MEMORIAL CHESS TOURNEY. Honorary National Master, Dr Ariel Potot will do the ceremonial moves tomorrow along with Judge Rene Arroyo. (Photo by Lynde Salgados)
Filipina tennis sensation and Globe ambassador Alex Eala captured her second pro title after winning the International Tennis Federation (ITF) W25 Chiang Rai with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Thai netter Luksika Kumkhum on Sunday at the Chiang Rai Sports Center in Thailand.
This title is Eala's second pro crown and comes a little over a year after she captured her first one at the W15 Manacor in Spain.
Kumkhum put Eala on her heels early, breaking the Filipina's serve in the match's very first game. However, Eala was not fazed and broke her opponent's serve in the next game to tie it at 1-1.
Later in the set, Kumkhum had the inside track on breaking Eala's serve as she led 40-15 with the game tied at 4-4. But Eala was relentless, staving off the double break point to eventually take the game and the lead, 5-4. Eala pounced on Kumkhum in the next game to take the set, 6-4.
The second set was all Eala's as she zoomed off to a 4-1 lead and never let up to defeat Kumkhum, who was once ranked no. 66 in the world.
By LYNDE SALGADOS
FILIPINO Eumir Marcial survives 3 knockdowns to stop American Isiah Hart in fourth of a six-rounder middleweight duke-out. (Photo courtesy of Eumir Marcial's Facebook Page)
The team is being formed to hopefully compete in the National U19 Boys National Championship some time in May at the PFF National Training Center in Carmona, Cavite.
A total of 21 of the best young footballers in the region, born 2003, showed up in the first day of trials held last Saturday, March 26 at the Pelaez Sports Complex at the center of Cagayan de Oro City, Misamis Oriental.
Asian Football Confederation (AFC) B licensed coach Ivan Caiña conducted the trials in the absence of newly-appointed coach Jerome dela Peña who was in Cebu for business.
Among those who showed up was the former National U16 Philippine team player Josh Go. He played for Rosevale School during his elementary days and Corpus Christi High School during his junior high school.
Go is now a graduating Grade-12 Senior High student at Lumbia National High School.
He was a member of the Northern Mindanao team that played in the elementary boys in the Palarong Pambansa in Albay in 2016. He is an all around player who could play up front, in the midfield or at the back.
Another footballer who showed up was goalkeeper Andre Ebuna of Corpus Christi High School. Ebuna trained for a month in Germany through the Allianz football program.
Josh Go’s four teammates in Albay, Lyle Dy, JL Cascara, John Gementiza and Raffy Rubio also showed up for the trials. Dy, a Grade-12 student at Rosevale School, is a scoring machine and plays attacking midfielder.
Cascara, also a Grade-12 student at Rosevale, is a shifty winger. He played for La Salle in Manila when he was in Grade 10 but moved back to Rosevale School when the Covid-19 pandemic started.
John Gementiza used to study at Rosevale but has transferred to University of Science and Technology of the Philippines (USTP) for his Senior High School.
Raffy Rubio was part of the Philippine National U16 training pool. He is now enrolled at Corpus Christi School.
Caiña thinks that the team once finalized has the potential to be competitive enough to advance to the National Stage Group.
“However, we have to work hard on our fitness and how we can be efficient with it because we only have 2-3 weeks of preparation for the Regional Group Stage,” he said.
CMORFA will compete in Group F of the 2nd Division with Butuan-Agusan del Norte RFA, Agusan del Sur-Surigao del Sur RFA, and Surigao del Norte and Dinagat Island RFA. The regional competition is set tentatively on April 18 in Butuan City.
Completing the CMORFA who showed up for trials were midfielder Paulo Ladaga, defender Luigi Awayan, goalkeeper Rafael Reyes, midfielder Anthon Mendoza, goalkeeper Rommel Solis, winger Car Mabuhay, defender Ernesto Serioso, defender Gabriel Garrido, midfielder Lester Palarca, winger Kent Quieto, forward Nick Longganoy, defender Sheen Valdeo, winger Joh Salipnol, defender Christian Abad, and Kurt Tamabo.
Assisting Caiña during the tryouts were goalkeeping coach Lance Turrecha and young coach Dan Aquino. Another set of tryouts will be held on Friday evening at the same venue.
Head coach Jerome del Peña is expected to lead the trials. ([email protected])
Former National U16 team player Josh Go will lead the team. (Photo by Jack Biantan)
By Jack Biantan
MisOr Lavs team leaned on their tight full court press to sweep Harvest House Life Giver-College of Southern Philippines of Davao and win the first ever Mindanao Basketball Grassroots League title in the Big 8 Corporate gym in Tagum City, Davao del Norte.
The Misamis Oriental General Comprehensive High School (MOGCHS) of Cagayan de Oro manned team won the title when they dumped the Davao City based cagers in the best-of-three title series, 58-46, 86-56, to bring home the 18 and Under title.
“We applied full court and trapping defence all throughout and generated a lot of points from their turnovers to escape game one.” coach Jason Cagmat said.
He added that in the second match, Davao’s confidence collapsed as they failed to find a solution to their full court press making them to pull away and swept the series.
Cagmat then shared the victory to his assistant coach and trainer Patrick La Victoria who sacrificed a lot to prepare the players into shape.
“No body has broken our full court press as the players were in good shape. Thanks to our trainer Patrick for that.” he said.
Their three tiny guards Christian Cagas, Mark Herro Amper and Carlos John Barol were the thorns that brought down the school from Davao as their pesky defense contributed a total of 20 steals.
These steals caused turnovers and then en-route to mostly unmolested points that broke the backbone of the Davaoenos.
College of Southern Philippines tried to regain their composure with their high flying and high scoring guard Neil Poliquit.
But his efforts came to naught as he could not get support from his teammates.
Poliquit was no longer used in the second game as he suffered cramps allowing the MisOr boys to pull away with 30 points.
Chris John Dy, the 15-year old combo guard and big man Howell Dingal were also outstanding in the finals.
The MisOr kids pressure defense proved to be their killer move as they had an easy ride in the semis beating Palen Surveying from Davao del Norte 85-65 with shooting small forward Carlo Datangel shooting three 3-pointers, grabbing five rebounds and finishing with 15 points.
Their defense were also dominant in the elims, after they beat Tagum City 96-56 in the first game, then Basay Petroleum from Balingasag, MisOr., 108-62 and Harvest House Life Giver 91-71 in the third game to advance to the semis.
“We owe our success also to Mis Or. governor Bambi Emano for allowing us to use the MOGCHS facility to train and develop our players.’’ he said.
Coach Jason wishes to thank his players who have sacrificed just to join the tournament.
“We did not have sponsors. The players paid for themselves for our transportation from Cagayan de Oro to Davao and back. We also have to solicit from our friends for our food. But we are happy that our sacrifices have bear fruits.’’ he said.
Coach Jayson B. Cagmat, now a math teacher at MOGCHS and the school basketball coach since 2017, was a basketball Varsity player in high school for the Cagayan de Oro National High School where they were champions in different leagues in Cagayan de Oro and Misamis Oriental.
He led MOGCHS to a silver finish in the Northern Mindanao Regional Meet 2019. They were the NBTC champions in Misamis Oriental 2020 and CDO basketball Championships 2020.
Here is the official line-up of the team which competed in Tagum. 1. John Carlos Barol, 2. Christian Cagas, 3. Mark Herro Amper, 4. Chris John Dy, 5. Mark Howell Dingal, 6. Christian Kerr Vasquez, 7. Wenjie John Butra, 8. Nazar James Novo, 9. Karl Anthony Barcelona, 10. Mikmik Sanoria, 11. Cyrus Andrei Ubay Ubay, 12. Jun Carlo Datangel, 13. Khemer Alagon, 14. Klein Zedrick Garcia, Head Coach : Jayson Cagmat, Asst Coach/Trainer: Patrick Lavictoria.
The Mindanao Basketball Grassroots League (MBGL) is a project of former Ginebra San Miguel player Rey Perez to give the young players of Mindanao a chance to develop their basketball talents and give them a platform to showcase their talents.([email protected]
STANDING (L-R) Coach Jayson Cagmat, Klein Zedrick Garcia, Cyrus Andrei Ubay-Ubay, Christian Kerr Vasquez, Nazar James Novo, Mikmik Sanoria, Jun Carlo Datangel, Karl Anthony Barcelona, and Wenjie Butra Lower KNEELING (L-R) Mark Herro Amper, John Carlos Barol, Christian Cagas, Chris John Dy, Ian Howell Dingal. (Supplied Photo)
By Jack Biantan
THE Department of Education (DEPEd) Region 7, in cooperation with the Central Visayas Regional Football Association (CVRFA) and the Cebu City Government will hold a Palaro football bubble tournament dubbed as Lapulapu Cup next month at the Cebu City Sports Center.
Cebu City DepEd Sports Officer Francis Ramirez said that the different organizers have recently finalized the preparation for the tournament which is set on April 25-27 at the CCSC football field.
Two Cebu City teams, Don Bosco Technology Center, Abellana National School, Sacred Heart Boys School-Ateneo de Cebu from Mandaue City and Don Bosco Boys Home-Liloan National High School from Cebu Province will join the three-day bootfest.
According to Ramirez, the tournament is a pilot test for the onsite Palaro tournament for athletes born on 2003 and below.
The tournament was finalized during the meeting of the organizers in Cebu City and the inspection of the venue and the accommodations.
Among those who attended the meeting were Ramirez, DepEd Under Secretary Revee Escobido, DepEd Region 7 Director Sal Gimenez, and DepEd Region 7 Assistant Director Cristito Eco.
Palarong Pambansa Secretariat member Joel S. Erestain, Max Abalos, Edward Masukat, DepEd Palaro Football Manager Rufino Arellano, DepEd Palaro Referee In-Charge Dennis Estaniel, Central Visayas Regional Football Association (CVRFA) president Engr. Rodney Orale.and member of the organizing committee Archie Reyes were also present.
The tournament according to Ramirez will follow the COVID-19 protocols issued by the CEBU CITY Inter Agency Task Force (IATF) for COVID led by Cebu City Councilor Joel Garganera. ([email protected])
ORGANIZERS: Lapu-Lapu Cup football tournament organizers recently finalized the tournament in Cebu City. (Supplied Photo)
Cagayan de Oro pride, National Master Levi Mercado powered Olongapo Rainbow Team to the next stage of the Professional Chess Association of the Philippines (PCAP) season-ending 3rd Conference.
This, after the Olongapo chessers--with NM Mercado manning the top-board--crushed Cavite, 15.5-5.5 in their last game assignnent on Saturday night to barely qualify, notching the last eight slot in the Northern division's own elimination round.
Olongapo and its penultimate round conqueror Cagayan province were actually tied at 2-7 win-loss slate behind San Juan (8-1), Laguna (8-1), Pasig (7-2), Manila (7-2), Isabela (4-5), Caloocan (3-6) and Rizal (3-6), but the former got lucky in the tiebreaker to also advance for the first time.
"We're actually discouraged after losing to Cagayan earlier (10-11) maskin kulang wala ilang senior player sa board 4. But we chose to give it another try and focus in our last round fight," said Mercado, who was undefeated against Cagayan in both the blitz and rapid duels and yielded just a draw opposite Cavite's team skipper NM Almario Marlon Bernardino Jr.
The now 50-something Mercado from barangay Patag gained chess prominence when he won the board one gold at the expense of GM and IM rivals during the 1999 national inter-cities tourney in Cagayan de Oro City.
It was also in that same event held at the Xavier Estate gym that Mercado obtained the master title from the then governing Philippine Chess Federation (PCF) under the late Art Borjal.
With Mercado facing a stiff challenge in the next level, featuring foreign teams from China, Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia, are his beleaguered teammates Joshua Bautista, Angel Orijuela, Andriano Valenzuela, Gefer Imbuido, NM Kim Kenneth Santos and Glenn Garcia.
The top-8 qualifiers in Southern division are Iloilo (10-0), Negros (8-2), Lapu Lapu (7-3), Surigao (7-3), Palawan (6-4), Toledo (5-5), Camarines (5-5) and Mindoro (3-7).
National Master Levi Mercado is seen here reviewing some of the latest chess variations on his laptop computer. ( Photo by Lynde Salgados)
Filipina chessers, led by newly-minted Woman National Master (WNM) Ruelle “Tawing” Canino of Cagayan de Oro, came up short and settled for a silver in the 14-under girls' team event competition of the three-day Eastern Asia Youth 2021 that was concluded on Sunday, September 26 with the powerhouse Vietnam winning all the marbles.
The 13-year-old Canino, who already contributed at least 15 golds to the country's cause from the international chess level, did not win the individual gold this time around.
But to her consolation, Canino - who dropped to sixth-place overall behind all Vietnam rivals that occupied first to fifth spots - did not lose to any of them who swept the team and individual golds with Ngoc Tuong Minh Thai (8 pts), Binh Vy Nguyen (7) and Woman Candidate Master (WCM) Le Cam Hien Nguyen (7) leading the charge for a total of 22 team points.
Canino (6.5) and her compatriots Kate Nicole Ordizo (6) and Angel Nheazy Nicole Po (4.5) amassed 17 points for the silver.
Mongolia's WCM Batsaikhan Enkhsaran (6), Khuslenzaya Baldanjantsan (5.5) and Erdenejargal Undarmaa (5) logged in an aggregate 16.5 points to get the bronze in the 30-country rivalry hosted by fourth-running Thailand (14.5 pts) via online format.
The multi-titled Canino, an incoming junior freshman at Manila's Far Eastern University (FEU) through its scholarship sports program, scored 4 wins, 2 losses and one draw in missing the individual medal circle.
"She survived against all Vietnamese rivals but lost to a Thailander and to her own Filipina teammate. But the good thing is Tawing could still compete in the 14-under bracket next year. She's only 13 years old," her trainer Jaime Joshua Frias II said.
"Top 6 is not bad. But it means more serious training to prepare our little Tawing for the next battle ahead," said her father Ruel.
Canino's mother Maria Gina said Tawing's older brother Ronald, who qualified in the 18-under boys category to also earn a national master title, will try to win honors for the country in the resumption of the Eastern Asia Youth 2021 event on October 1-3 along with two other Filipino wood pushers.
Newly-minted Woman National Master Ruelle Canino of Cagayan de Oro scores 6.5 points to help the Philippine team's silver finish in the just-held Eastern Asia Youth 2021 chessfest. (Photo courtesy of the Canino family)
By LYNDE SALGADOS
CAGAYAN de Oro's Rene Barrientos, among the three surviving oldest Filipino world boxing champions, issued a serious challenge to presidential bet Manny Pacquiao: better look after first on the sad plight of fellow boxing legends in the Philippines.
Barrientos came about with this matter following the announcement of the world's only eight-division champion to run as president, some weeks after the wife of former WBA flyweight titlist Bernabe Villacampo sent Barrientos a private message to seek help for his husband's depressing health condition.
"From their hometown in Toledo, Cebu, Bernabe's wife Edna had chatted with me on Facebook if i could give him the telephone number of Manny Pacquiao for possible help to his husband who is now bed-ridden after suffering from a stroke," Barrientos said.
Both Barrientos and Villacampo will turn 80 years old next year.
They're the only existing world champions left from the time of the legendary Gabriel 'Flash' Elorde alongside the now 76-year-old Erbito Salavarria, the WBA/WBC and Lineal flyweight king from Manila.
"Even I have no friendly contact with Manny that i could not give Bernabe's wife any assurance to relay about their present condition in Cebu," said Barrientos, who took the WBC super featherweight crown in 1969 after a unanimous decision win against American Ruben Navarro before the home crowd at the Araneta Coliseum.
Barrientos, however, said that he and the rest of Philippine boxing's elite class are more concerned of the long-derailed "pension bill" for the forgotten Filipino boxing heroes whose number had dwindled to less than 20 based on the attendance of the last Banquet of Champions' tribute party initiated by the Elordes' family in Manila.
Barrientos said that the Pension Bill had already been discussed since the time of Pancho Villa, the first Asian and Filipino to win a world championship in 1923, up to Flash Elorde and the Manny Pacquiao eras--but to no avail.
Barrientos said the last time he checked, senator Aquilino 'Koko' Pimentel had told him the Pension Bill had already been approved in the Congress but did not progress for finality during the time of the late Noynoy Aquino and, unfortunately, until now.
For a fighter like him who started with a paltry P10- fight prize as an amateur in Marvel, Cotabato and a "very degrading" P5,000 purse in winning the world title, Barrientos said he could always look up to Pacquiao as very lucky considering today's astronomical pay fight in boxing not to mention the sky's-the- limit pay per view sales.
"Actually, this is not for us who only have little time left in this world but boxing's future generation to not inherit our very sad condition. And Manny Pacquiao being the mega icon is the great influencer that can deliver the knockout punch for the long-desired pension bill to materialize, perhaps with the help of Koko Pimentel and other boxing-loving legislators," he said.
For licensed Northern Mindanao professional boxing promoter Carlo Antonio Almirante, who is a lawyer, it's hard to justify the said bill in the plenary as it will raise many questions like from other sports disciplines that may also demand for their athletes to be covered too.
"While both amateurs and professionals represent our country, amateurs play for the game not for the pay. Mostly, the professionals are forced to fight for the money. Ask senator Pacquiao why he is still fighting even at his age, the billion peso pay is always worth it," was Almirante's contention.
However, Barrientos insists that Filipino boxing heroes deserve to be compensated like what other countries do such as in Panama where retired champions are provided with house and lot, allowance and scholarship for their children in school "because we gave Filipino fightfans unending joy with our ring exploits".
With or without the presidency, Barrientos said the now 42-year-old Pacquiao--who lost his last title fight to Cuban Yordenis Ugas in a Vegas ring in August--can leave a true legacy by pushing through with the bill.
In the annually-held Banquet of Champions cum Flash Elorde Boxing Awards Night, Barrientos said one could witness the harrowing state of his boxing peers who would attend the ceremonies in zombie-like manner-- they could barely walk, owing to physical punishment they incurred atop the ring.
"As one of the wealthiest politicians, Pacquiao has what it takes to make our dreams come true. That would be the most perfect legacy for him as a human being," Barrientos said.
Cebuano's retired fighter Gerry Peñalosa, a two-weight division world champion, said the pension bill is a welcome development.
"It's not easy but possible, hope it will succeed as its a big help for us," said Peñalosa, a self-professed big fan of Barrientos, who used to beat his also boxer-father Carl in their heyday.
Peñalosa said he was aware of the Senate Bill orchestrated by Pacquiao, creating a Philippine Boxing and other Combat Sports Commission (PBC), but had only learned of the Pension Bill in Congress filed much earlier, which is more specific and beneficial to elite boxers like him.
Later asked for comments, Cagayan de Oro 2nd district Congressman Rufus Rodriguez said he's proud to have authored the bill. "I have always admired Barrientos since high school when he bacame champion.
I will do my best for the pension bill to become a law," Rodriguez said.
Manny Pacquiao Facebook
It's time now to push the panic button.
The Mindanao chessers, bringing the name of the Surigao Fianchetto Checkmates, feel the need to do better in their next outings to avoid early elimination in the Professional Chess Association of the Philippines (PCAP) 2nd Conference hostilities.
This, after the Checkmaters slid to fifth from third place overall in Southern division after another 1-1 win-loss showing on Saturday against the Palawan Queen's Gambits and the Negros Kingsmen.
They will face the tough Toledo Trojans on Wednesday, September 29 after taking a bye in the 7 pm opener of the two-round per team online challenge via lichess.org.
"Only the top-8 teams from each of the Southern and Northern divisions will advance in the next level along with four foreign teams from China, Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia. So, hindi pwede mag-relax," said Surigao team owner Arena Grandmaster Rey Urbiztondo in reminding the Checkmaters who made it to the quarterfinals in the imports-flavored 2nd Conference.
After a 7-14 setback to Negros and a 13-8 triumph over Palawan, the Checkmaters composed of National Master Jonathan Tan, Lennon Hart Salgados, Aubrey Gallardo, Fr. Vic Arellano, Fide Master Vince Alaan, Tyrone Alaan, AGM Urbiztondo and alternates NM Joey Florendo, Jessa Mae Lisondra, Joselito Serna and Rogelio Canoy will face the Toledo Trojans on Saturday around 8 p.m. with a "go or bust" approach.
Bannered by Rommel Ganzon, Richard Natividad and International Master Rico Mascariñas, the Trojans had similar 4-3 record with Surigao but occupies fourth due to superior tiebreaker results.
The Iloilo Kisela Knights, the 2nd Conference champion, and the Negros Kingsmen are tied at first place with a perfect 6 points each, followed by Lapu Lapu at 5-2.
The Northern division saw San Juan as solo pacesetter with also an immaculate 6-0 ledger.
Surigao team skipper, National Master Jonathan Tan (in the middle) delivers a perfect 3 of 3 performance against the Palawan Queen's Gambits. ( Mindanao Chess Files)
Cagayan de Oro's Ruelle 'Tawing' Canino, seen as one of the futures of Philippine chess, opens her campaign today at 2 p.m. in the Eastern Asia Youth 2021 hosted by Thailand via online format from September 24-26.
The 13-year-old Canino, Mindanao's youngest Woman National Master (WNM) who already brought home at least 15 gold medals from the international chess arena, spearheads the Philippines' bid in the Asia Youth virtual chess competition after ruling the country's selection event early this month.
In that qualifying stage, Canino was made to compete against male rivals in the 14-under boys category after noticing that she's the only female participant in her bracket.
And survive she did, edging fellow 6-pointer Juncin Estrella in the Bucholz tiebreaker, 28.5-25.5, for the crowning glory.
Canino's older brother Ronald also qualified after his third-place finish in the 18-under boys division.
All top-3 finishers in each bracket will advance to the Eastern Asia Youth chessfest, according to the organizing National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP).
For their feats, the Caninos were also conferred with the national master titles by NCFP chairman Prospero Pichay Jr., thus making little Tawing as Mindanao's youngest titled chess player.
"I think the titles have been long overdue especially for the younger Canino (Tawing) who already brought so much pride and honor to the country in the recent past," said the Canino siblings' chess trainer, Jaime Joshua Frias II.
Frias said the young female chess whiz already racked up a total of 10 golds in the ASEAN age-groups in Malaysia and Thailand plus 5 more gilts during the 2019 Asia Youth competition.
"A bright future awaits Tawing Canino. I hope she can sustain the momentum in the international level with the help of the NCFP," added Frias, a Dubai Open and Australian champion himself in the challenger division.
The Caninos' mother Maria Gina said her youngest daughter had just accepted a scholarship offer from Manila's Far Eastern University (FEU) for its junior chess varsity team.
"There's still so much to improve in all facets of her game, including the opening, middlegame and endgame. We would surely miss her but this is what's best for her future," the mother said.
She expects Filipina compatriot April Claros and a Mongolian qualifier to be her daughter's toughest tests in the Eastern Asia Youth rivalry.
The 13-year-old Canino left a legacy at the Kauswagan Elementary School in Cagayan de Oro where she graduated. While a student there, she won triple golds during the Mindanao elimination of the 2019 Batang Pinoy meet in Davao, and then she capped it with the national championship victory in Puerto Princesa, Palawan, that same year.
Cagayan de Oro's Ruelle “Tawing” Canino (at left) of Cagayan de Oro during her 2019 age-group chess conquest in Pattaya, Thailand. (Photo courtesy of the Canino family)
MINDANAO'S Surigao Fianchetto Checkmates on Wednesday, September 22 pulled out a thrilling 11-10 victory over Mindoro to remain tie for third place in Southern division of the Professional Chess Association of the Philippines' 3rd Conference hostilities.
The Checkmaters lost earlier to Lapu Lapu in lopsided manner, 7-14, but their one-point squeaker over Mindoro was enough to tie them with Toledo at 3-2 win-loss slate behind solo pace-setter Iloilo Kisela Knights (5-0) and second-running Negros Kingsmen (4-0).
The San Juan Predators also posted an immaculate 5-0 record to keep the solo lead in Northern division of the country's first ever professional chess league.
The foursome of National Masters Jonathan Tan and Joey Florendo, Jessa Mae Lisondra and Joselito Serna orchestrated Surigao's 4-3 win in the blitz contest. Then Airforce standout Lennon Hart Salgados duplicated NM Tan's 2-0 finish on the top boards to cushion the impact of Surigao's lackluster show in the lower boards to hold on Mindoro in the rapid duel that ended at 7-all standoff.
"We got shut down by Lapu Lapu in the blitz showdown with only Fr. Vic Arellano winning by default. But we're still lucky to beat Mindoro by a slim margin and remain on the third spot. I'm just hoping that we can adjust to our weaknesses in our next outings," said Surigao team owner, Arena Grandmaster Rey Urbiztondo.
The Surigao Fianchetto, supported this time by Congressman Robert 'Ace' Barbers, is aiming to improve its quarterfinals stint in the 2nd Conference as Mindanao's lone official entry in PCAP's 3rd Conference online format rivalry that drew 21 local teams and four foreign entries from China, Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia.
Former University of the Philippines (UP) Maroons stalwart Aubrey Gallardo keys Surigao's pulsating 11.5-9.5 win over Iriga City in third round of PCAP's 3rd Conference action. (Photo courtesy of Gallardo family)
Northern Mindanao lost a young sports hero after Paulo Antonio Ceasar Calingin, a cornerstone of the local basketball squad that won gold in the 2013 Palarong Pambansa, died on Thursday night, September 16 after a week-long battle with ruptured AVM (arteriovenous malformation) in his brain.
The 21-year-old grandson of former Misamis Oriental governor Antonio 'Bong' Calingin succumbed to brain injury around 10 p.m. at the Polymedic Plaza in brgy. Kauswagan, Cagayan de Oro.
His father, Paul Andrew 'Andy' Calingin said he tried not to cave in from depression.
"He's not just an ordinary athlete and looked superbly fit at his age," Calingin said, explaining that AVM is not actually an aneurysm but an abnormal connection between the arteries and veins in the brain that usually forms before birth.
Known as Paopao to many friends, his mother is erstwhile national age-group tennis champion Jordana 'Kakay' Almirante of the famed Almirante family that revolutionized professional boxing promotion in Cagayan de Oro in the early 60s.
Paopao carved a name when he started as varsity player for the brgy. Macasandig-based Corpus Christi Grade School's basketball team in Cagayan de Oro.
As a kid, he formed a backcourt tandem with now National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) top guard Joel Diomar 'Maymay' Cagulangan as they anchored the Northern Mindanao team's first ever basketball gold finish in the Palarong Pambansa held in Dumaguete City in 2013.
Guided by the elder Calingin as the team's head coach, it was Northern Mindanao’s first ever and only gold triumph in Palaro basketball competition after 65 long years since the national students meet, governed and organized by the Department of Education (DepEd), started in 1948.
"Sa pag-uban namo ni kuya Pao since from the start, malipayon, ma respeto nga bata ug ang iya leadership ang ako ma mingawan. Never s'ya ga give up nga bata grabe ka fighter. Siya ako permi example sa Corpus Christi how to play defense," said Tristan Mark Pagente, among the coaching staff in the company of Bobax Echalico and the late Oscar Abucejo, when the Northern Mindanao Regional Athletic Assiciation (NMRAA) finally ended the region's title-drought in Palarong Pambansa basketball.
"Pao was a jolly kid, very respectful but with a warrior's heart that won't easily give up."
In the Dumaguete City Palaro, the NMRAA toddlers played undefeated in the basketball's elimination round.
They bested title-favorite Central Luzon via overtime play, 59-50 in the semifinals then came back strong in the finals to beat Davao region, 56-50.
A feat that both catapulted the Butuan native Cagulangan and the Cagayan de Oro pride Calingin into the high school varsity fold of La Salle University in Manila.
Also with Cagulangan and the late Calingin in the triumphant Palaro team are Angelo Richard Calonia, Francis Lyle Pagdanganan, Merson Galvadores, Jesse Saligumba Jr., Jose Antonio Dagalea , Matthew Du, Jeffy Mailim, Lorenzo Medina, Sean Bradley Toring and Chelouie Dorman.
"My grandson fought a good fight till the end," said 'Boy Al' Almirante, among the few left as "karaang bugoy" in the City of Gold since the post-war era.
Paopao was laid to rest on Monday, September 20 at the Oro Gardens.
Paulo Calingin then playing for the La Salle Green Hills in the UAAP junior hoopfest. (Courtesy of the Calingin family)
Inspired by the support of Congressman Robert 'Ace' Barbers, the new-looking Surigao Fianchetto Checkmates expressed optimism to better their quarterfinals stint, the last time out, as they wage war anew in the 3rd Conference of the Professional Chess Association of the Philippines (PCAP) online chess tourney via lichess.org.
"High morale kaayo atong mga players sa Mindanao with Sir Barbers' assurance of his financial support. This is a geat help for us to do better in our quest to bring honors to Mindanao," said team owner in newly-recognized Arena Grandmaster Rey Urbiztondo.
In the absence of US-based Grandmaster Enrico Sevillano, Davao City's National Master Jonathan Tan will man the Surigao Fianchetto's top-board position with new recruits in the youthful pair of Lennon Hart Salgados from the Philippine Airforce and NM Joey Florendo from Zamboanga alternating with Tan on board 1 down to board 2 assignment.
"GM Sevillano who is now a US citizen was able to play with us because the 2nd Conference is an import-flavored rivalry. But we're looking good right now with our young recruits that we're hoping to carry us in surpassing our quarterfinals stint last conference," added AGM Urbiztondo.
Completing Surigao's roster are University of the Philippines' (UP Maroons) stalwart Aubrey Gallardo on board 3 with Jessa Mae Lisondra as alternate, Fr. Vic Arellano of Cagayan de Oro on board 4 with Joselito Serna as substitute, and Surigao locals FIDE Master Vince Alaan, Tyrone Alaan and AGM Urbiztondo on boards 5 to 7 with Cyrus Donasco and Rogelio Canoy as alternates.
They are set to do battle with 2nd Conference champion Iloilo Kisela Knights of Grandmaster Joey Antonio and erstwhile child prodigy Karl Ochoa on Saturday night.
"This is a real test of might kay sayo kaayo namo ma-agbat ang champion. But we stand a good chance of upstaging them kay naa karon sa among linya ang duha ka reliable nga mga batan-on," said Urbiztondo, referring to former UAAP stars Salgados of the Far Eastern University (FEU) Tamaraws and NM Florendo of the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Growling Tigers.
Meanwhile, the Bisdak-powered Philippine Para team-- mostly composed of Visayan-speaking players with either physical and visual disability--is also joining the conpetition in the company of the Philippine junior team and the Davao Executives Chess Society (DECS) that defeated the Surigao chessers during their tune-up match in August.
Fronted by Silay, Negros Occidental-born FIDE Master Sander Severino, the first Filipino world chess champion who topped the just-held Surigao Open online tilt, the PH Para team is certainly won't be pushovers in the PCAP war.
For one, two of Para team mainstays--Henry Lopez and James Infiesto who both hail in Davao--were just conferred of the National Master (NM) title by the National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP).
A feat, of which Lopez said, would surely boost the whole team's confidence.
"Our intent when we accepted PCAP invitation is for training and to win the tournament. Next year, we will have the ASEAN Para Games in Vietnam by May-June then Asian Para Games in China by October and Olympiad for Disabled in Russia by August to compete," said newly-minted National Master (NM) James Infiesto, the team coach and trainer.
PCAP commissioner Paul Elauria said the professional league will grant the para chess team a "little elbow room" with the rules especially for the visually impaired players who need a personal assistant to make the moves, inorder to somehow "level the playing field".
The team emerged fifth overall in the FIDE Online Olympiad for people with disabilities last year spearheaded by Severino who brought home an individual silver medal.
Also with the PH para team are NM Jasper Rom, NM Darry Bernardo, Felix Aguilera, Menandro Redor, Arman Subaste, Israel Peligro, Francis Ching, Rodolfo Sarmiento, Cecilio Bilog, Anthony Abogado, Cheryl Angot, Fe Mangayayam, Jean-lee Nacita and Cheyzer Mendoza.