FRANCISCO Porras IV lived up to his billing as pre-tournament favorite, even as three other fellow juniors made it to the moneyed top-10 circle of the Labuntog Memorial Chess Tournament concluded here Sunday at the covered court of Barangay Lapasan.

The 18-year-old Porras, who failed to make the cut in this year's senior varsity squad of Rizal Technological University (RTU-Mandaluyong), defeated Abdul Halil Abdullah and Pepe de Villa in the last two rounds to raise his total to 6.5 points good for a solo first place.

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Porras pocketed the P2,000 top purse plus trophy in the two-day event for Class B and kiddies that attracted over 100 participants.

"The boy has just proven that he can be elevated to the Class A level just like his more illustrious junior contemporaries such as Jongjong Salcedo, Lennon Hart Salgados, Alfredo Rapanot, Antonio Chavez Jr. and Randolph Dalauta," arbiter Jun Cuizon said of Porras, who -- in the past -- had already scored upset wins over the likes of veteran National Masters Ernesto Fernandez and Roger Verganio.

At solo second place is Capitol employee Alejandre Barbac who strung up victories over Elias Balase and Erwin Melendez after yielding to Abdullah in the 5th round.

Barbac (6 pts) received P1,400, while the junior pair of Abdullah and Keith

Duval Ibaoc had equally divided the combined P1,600 cash prizes for third to 5th placers with fellow 5.5-pointer Raul "Tanix" Tan.

Another junior, Chezter Coquilla completed the top-14 finishers alongside Balase, de Villa, Loloy Duman-ag, Melendez, William Reintegrado, Derby Pacudan, kiddy sensation Tristan Frech Ibaoc and Daniel Joseph Peligrino.

They all got P100 at 5 points each.

Category prize winners were 7-year-old Ronald Canino (top 10-U boy), Ian Bert

Capricho (top 14-U boy), Tristan Ibaoc (top 12-U boy), Keith Ibaoc (top 16-U boy) and distaff counterparts Honey Grace Baclayo (top 10-U girl), Rhea Buen Ecal (top 12-U girl), Venus Banaag (top 14-U girl) and Irish Yec-yec (top 16-U girl). (LLS)