LANANG, Davao City -- National Master and local chess legend Roger Verganio can now put a smile on his face in the other life.
This, as his Cagayan de Oro-Misamis Oriental chess team finally ended its losing curse via an overwhelming 18-12 victory over the Davao All-Stars in the 4th Mindanao Goodwill Match on March 2 in Damosa, Barangay Lanang in Davao City.
The Cagayan de Oro-Misamis Oriental team offered the victory to Verganio, who was among the original members of the team in three successive goodwill matches before he joined his Creator last December.
The team was already favored to notch its first win after getting the services of four Manila-based players in former FEU Tamaraw stalwarts Lennon Hart Salgados, Christian Arroyo, Antonio Chavez Jr. and Alfredo Rapanot.
Its chances even got better when the team picked to play the white pieces as it dominated Davao with a four-point win, 9.5-5.5, in the first round with the FEU boys leading the charge on the regular boards.
Also providing the win are National Master Levi Mercado, Johnnel Balquin, Nazario Ubanan, Domingo Oga and Fr. Vic Arellano.
Cagayan de Oro-Misamis Oriental defended well in the second round and pulled the exclamation with a 8.5-6.5 edge to seal its first crown in the goodwill match.
Balquin, Cleto "Bong" Vasquez, Engr. Jun Gunayan and NM Rustum Tolentino produced crucial wins in the second round with Salgados, Rapanot, Chavez, Arroyo, Allan Cantonjos, Ubanan, Oga, Bryan Jose and Barangay 23 chairman Jaime Joshua Frias secured for draws in their respective boards.
"Everything went crucial in the second round since most Dabawenyos had comfortable positions, but luck was on our side this time around," said Cagayan de Oro-Misamis Oriental team spokesman Ismar Estrella.
Cagayan de Oro-Misamis Oriental was in their best line-up after convincing the four UAAP graduates from FEU to take a leave from their jobs and reinforce the team.
Chessplayers from different regions in Mindanao had their hats off to Cagayan de Oro-Misamis Oriental before the match through social media.
Without Salgados and Arroyo, they lost to Davao in their first two encounters and drew in third.