance.

But the Davao Chess Eagles, a year old in the league, have bolted to the front of the line and are looking to steal the thunder from everyone.

The story of this semifinals is — mastery or breakthrough? Do some teams reassert their mastery over their opponents or can the latter finally get a win?

Pasig King Pirates (31-2) vs Manila Indios Bravos (23-10)

In their two elimination round meetings, Pasig handled Manila quite well, 14-7, and 17.5-3.5. Simply put, Manila has to get huge points up and down their boards if they want to achieve the mother of all PCAP upsets.

San Juan Predators (30-3) vs Laguna Heroes (24-9)

These old rivals saw San Juan take both elims games 11.5-9.5 and 16.5-4.5. But come playoff time, one cannot take the Heroes’ twin-GM attack of Banjo Barcenilla and JP Gomez lightly.

Davao Chess Eagles (31-2) vs. Toledo Trojans (23-10)

Davao took down Toledo 15.5-5.5 and 13.5-7.5. You can say the Trojans played a little better during the second round meeting. But “a little” does not cut it. You have to be at your best if you want to beat this new southern power in Davao.

Iloilo Kisela Knights (29-4) vs. Negros Kingsmen (28-5)

The Kisela Knights won 11.5-9.5 and 2-1 in Armageddon in the second meeting. You can say that the gap is closing. But the playoffs are the domain of Iloilo. The onus is on the Kingsmen to finally show that they are true contenders to the throne.

The semifinals of the Open Conference of the PCAP can be viewed on the Facebook pages of both the league and the respective FB pages of the different squads.

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