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Mejia escapes over Alvarez in late night replay as Iloilo hands Camarines 1st defeat

By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--Another erstwhile undefeated team fell down in the PCAP All-Filipino Cup in the most dramatic of fashions.

Camarines suffered its first defeat of the tournament at the hands of Iloilo, 9.5-11.5, on Saturday night.

A women's rapid battle between Women's FIDE Master Cherry Mejia and Ezraline Alvarez eventually decided the tie as a replay was ordered right after all the Round 9 matches were played.

The tie between the Soaring Eagles and the Kisela Knights in Round 8 initially took an anticlimactic turn when technical problems hampered the Mejia-Alvarez rapid game with both teams deadlocked, 9.5-all.

Both Camarines and Iloilo's Round 9 matches went on smoothly without hitches with Camarines downing Lapu-Lapu, 11.5-9.5, and Iloilo zapping Cordova, 17-4, leaving only the Mejia-Alvarez match to be disputed.

Time was on Alvarez's side 21 moves into the contest where she, taking the black pieces, played Sicilian Defense.

However, internet problems began catching up on her, and Mejia eventually clinched the game that seemed like heading to a draw after Alvarez's time ran out.

With the Eagles' loss that sent them down to a tie with their tormentors for second place in the South at 8-1, the Negros Kingsmen are now the only unbeaten team left in the said conference.

Negros survived Zamboanga's upset bid with an 11.5-9.5 win in Round 8 before trampling Surigao in Round 9, 18-3, to go up to 9-0.

Meanwhile, Cebu City is now winless no more after beating Iriga, 13-8, in their Round 9 battle, assuring that all the 24 participating teams in PCAP's inaugural staging have already notched victories.

On the other hand, Palawan, which notched its own first win over the same Iriga squad on Wednesday night, was sent back to earth with back-to-back defeats to Mindoro, 6.5-14.5, and Zamboanga, 8-13.

Pending the result of the Oragons' Round 8 tie against the Toledo Trojans, which was rescheduled to a later date, the Queens' Gambit and the Machers are once again tied at the South cellar with identical 1-8 records.

Over at the North, Caloocan kept its own perfect record intact after wins against Antipolo, 12.5-8.5, and Cagayan, 17.5-3.5.

However, the Cobras' Saturday night stint ended in a cliffhanger as their Round 9 regulation against the General Trias Spartans ended in a 10.5-all stalemate.

To give way to the Mejia-Alvarez decider, the Armageddon games between Antipolo and General Trias will be played at some other time as well.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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