By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
Another conference, another semifinal stint.
Since joining the Professional Chess Association of the Philippines (PCAP), the Iloilo Kisela Knights strived nothing but excellence and are on the verge of winning another title in the ongoing Wesley So Cup second conference.
Iloilo’s professional chess squad made another semifinal trip and is currently wrapping up their preparations against the Surigao Fianchetto Checkmates on December 2, 2023.
The Kisela Knights are aiming to replicate its win over Surigao after both squads faced during the November 22, 2023 PCAP match day schedule.
Despite trailing early during their highly-anticipated clash, the Kisela Knights were able to pick up their momentum in the last seven playing boards to pull off the win.
After facing an early two-point deficit during the blitz category, the Kisela Knights doubled their effort in the rapid to turn the tables of the match.
From a two-point deficit, Iloilo clawed their way back after outscoring the Fianchetto Checkmates, 10-4, made possible by several clutch wins in the last four playing boards.
Iloilo held Surigao scoreless in the last four boards and was sparked by outstanding performances from Cesar Mariano, Mark Jossel Mariano, Hubert Canto, and Rolly Parondo Jr.
After the long preliminary stage, the Kisela Knights will be entering the PCAP Southern Division semifinals as the no. 2 seed.
Iloilo amassed a total of 281 points and is sitting behind the Toledo-Xignex Trojans who grabbed the top spot with 352.5 points.
Meanwhile, in the Northern Division, the Pasig City King Pirates take the solo lead with 385.5 points followed by the San Juan Predators with 380 points.