Grandmasters Banjo Barcenilla and John Paul Gomez powered the Laguna Heroes to a 12.5-8.5 victory over a GM Mark Paragua-led Camarines Soaring Eagles in the clash of the league titans in the PCAP All-Filipino Conference Saturday night, Feb. 27.
Barcenilla, a many-time Battle of the GMs champion, fought fellow Olympiad veteran Paragua to draws while Gomez swept Mark Daluz in their rapid and blitz showdown to help propel the Heroes to a share of second with Caloocan with identical 19-3 win-loss records.
Laguna could jump to the top alongside San Juan, which owns a league-best 20-3 card, in the Northern Conference if it could beat Zamboanga in their deciding Armageddon playoff match on Wednesday, March 3, after their faceoff ended up in a 10.5-all deadlock.
Also delivering for Laguna were FIDE Masters Efren Bagamasbad and Austin Jacob Literatus, Vince Angelo Medina, and Kimuel Aaron Lorenzo.
Bagamasbad outlasted Carlo Lorena in 72 moves of a Dutch Defense, Medina downed Virgen Gil Ruaya in 57 moves of a Trompovsky, Literatus split the point with Ronald Llavanes in 44 moves of a King’s Pawn duel.
Interestingly, the Heroes won despite the absence of Karen Enriquez, who lost via forfeiture due to an asthma attack.
Camarines slipped to second in the Southern Conference with a 19-4 mark, a full game behind the Negroes Kingsmen (20-3).