Iloilo Kisela Knights end 2023 PCAP campaign with a semifinal finish

It was still a good run, Iloilo Kisela Knights! ((DragonImages/stock.adobe.com)

By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña

The Iloilo Kisela Knights ended their 2023 Professional Chess Association of the Philippines (PCAP) 1st conference with another semifinal finish and kept its streak of playoff appearances alive.

Despite receiving a loss from Southern Division rival squad Negros in the Final Four, it was still an impressive run for the Ilonggos despite major changes in their active roster heading into the first conference of PCAP.

The Kisela Knights lost both sets against Negros, 14-7, 12-9, and are taking this defeat as a valuable lesson as part of their preparations for the upcoming second conference of the tournament.

It was a shaky start for Iloilo after immediately trailing 2-5 in the blitz category in their opening match against Negros.

Despite scoring five playing boards in the rapid category, Negros still clinched an early 1-0 lead after scoring nine points in the last seven playing boards to complete a 14-point opening set performance.

During the second match, the Kisela Knights showed a better performance and dragged Negros into a tightly-contested battle.

After a slow start in the first seven playing boards in the first set, Iloilo turned it up in the rematch and even tied things up after back-to-back board wins.

However, Negros found a slight scoring edge in the last seven playing boards to deny the valiant comeback from the Kisela Knights that officially ended their run in the first PCAP conference.

In an interview with the Kisela Knights management, they are still proud of what Iloilo achieved despite a crucial roster reshuffle that highlighted an All-Ilonggo lineup including several young stars that are still trying to cement their names in the sport of chess.

Iloilo will now go back to the drawing board and will still have plenty of time to adjust before the second PCAP conference kicks off.