February 25, 2018, 10:09 am
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Young chess ace among Batang Pinoy stars

DUMAGUETE. — Drawing inspiration from former world champion Mikhail Tal, Lapu-Lapu City wunderkind Jerish Josh Velarde completed a grand slam sweep of his three events at the end of the Batang Pinoy Games Visayas regional championships here Thursday.

After sweeping the blitz and rapid events by perfect scores of 7-0, respectively, Velarde sustained his brilliant form and won his third gold medal by ruling the 12-under standard chess competition with 6 points on five wins and two draws at the Gov. Mariano Perdices Stadium indoor hall.

Cebu City’s Jave Mareck Peteros scored 6 points to rule the 15-under standard event while Alpheca Gonzales tallied 5.5 points to secure the girls 15-under mint in the games organized and sponsored by the Philippine Sports Commission.

Cebu City also picked up another chess gold through Edelyn Vosotros, who scored 5.5 points in the girls 12-under standard event.

“I’m happy to have won three gold medals, although I wasn’t expecting this,” said Velarde, 11, a Grade 5 student at the Maria Ernestine School

He said he idolized Tal “because of his attacking playing style.”

Cebu Province got back at neighboring rival Mandaue 64-58 to clinch the boys basketball crown while Cebu City subdued Cebu Province 56-48 for the girls cage title at the Lamberto Macias Sports and Cultural Center.

“We executed our game plan well, especially on defense,” said Cebu Province  boys head coach Donbel Belano of the close win that avenged a 59-63 setback to Mandaue in the eliminations.

Cebu Province gained a measure of revenge by clobbering Cebu City 10-3 to annex the girls softball crown.

With a handful of events left, Cebu City surged ahead in the overall medal standings with 45 gold, 56 silver and 66 bronze medals, with host Dumaguete not too far behind in second place (41-27-27) and Cebu Province running third (35-36-43) as of 1 p.m. on Thursday.

A huge boost to the Cebu City bets were their eight-gold sweep in dancesport and six in arnis.

Cebu Province struck gold in nine events in the kyorugi (sparring) event of taekwondo where Iloilo City was also a big winner with eight gold medals.

The top five placers in the individual sports will qualify for the Batang Pinoy National Games early next year.
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