MICHAEL Concio, Jr. continued to live up to hype as he stopped giant killer Vince Duane Pascual in the fifth round yesterday and seized the solo lead in the Grand Finals of the Philippine National Juniors Chess Championships in Alicia, Isabela.
A day after conquering second pick Chester Neil Reyes, the World Cup veteran and defending champion Mr. Concio sustained his juggernaut in slamming an unrated Mr. Pascual and snaring the solo lead with a perfect five points.
The Asian Rapid titlist was battling third pick Lorenzo Aaron Cantela, who took solo No. 2 with 4.5 points after edging Franklin Loyd Andes, in the sixth round at press time in this nine-round tournament bankrolled by host Mayor and NCFP Region II director Atty. Joel Amos Alejandro.
Mr. Concio came into the event as the heavy favorite to repeat after edging fellow International Master Daniel Quizon via the skin of his teeth — tiebreaker — a year ago.
And by the looks of it, there could be no stopping the Dasmariñas, Cavite bet.
In women’s action, Mhage Sebastian trounced Ruelle Canino to likewise zoom to the top with a pristine five points.
The win gave the Far Eastern University standout a full one-point lead against a chasing pack consisting of Ms. Canino, Ma. Elayza Villa, April Joy Claros and Heart Padilla. — Joey Villar