Saturday, January 8, 2011

GIVEN the break to play board one and the honor to lead the invocation, now it’s up for Cagayan de Oro pride Lennon Hart Salgados and the rest of the Far Eastern University Tamaraws to take the challenge in the 73rd UAAP chess tournament, which opens Saturday at the FEU New Tech Mini Auditorium in Manila.

Both the FEU’s men and women’s teams are defending champions in this keenly-awaited UAAP chess wars.

“There’s a lot of pressure playing board one for the winningest chess squad in the UAAP. Kay every round in case mapilde ang nasabotan puwersado nga pahulay,” Salgados, a former standout of Corpus Christi School, told Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro via e-mail.

Aside from Salgados, two more Kagay-anons — Antonio Chavez Jr. and Alfredo Rapanot — reinforce the FEU men’s quest for a fifth-straight title finish in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines chess championships.

Both Salgados and Rapanot are first-timer in the UAAP chess.

His solid play and good endgame technique had probably convinced FEU head coach, Grandmaster Jayson Gonzales, to assign Salgados in the toughest board assignment.

Reigning men’s MVP Sheider Nebato of General Santos City will play board 2, while Rapanot and Chavez will man board 3 and 4, respectively.

On boards 5 and 6 are “Manila boy” Joseph Bersamina and Bacolod native Kevin Mirano.

“Para sa ako, it’s going to be a big fight for Mindanao and Visayas in UAAP chess kay except of Bersamina puro bisaya `ming tanan sa FEU men,” added Chavez through Facebook interaction.

Out to retain the title for FEU’s female chessers are Jedara Docena, Teresa Marie Galang, Lovelyn Medina, Angelina Mortos, Ronna Señora and Nikki Erica Yngayo.

Last year’s runner-up Ateneo, led by Season 72 Rookie-MVP Chardine Cheradee Camacho, is out to challenge FEU for the crown anew, while the Nelson Mariano III-led University of the East squad will be one of the toughest competitors for FEU in the men’s division.

Lawn tennis will also open Saturday at the Rizal Memorial Tennis Center with reigning men’s champion University of Santo Tomas and women’s titlist La Salle aiming to defend their respective titles.

UST is expected to have a hard time defending its crown, with last year’s co-MVP’s Miguel Lorenzo Narvaez and Raymund Villarete having completed their UAAP playing years.

In the women’s division, last year’s MVP Gine Trudy Amoranto and top rookie Regina Santiago are back to help La Salle defend its women’s trophy. (LLS/With GMA reports)

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on January 08, 2011.