MANILA, Philippines – Saturday was a test for the Caloocan LoadManna Knights.
Caloocan, who played only Filipinos in the import-seasoned Wesley So Cup, defeated the Pasig King Pirates 2-1 in Armageddon and then beat the San Juan Predators 11.5-9.5 in the nightcap to top the Northern to jump division of the Professional Chess Association of the Philippines with a 5-0 record.
This is the best start of any PCAP conference in Caloocan LoadManna Knights history.
In game one against former Northern League side Pasig, Caloocan won crucial points, with IM Jem Garcia claiming all three points against Pasig’s Singaporean GM Kevin Goh on board 2.
Newcomer IM Chito Garma, whom the Caloocan players call “their lucky charm”, also put in a good showing in both blitz and rapid against IM Cris Ramayrat Jr.
These strong performances saw both teams go into Armageddon tied after blitz (3.5-all) and rapid chess (7-all).
On the extra boards, Garcia’s top board partner, IM Paulo Bersamina, who was beaten in both blitz and rapid by Pasig’s GM Mark Paragua, returned with a win over the former.
Garcia defeated IM Ildefonso Datu to give Caloocan a mighty 2-1 win.
That propelled them into their second game, in which they recovered from a 4.5-2.5 deficit after blitz to claim a 9-5 win in rapid for an overall win of 11.5-9.5.
The crucial two points came from Bersamina, who defeated GM Oliver Barbosa.
Caloocan is expected to finally show off its import at the next PCAP-Wesley So Cup game date on Wednesday, June 1st.