Tuesday, June 17, 1997

Bing Lao Wins the 2007 National Scrabble Championship

(Appeared in the Sports Page of Manila Standard Newspaper)

June 17, 1997
Lao is best Filipino in Scrabble, will go for world title anew

Armando "Bing" Lao gets another shot at the world's best Scrabble players this coming November when he captured the 3rd Philippine Scrabble Championship Sunday at the GHQ Gym of Camp Aguinaldo.

Lao, who won the title in 1995 and went to London for the 2nd World Scrabble Championship, outlasted Virgilio Morales in the best-of-three final. Morales actually won the first game, 466-329 but Lao came back to win the second, 412-329, forcing the rubber match.

Lao bingoed with ETESIAN on the first move, bingoed again with BARrAGE two turns later and proceeded to close down the board with his early 100-plus point lead. Lao eventually prevailed, 402-278.

The 48-year-old scriptwriter finished 53rd in London but vows to do much better this time around. He won an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, DC which will host the WSC, along with P20,000. Morales, who runs a cooperative in Laguna, won P10,000 and a trip to US as well to accompany Lao as his sparring partner and hopefully, also be allowed to play. The tickets are courtesy of Philippine Airlines while the cast awards were from Mabuhay Educational Center, official licensee of the game locally.

Lao and Morales prevailed in knockout games during the semis against their respective rivals, Ronald Credo and Gil Quiballo. Lao opened the single-round semis beating Quiballo, 422-390 while Morales lost to Credo, 445-382.

Things evened out when Quiballo turned the tables on Credo, 360-303 while Morales halted Lao, 346-316 in low scoring defensive affairs. In the pivotal matches, Morales toppled Quiballo, 421-313 while Lao ousted Credo, the defending champion, 404-343.

Credo took third and P5,000. while Quiballo was fourth. Tawano Rabong was fifth, followed by Rolly Mandapat, Leo Capuno, Loy Rivera, Irland Bonzon, Joel Toroy, Maida Manaog and Robbie Onate, rounding out the list of those who won plaques and trophies courtesy of movie director Armando Reyes.

Forty-five qualifiers took part in the annual tournament organized by the Scrabble Association of the Philippines, Inc. (SCAPI) with the assistance of ADSTAUNCH Communication Network.

June 15, 1997
Credo leads s'finalists

Defending champion Ronald Credo won six of the seven games yesterday to lead the cast of semifinalists in the 3rd National Scrabble Championships at the SM North EDSA.

The 27-year old civil engineer topped the 21-round elimination with 16 victories, and will be joined by 1995 champion Armando "Bing" Lao, former New Zealand Division II champion Gil Quiballo and 1996 Premiere International winner Vir Morales in the single-round robin semis today at the GHQ Gym in Camp Aguinaldo.

The top two placers after the semis will square off in a best-of-three battle for the right to represent the country in the 1997 World Scrabble championships which will take place this November in Washington DC. Philippine Airlines will bear the expenses for the round-trip ticket while the cash prize of P20,000 will come from Mabuhay Educational Center, the official distributor for Scrabble games under license from JW Spears.

Credo clinched a spot in the final four with a 138-point win against overnight leader Leo Capuno in the 18th round.

Morales beats Rolly Mandapat in their knockout match while Lao ousted 1997 Premiere International third placer Tanjee Rabong via a "grand slam" using seven tiles in one move with none left in the bag.

June 14, 1997
Quiballo shows way

Defending champion Ronald Credo and two-time New Zealand Division II winner Gil Quiballo won six of seven games to lead the third Philippine Scrabble Championships after the first day of competition yesterday at the SM City.

Credo, the sixth seed who won the title in Cebu last year, and Quiballo, the ninth seed who came out of almost three years of inactivity in late 1996, are both gunning for the lone Philippine slot in the biennial World Scrabble Championships which will be held in Washington, D.C. this coming November.

The all-expense paid trip courtesy of Philippine Airlines comes on top of the top prize of P20,000 donated by the sponsoring Mabuhay Educational Center and organized by the Scrabble Association of the Philippines, Inc. and also presented by Chow King and Spear's Games, the game official licensee.

Forty-five players are seeing action in the four-day event in which the rop four players after 21 rounds will advance to the single-round semifinals on Sunday. The top two will then play a best-of-three match for the title.

Quiballo won the first five games, then split two games with Armando Lao. Credo on the other hand, lost to Bert Palomo in the third round but won his last four to match Quiballo's record.

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