Freeman Cebu Sports

Toledo-Xignex Trojans still Southern Division champion

Emmanuel B. Villaruel - The Freeman
Toledo-Xignex Trojans still Southern Division champion
The Toledo-Xignex Trojans co-managed by Atty. Jeah Jean Gacang and John Signe remain as Southern Division champion of PCAP.

CEBU, Philippines — The Toledo-Xignex Trojans successfully defended their throne as the Southern Division champion of the Professional Chess Association of the Philippines (PCAP).

So determined were the Trojans that they courageously waded through two nerve-wracking Armageddon tiebreakers before edging the Camarines Soaring Eagles, 10.5-10.5, 2-1, 8-13, 2-1, to grab the South crown of the PCAP Season 4 All Filipino Conference played on Wednesday night, May 22, via chess.com platform.

“All Glory to God! It was a tough journey to reach the grand finals! I’m beyond proud of the team. Witnessing their hardwork, commitment and teamwork, and how they collaborated with each other, is truly something to be proud of,” said  Trojans co-team owner Atty. Jeah Gacang.

The Cebuanos had a tough time in the opening blitz but managed to hold Camarines to a 3.5-all stalemate in the first match. They also split the points, seven apiece, in the rapid game to forge an Armageddon.

In chess, International Arbiter and National Master Lincoln “Linky” Yap explained that the Armageddon is a variation of the blitz event where a drawn game is counted as a win for the black pieces. By nature, an Armageddon game cannot end in a draw and black also starts with less time on the clock than white.

In the first Armageddon, International Master  Joel Pimentel fell prey to FIDE Master Ellan Asuela of Camarines but IM Kim Steven Yap subdued FIDE Master Giovanni Mejia and Chin Lim stunned Grandmaster Darwin Laylo to power the Trojans to a thrilling victory.

Camarines though bounced back in the second set, securing a 9-5 win in rapid play and 4-3 in blitz to force another tiebreaker.

In the second Armageddon,  Pimentel lost to Asuela but Kim Yap tamed Mejia and Lim shocked Laylo against to seal the deal for the Trojans.

“This is a testament to your hard work, dedication, and strategic brilliance. Last conference, we ranked second overall, and now, we stand on the brink of achieving even greater glory,” said John Signe, who helps Gacang manage the Trojans.

Bannered also by IMs Angelo Abundo Young and Rico Mascarinas, NMs Edmundo Gatus and Merben Roque, Allan Pason, Diego Abraham Caparino and Christopher Tubalado, the Trojans skippered by Bonn Rainauld Tibod advanced to the National Finals for the second consecutive time where they will face the Manila Loadmanna Knights, who bagged the North title after outsmarting the San Juan Predators, 15-6 and 11-10.

Toledo and Manila will clash for all the marbles at 7 p.m. on Saturday, May 25.

“Manila is a super team with a grandmaster on board and other top players in the country. It’s a formidable lineup! But I firmly believe that anything can happen, and I have faith in our team, in each and every one of them,” said Gacang. “As we head to the Grand Finals, let’s remember that our unity got us here. Together, we can win it all. Let’s make it happen.”

“As we face our final challenge against Manila, it’s not just another match. It’s our chance to become the national champions. You carry with you the spirit and support of the entire Toledo people and all Cebuanos. Play with confidence, play with heart, and most importantly, play for each other. Let’s make history,” Signe egged on the Trojans.

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