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Championship feels for Queen's Gambit after getting 1st PCAP win

By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--Starting the season 0-6, the expectations continue to temper for everyone following Palawan in the PCAP All-Filipino Cup.

And then, the second half of the all-female squad's Wednesday night stint happened.

Finally flashing their dominant form, the Queens' Gambit ended their long wait for their breakthrough victory after blasting the Iriga Oragons, 17.5-3.5.

[Related Story: Palawan finally notches PCAP win]

While Palawan faced a fellow struggling squad, Head Coach Susan Neri treated the victory as if they just pulled the biggest win of their lives.

"Feeling ko, nag-champion na kami," Neri said on Thursday in the Usapang Sports online forum.

While it is still a long way to go, she believes that the Gambit's win put them in a good position of not flunking out in the tournament.

"Sobrang saya po namin. At least, hindi kami makukulelat talaga sa league," Neri further said.

She then recalled Team Owner Jorge Mitra telling them to "just enjoy the conference."

Neri also said that this victory was a remarkable feat for a club which was only formed during the PCAP Draft on Dec. 22, 2020.

"Finally, nakuha din namin yung tamang indak," she further said.

But even before the team notched the win, Palawan was in celebratory mood at one point.

When Women's International Master Shania Mendoza, the Gambit's first round pick and 24th overall, pulled off the biggest Opening Night upset on Jan. 16 by beating Grandmaster Joey Antonio, the second overall pick of the draft by the Iloilo Kisela Knights, in their rapid showdown, the Gambit, despite eventually falling to the Kisela Knights as a whole, celebrated as if they actually clinched the series.

"We celebrate these small wins and achievements that we do individually and as a team," Neri further said.

As it turned out, the small "party" was a set up to a bigger celebration Palawan will do after getting the first team.

"Magpapa-pizza ako sa mga players ko," Neri bared.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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