As expected, Asia’s first-ever Grandmaster Eugene Torre was the first overall pick in the inaugural Professional Chess Association of the Philippines Draft, held at Quezon City Sports Club, Sunday afternoon.
But he did not go to Antipolo Cobras, the owners of the first pick.
Antipolo made a draft day deal with no. 7 pickers Rizal Batch Towers in an exchange of picks and some considerations for the chance to nab Torre.
Ed Madrid, a good friend of Torre, owns Rizal.
Another GM was selected as the second pick, as Rogelio Antonio went to the Iloilo Kisela Knights.
Mikaella Concho was the surprise third pick by Quezon City followed by NM Glenn Altuz and IM Joel Pimentel, who went to Iriga City and Negros, respectively.
The rest of the first round went as follows.
Edsel Montoya went to Cordova, NM Jose Aquino was selected by Antipolo City, IM Ricky de Guzman was nabbed by San Juan City, NM David Elorta was picked by Mindoro, NM Merben Roque headed to Lapu-Lapu City, FM Vince Alaan was tapped by Surigao City, GM Julio Sadorra went to Manila, Mark Paragua was selected by CamSur, NM Jefer Embuido was taken by Olongapo City, GM John Paul Gomez was chosen by Cabuyao, while IM Rico Mascarinas was selected by Toledo City.
Completing the first round are Jake Tumaliwan (Cagayan), IM Chito Garma (Zamboanga), NM Marlon Bernardino (Gen. Trias), FM Joel Balico (Isabela), NM Elwin Retanal (Cebu), IM Paolo Bersamina (Caloocan), GM Darwin Laylo (Pasig), and WIM Shania Mae Mendoza (Palawan).
There were three more rounds after the first 24 picks.
In the end, Rizal and Cabuyao have two GMs in Torre and Roland Salvador; and Gomez and Banjo Barcenilla, respectively.
San Juan was also able to nab Jan Fronda in the second round.
No current UAAP student-athlete availed of the special guest license nor entered the draft.
Giving messages during the ceremony were Wesley So, Asian Chess Federation executive director Toti Abundo, National Chess Federation of the Philippines executive director Atty. Cliburn Obre, and Games and Amusements Board chairman Baham Mitra.
Each team will be composed of three homegrown players, two rated players, and one lady and senior.
The first-ever season is expected to have three conferences, Open, All-Filipino, and Reinforced.