A PUBLIC school from the small town of Villanueva, Misamis Oriental stole the limelight in elementary chess competition of the just-concluded 14th Milo Little Olympics Mindanao in Cagayan de Oro City.
Vicente N. Chavez Memorial Central School, powered by the foursome of Janin Crisologo, Krystal Kaye Morpeno, Alexa Joy Ejem and Glaiza Canoy, played through undefeated in five-round Swiss to bring home the elementary girls team title.
This came after Corpus Christi successfully came back to defend the elementary boys crown.
Host Misamis Oriental General Comprehensive High School, for the first time, made a rare-sweep finish of the secondary boys and girls championships at MOGCHS's covered court, over the weekend.
"Competitive na gyod ang chess karon sa region kay ang mga unknown nga teams (elementary girls category) sa inter-school chess mihimo gyo'g sorpresa karong tuiga," said arbiter Jun Cuizon, noticing that even the International School, Macasandig Elementary School, Macanhan Elementary School, City Central School and Balubal Elementary School were able to finish ahead of defending champion Corpus Christi Grade School which was surprisingly relegated to 7th place.
An early round defeat to the Vanessa Magno-led Macasandig Elementary School took the sting out from Corpus Christi made up of Bea Sophia Dupa, Honey Grace Baclayo and Angel Pabillore who, in return, shocked the tournament favorite Merry Child School (Julie Anne Opema, Sierra Winona, Clarizel de Leon) in the final round.
The elementary boys rivalry unveiled the same sequel from last year. City Central School (Edcel John Amper, Cedric Abao, Emmanuel Acierto, Lawrence Magsayo and Elizor Maandig) battled Xavier University Grade School (Kenneth Norman Honculada, Adrian Othniel Yulo, Karl Francis Honculada, Haven Baylan, Hassanolbashari Datudacula) for the right to face Corpus Christi in the championship round.
The Johnnel Balquin-trained City Central won 3-1 but was grounded in the final round, 3.5-.5 by their perennial tormentor spearheaded by two-time Asean age-group qualifier Tristan Frech Ibaoc.
With Jeff Russel Rivera, a certified chess lover gifted with natural attacking flair, manning board 2 and the younger Keenard Ibaoc and Joshua Lumancas completing Corpus Christi's elementary boys roster, assistant coach Lyndon Lumancas exudes an air of optimism for the 2nd Milo Little Olympics National Finals the province of Misamis Oriental will be hosting in October this year.
"The same cast almost won the national championship last year in Cebu. Our players have quite matured this year and we have high hopes that they stand a good chance against the national qualifiers from Visayas and NCR. Basta aduna lay consistent nga training program with enough support from school and the local Milo organizers…dako'g chance nga mo-champion atong chess sa finals," Lumancas told Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro.