MANILA, Philippines -- Far Eastern University - Diliman dominated the UAAP high school chess scene after sweeping the UAAP Season 85 Chess Championship crowns in the boys and girls divisions.
This is the Baby Tamaraws' eighth overall title, and fifth in the last six seasons. Meanwhile, it is the breakthrough title for FEU's girls team as Nazareth School of National University dominated the first two editions of the tournament.
The FEU-D boys team accumulated 24.5pts, 1.5 points ahead of second-running Adamson University, while the girls' team finished the season with 16 points, five full points ahead of runner-up National University Nazareth School.
"Sa highschool, dun talaga kami naka-concentrate. It so happened na nagkaron ng pandemic and last season ay hindi napayagan (ang high school). We've been preparing for this for so many years," shared FEU Head Coach Grandmaster Jayson Gonzales.
"Maganda ang resulta ng high school natin. ito yung future natin na chess players in the years to come. I believe five years from now, sila na yung mga national players na natin," he continued.
In the boys' division, FEU-D finally broke away from its closest pursuer on the final day after scoring a 2.5-1.5 victory over contending Adamson.
The Junior Tamaraws were led by Season 85 MVP Christian Marcelo Olaybal courtesy of a gold medal in Board 1.
"Masaya kasi pinaghirapan po talaga," said Olaybal after leading FEU-D's championship conquest in Season 85 with the MVP plum.
He was followed by UST's Karlycris Clarito Jr. (silver) and Adamson University Janmyl Tisado (bronze) on the top board.
UST finished third overall with 17.5 points spearheaded by Emcel Gadut's gold medal finish in Board 2.
De La Salle - Zobel's Tyrhhone James Tabernilla bagged the silver while Raiz Roxas settled for bronze in Board 2.
Board 3 was led by Joshua Roque's (AdU) gold medal performance followed by Francis Andes (FEU) and Shealtiel Blanca (Ateneo) who landed with silver and bronze, respectively.
In Board 4, Adamson once again took the gold courtesy of John Rocel Simon. FEU's Lemmuel Adena and UST's Ronald Dableo III completed the podium, finishing with silver and bronze, respectively.
Rookie of the Year Cyrus James Damiray went undefeated for six games to nab the gold medal in Board 5. Ateneo's Bryan Magugat finished with a silver while Adamson's Dustin Herrero took the bronze.
FEU's Ritchie Abeleda was the lone qualifier in Board 6 to take the gold medal.
On the distaff side, FEU finished the season with six wins and no losses en route to the championship and dethroning NSNU.
FEU's Mhage Sebastian dominated the competition, scoring five wins and a draw in Board 1 to notch the MVP honors.
"Very, very thankful (ako sa championship) kasi antagal na namin pinaghahandaan to. Everyday kami nagte-training. Every week yung laro po namin, so everyday before that game nagte-training kami," expressed Sebastian who also took the gold in Board 1 and was the lone medalist on the top board.
"Sobrang fulfilling po sa part namin kasi alam namin na ginawa namin yung best namin."
Defending champion NSNU (14 points) finished second while UST took the third spot with 12 points.
UST's Princess Yecla nabbed the gold in Board 2 while NU's Jelaine Adriano and FEU's April Joy Claros settled for silver and bronze, respectively.
Ruelle Canino went undefeated this season en route to a Board 3 gold medal finish and securing the Rookie of the Year award.
NU's Ma. Elayza Villa and Marjeri Janapin rounded out the Board 3 medalist with a silver and a bronze, respectively.
In Board 4, it was Samantha Umayan who emerged with a gold medal followed by a silver medal finish by Christine Tabungar (UST) and a bronze medal finish from Alphecca Gonzales (NU).
FEU's Rhea Jean Canino won the gold in Board 5 courtesy of a 100-percent win rate followed by UST's Francheska Rafailes (silver) and NU's Yanna De Vera (bronze).
FEU took their fourth gold in Board 6 courtesy of Kate Ordizo while Adamson's Florace Isabedra settled for silver to complete this season's medallists.