COLLEGE of St. Benilde made up for the poor showing of its men's basketball team by lording over the 86th National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) chess tournament at the SM City Manila over the weekend.
The triumvirate of Joel Pimentel Jr., Narquingel Reyes, and Jesse Abucejo bannered the Blazers' bid to regain the crown they lost last year to Letran by nipping Jose Rizal University, 3.5-0.5.
The three emerged as gold medalists on boards one, four, and five, respectively, that propelled the Taft-based wood pushers to finish on top with 59 points.
Dethroned champion Letran trailed by four points to end at 55.
In juniors' play, Letran survived past Arellano U, 2.5-1.5, to forge a one-game duel with first round pennant winner St. Benilde Tuesday.
The Knights, who trounced the Arellano U Chiefs via a 3-1 rout in their final round assignment, relied on Ivan Gil Biag, who finished with 15 points on 14 wins and a pair of draws to cop the board two gold.
Host San Sebastian's Alexis Emil Maribao took the board three honors with 14 points on 14 wins and a couple of losses while Jenwin Alconcher bagged the gold on board six with 5.5 points.
The Squires emerged with 50.5 points, or just half a point ahead of La Salle-Greenhills, which blanked Jose Rizal, 4-0, but the two would have to fight it out for the title since the latter reigned supreme in the first round.
Last year's winner San Sebastian salvaged a third place finish with 48 points while Arellano U, the biggest surprise this year, ended fourth with 47 points despite going into the last two rounds on top.
Carlo Caranyagan, Jaymarc Gutierrez, and Tucker Howard Viernes gave the Junior Chiefs something to cheer about though as the two three won gold medals on boards three, four and five, respectively.
Aldous Roy Coronel of San Sebastian, Giovanni Mejia of La Salle-Greenhills and Homel Cunanan took top individual honors on boards one, two and six. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)