PROMISING talents were discovered in the just-concluded 2021 Philippine Sports Commission-Pilipinas Para Games (PPG) Online Chess Competition where Davao City's very own Aldrin Pana finished seventh in the men's B1 (visually impaired) category.

Pana, a 2019 National Para Games men's B1 gold medalist, earned four points in the six-round 33-player field, which was topped by Torres Geronimo who scored perfect six points.

Geronimo outclassed five-pointer Kenneth Namisato and 4.5 scorer Emmanuel Closas Jr. who placed second and third, respectively.

Dabawenyos Danilo Partusa and Julius Calonia settled for 11th and 29th place, respectively.

Tournament chief arbiter James Infiesto, who is coaching the national para chess team, said, "Yes! I have a few prospects but very promising!"

Infiesto graced the simple yet heartwarming virtual awarding program via Zoom on Sunday, November 21, 2021, along with PSC staff Jan Facundo.

The rest of the winners were: men's B2 - Mark Christian Evangelista first, Ireneo Melchor Pizzaro Jr. second, Abraham Peligro third; women's B1 - Yolanda Pespes first, Kyla Jane Langue second, and Abigail Magno third; women's B2 -Siena Mae Requiron first, Regina Abogado second, and Marilou Lucero third; men's P1 (physically impaired) - John Franz De Asis first, Eric Abanco second, and Jordaine Tupaz third; women's P1 - Aimee Dumagpi first and Clarence Orena second.

Pespes thanked PSC and the organizers, including the Philippine Sports Association for the Differently-Abled and the National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP).

"Salamat po, marami akong natutunan (Thank you, I've really learned a lot)," she said.

The 17-year-old Requiron, for her part, shed tears while sharing her champion speech. "Nagpapasalamat po ako, naiiyak po ako. Last year lang po ako natutong maglaro ng chess at first time na champion ako sa tournament. Sana makakalaro pa ulit ako sa tournaments ng PSC (I am thankful and I can't help but cry. I only learned to play chess last year and it's my first time to become a champion in a tournament. I'm hoping to join PSC tournaments again)," Requiron said.

She dreams of being able to play with other national para chess players and become a national member herself.

The top three winners will receive cash prizes of P30,000, P20,000, and P10,000 that will be deposited into their bank accounts as well as gold, silver, and bronze medals with commemorative shirts that will be shipped to their addresses.

PSC Commissioner Arnold Agustin earlier said the 2021 Philippine Sports Commission – Pilipinas Para Games aims to continue efforts to address the need for a truly comprehensive grassroots sports development program for para-athletes, and harness their full potential.

The PPG is held in partnership with the Philippine Paralympic Committee and the Integrated Philippine Association of Optometrists on the classification of registered para-athletes.