Thursday, June 02, 2005

Rio’s magical run continues and defends Baguio title

BAGUIO CITY (30 May) – Not even a speeding train can stop Iloilo’s scrabbling genius as she ruled the Baguio Scrabble Tournament at the Baguio Country Club Sunday.

But this time she found a worthy opponent in Ronald Credo who took her to the limit in a climax worthy for the books as the country’s first lady and gentleman of Philippine Scrabble fought it out in wild abandon but Rio escaped with a 441-394 victory.

"I was not confident that I will win that one. I usually have troubles in the end game," admitted Rio as her two win lead after round 13 vanished when Credo found his winning form. Was it like the 2001 nationals? Rio needed a win with three rounds to go against eventual champion Bonnie Macala in that tournament. The winner will have a free trip to Las Vegas for the worlds. Rio squandered it allowing Macala to win. Unfortunately, the Marawi City-native failed to get a visa in the aftermath of 9-11 because banning all Moslems to the United States.

"I guess this is different but it all has a semblance," said Rio, who avoided that by beating Credo in the final round. Rio took the title, her second in a row, with 12 wins against four losses and a spread of 762 points to take the BCC Cup and P10,000 cash prize. She was on the top board from game one to game 16, but her domination was suddenly questioned by Credo as the three time World Scrabble Championship (WSC) veteran won games 14 and 15, to take the lead in the final round.

Both players had 11 wins, but Credo led with a spread of 872 against Rio’s 715. The spread is Scrabble’s tie breaker. Then Rio, the winner of four consecutive major titles held in the Baguio-Benguet area starting June last year with the National Scrabble Championship, opened with TAXIMAN, which was challenged off the board by Credo, who like Rio is a two time national champion. It was good. "I was still not confident that time until the very last tile. I know Credo and I know what he can do," said Rio also a WSC veteran and one time the best female player in the world. Actually the two faced seven of the eight games in the second day of competition of the 16-round event backstopped by the city government, Camp John Hay Development Corporation, Texas Instrument (Phil), Inc., John Hay Management Corporation and Vice Mayor Peter Rey Bautista.

Rio won it 4-3. They met in the second game of the first day of competition, a modified Swiss no repeat mode of play, which Rio won 365-358. They ended up the first day on top of the field heading to the second day King of the Hill with repeat format. "I am having troubles everytime I face Odette. I have not won against her for the longest time," admitted Credo, who cashed in P6,000 and a trophy.

And he lost game nine, 418-400. Then he lost again in the next round, 409-329, as he went down to the second board against Marlon Prudencio and won 453-364. Then he was back to table one and five more meetings with the defending champion Rio.

"I have so much respect for the lady. I know that she is our very best chance to win the world title if Philippine Scrabble can just get its acts together," said Credo as the biennial WSC looms. The WSC will be held November in London, but the Philippines, which has three representatives, has not chosen its contingents. The representatives were usually the top three finishers of the nationals which is usually held every June of the year. But there is conflict whether the three will be taken from the three of the Candidates Matches which is a competition of the top 36 rated players of the country. Rio is currently ranked second. "Kahit siya na lang ang ipadala, payag na ako dahil di hamak na magaling siya sa kahit na sinong Pilipino," said Credo who saw action in the last three worlds in Melbourne, Australia in 1999, Las Vegas, USA in 2001 and 2003 in Malaysia.

And Rio, who played in the 1999 worlds in Australia, has shown her domination by ruling all the majors in the country last year but two. She placed second to Reynante de la Cerna in the Philippine Open May last year and skipped the Benguet Scrabble Tournament in March last year in La Trinidad. Her rampage here started in the nationals, followed by the BST in August, the November Camp John Hay Open. She did not join the La Union Mayor’s Cup December last year. She started the year with a win in the Adivay Scrabble Tournament in February in the neighboring town of La Trinidad, then skipped the La Union Open last March where Credo won.

Maida Manaog won seven of her last eight games to repeat as second runner up to Rio and P3,000 richer. She lost once in the 10th round against Leonora Labog but won six more times to finish with 11 wins against a spread of 753.

Ver Morales salvaged fourth with 10 wins against a spread of 376 but was out of the money race, instead he was named the best expert player because the top three players were not entitled to such.
Labog ended up fifth with 10 wins and 152 spread, followed by Prudencio (9, 345) and John Edward Tabasa (9, 279).

At eight is Marionne Ruiz (9, -231) who is also the local champion that included a trophy and P2,000 purse. Former Baguio champion Tony Malonzo landed ninth followed by former national champion Tanjee Rabong.

Meanwhile, former Baguio champion Malou Flores bagged the runner-up trophy in the local division with her 7.5 wins and -368 spread nipping top rated local player Abe Gogoling 7.5, -368).
Thirteenth ranked Delio Dimaano took the medal for the 1,500 rating points and above, while newbie Edgardo Manandeg took the novice medal.

In the special prizes, Labog had the high game of 634 points earning her a gift certificate, while Tabasa had the high losing score of 472. Prudencio had the highest winning spread of 340 (629-289 against Gogoling) and Mario Miranda had the high bingo word(using all seven tiles) of 158 for AUDITORY.

Results after game 16
Rank Player Wins Mar
1 Rio Odette Carmina 12 762
2 Credo Ronald 11 825
3 Manaog Maida 11 753
4 Morales Ver 10 376
5 Labog Leonora 10 152
6 Prudencio Marlon 9 345
7 Tabasa John Edward 9 279
8 Ruiz Marionne 9 -231
9 Malonzo Tony 8 339
10 Rabong Tanjee 8 164
11 Parchamento Roger 8 130
12 Miranda Mario 8 43
13 Dimaano Delio 8 -40
14 Flores Malou 7.5 -368
15 Gogoling Abe 7.5 -493
16 Basman Hyatt 7 -31
17 Acain Charlie 7 -162
18 Ambler Brenda 7 -424
19 Lobien Pigeon 6 -310
20 Laking Jimmy 6 -342
21 Luyk Huub 6 -383
22 Manandeg Edgardo 1 -1384

HIGH GAME: Labog Leonora 634

No comments: