THE woodpushers of Central Visayas Regional Athletic Association (Cviraa) prevented a gold medal shutout in bittersweet fashion in the 61st Palarong Pambansa in Ilocos Sur yesterday.
The chess wizards captured two gold medals at the Baluarte Function Hall-A in Vigan City to give Cviraa its first gold medals in this year’s national sporting meet.
Chris Aldritz Pondayo and Jeremy Tanudra Pepito scored 10.5 points to win the gold medal in the secondary boys’ team blitz, beating Julius Gonzalez and Jethro Dino Aquino of National Capital Region (NCR) and Daniel Quizon and Michael Jr. Concio of Calabarzon.
Aaron John Resma and Jerish John Velarde conquered the boys’ elementary team blitz with a score of 11 points. Region 4-A finished second and Region 2 placed third.
It was a bittersweet moment, though, for the chess players as they mourned the death of Jeremy’s father, Vimcil Pepito, who died in a motorcycle accident in Malabuyoc.
Jeremy said that his father had a motorcycle accident last April 6, a day before the delegation left for Ilocos Sur. His father died last Sunday after staying in the hospital for nine days.
Right after the accident, the 15-year-old Tanudra lost interest in going to the Palarong Pambansa, but he was convinced by his mother to go ahead and compete.
“My mother told me that competing in chess is what my father wanted and I have to do this,” said Jeremy, whose father taught chess and was also his coach in most of his competitions.
Pepito needed all the encouragement to get his focus back, including from his chess partner Pundayo. The two were also partners when they won the gold medal in the elementary level in the 2014 Palarong Pambansa.
“I told my partner to just give our best because this is what his father wanted. His father was our coach in 2014 when we won our first gold medal in Palarong Pambansa,” said the 16-year-old Pundayo, who also won a silver medal in the blitz individual.
The chess team coach Johnny Wellem Carzano said there was a point when Pepito lost his appetite in eating but they reminded him to just stay focused and do it for his father.
“Being in that situation is not easy. There was a time that he did not want to eat. Ako jud siya gidasig taman sa akong makaya na mopadayon siya,” he said.
The chess team garnered a total of two gold medals, two silvers and two bronzes after the blitz competition. Carzano said that they are confident heading to the standard chess.
Cviraa also showed its force in the team event, racking up victorious in the elimination game. The football elementary team led the way as it scored a lopsided, 7-0, win over Calabarzon to secure a spot to the quarterfinals with three victories.
The Cviraa secondary basketball team routed Cordillera, 90-62, while the elementary girls’ volleyball team easily beat Caraga, 25-5, 25-17.
In lawn tennis, both the boys’ and girls’ secondary teams moved to semis in the team event. The boys team beat Region 3, 2-1 at the Sto. Dominggo Tennis Court and girls team won over Region 9B, 2-1, at the Sta. Catalina Tennis Court.