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Mira Mirano, La Salle make successful Women’s Chess title defense

Reigning champions De La Salle University Lady Woodpushers did not need to do anything special on the last day of the UAAP Season 81 Women’s Chess tournament to claim the school’s ninth championship in the sport.

Wanting to end their roller-coaster season in emphatic fashion, they showed up with a huge 3.5-0.5 win over the University of the Philippines Lady Maroons, Sunday at the UST Quadricentennial Pavilion.

This is La Salle’s first championship for the season.

The dominant victory over the Lady Maroons sent the Lady Woodpushers to a huge 43.0 points, leaving the former with just 29.5 after the 14 rounds.

Graduating senior Woman International Master Ma. Antoinette San Diego closed out her storied UAAP career by defeating UP captain Ynna Canape to put the flourish on the second consecutive title for the Green and White.

Beforehand, La Salle’s Ella Moulic and eventual Rookie of the Year Samantha Revita dispatched Jee-Ann Barry and Geraldine Guyo, respectively. Maroons’ own rookie sensation Justin Macapuno could only settle for a draw with Frenchell Javier.

However, the road to the title was not easy, as the Taft-based side had to crawl back from dismal performances in the first round robin.

Team captain and Most Valuable Player Master Mira Mirano shared that, “Kasi nung first round namin, nahirapan kami kasi natalo kami ng two rounds na magkasunod. Pagkataos nung fall namin, naging motivation namin yun to strive harder.”

For the graduating senior, the team – especially their freshman members – took time to adjust, but the second straight loss to the University of the East Lady Warriors served as a wake-up call. “Actually, kaya naman namin pero naging problema is yung pressure. After nung talo namin sa UE, nagising kami na we have to defend the title.”

La Salle eventually built a sizable lead thanks to the combined efforts of Mirano, Moulic, Revita, and Franchell Javier. Mirano ended up as the gold medalist in Board 1 with 9.0 points. Moulic and Revita topped Boards 3 and 4, repectively with scores of 9.5 and 10.5. Javier finished with silver in Board 5 with a 4.0 in seven games played.

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With a strong start, however, the Diliman based squad finished in second to improve on last year’s bronze. Justnin Macapuno ended up with silver in Board 4, while Geraldine Guyo ended up with bronze in Board 3.

The Adamson University Lady Falcons broke out from a tight pack and secured themselves this year’s third-place finish with their crucial 3.5-0.5 win over the Lady Maroons, Saturday afternoon, deciding the spot. Adamson had three medalists headlined by Jellie Magro and Jashua Patria, who finished with silver in Boards 3 and 6 respectively. Abigail Tamundong pocketed bronze in Board 5.

UE, who ended up at fourth, saw Isabel Palibano win gold in Board 5 and Virgenie Ruaya take silver in Board 1.

Former queens FEU, who finished in sixth place, had Enrica Villa make it to the Board 1 podium as she finished in third place. Marife Dela Torre had silver in Board 2, while Jemima Valdez took home bronze in Board 6.

NU’s Charmaine Manga topped Board 6, while Lovely Reyes finished third in Board 4. The Lady Bulldogs were the second to the last team in the eight-team race.

UST’s Highzzy Manaloto was the top woodpusher for Board 2, while Ateneo’s sole individual medalist was Alexis Osena, taking home bronze in the same board. UST ended the tourney in fifth place, while Ateneo bottomed out.

As Mirano and San Diego leave the La Salle table, the former hopes that Revita and the rest of the remaining members of the team will continue their legacy. “Sa mga natitira, I wish na ma-defend nila yung title.

“Dating gawi ulit. Push more lang kasi maraming magagaling, pero alam kong kaya naman nila.”

Grew to appreciate various sports from tennis to judo. True-maroon kiddo since the new millennium. Fanboy. Singer. Occasional sports writer.

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