Grandmaster Banjo Barcenilla swept all four of his blitz and rapid games to power Laguna to 16-5 and 14.5-6.5 destruction of Davao on Wednesday and straight to the Northern Conference semifinals of the Professional Chess Association of the Philippines (PCAP) third conference.
The many-time national champion and Olympiad veteran waylaid Ariel Aton and Aglipay Oberio twice each to help propel the Laguna Heroes to tomorrow’s semis clash with the San Juan Predators, who devoured the Isabela Knights, 15.5-5.5, and 18-3.
Also scoring significantly for Laguna were GM John Paul Gomez, who ended up with five points out of the possible six, and Kimuel Aaron Lorenzo, who likewise swept all his four games on the lowest board.
“Happy for the fine start in the knockout stage and beating Davao is a big motivation for us,” said Laguna’s playing co-team owner Fred Paez, who is hoping to reclaim the title it won in the first season last year.
Also making the semis in the North were the Pasig City King Pirates, who clobbered the Rizal Batch Towers, 16-5, 17-5-3.5, and the Caloocan Loadmanna Knights, who edged via Armageddon win the Manila Indo Bravos, 10-5-10-5 (0-3), 13-8.
In the South, it will be defending champion Iloilo versus Lapu Lapu and Camarines versus Penang, Malaysia.
Iloilo survived the Toledo Trojans, 12-9, 10.5-10.5 (3-0); Lapu Lapu eliminated SinQGApore, 12-9, 7.5-13.5, 2-1 (armaggedon); Penang trounced Negros, 10-11, 12-9, 3-0; and Camarines pulled the rug from the Philippine Para Team, 11-10, 12-9. — Joey Villar