Laguna wins 1st PCAP title after beating Camarines in Armageddon finale

By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--In a rare Philippine sporting event on Black Saturday, a chess player using the black pieces decided the outcome.

FIDE Master AJ Literatus played the hero for the Laguna Heroes after he overturned Ellan Asuela's erroneous time attack in their crucial showdown to give them the inaugural PCAP All-Filipino Conference title at the expense of the Camarines Soaring Eagles in their championship showdown that went through the Armageddon round.

The Literatus-Asuela match turned out to be the clincher as Mark Paragua drew first blood in the Armageddon for Camarines after forcing fellow grandmaster John Paul Gomez to resign after 25 moves in the King's Indian Defense only for GM Banjo Barcenilla to get one back for Laguna after downing Mark Daluz on time attack.

Asuela, playing white, was ahead on the quality of pieces captured and time as he looks poised to breach through Literatus' Sicilian Defense.

But a pawn check at f3 in his 37th move started Asuela's endgame collapse as he went full throttle on his time attack against Literatus.

The match completely swung on Literatus' favor as Asuela countered his Kf4 by Kf2, seemingly looking to trap him to the side, which like f3 was analyzed as a mistake.

After Literatus checked him twice with his rook, which was already deep into white's territory at the c-file, Asuela committed a huge blunder by placing his king at d2.

After another rook check, Asuela was forced to let go of his own rook at d7, but as he tried to get the rook back by putting his knight at e5, Literatus found the mating move at Rd4, ending the contest.

In the regular sets, the Heroes took Set 1, 14.5-6.5, while the Soaring Eagles got Set 2, 11.5-9.5.

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