Chris Aldritz Pon­dayo and Jeremy Tanudra Pepito win gold medal in chess a day af­ter the death of Jeremy’s fa­ther, who was their for­mer coach

Sun.Star Cebu - - FRONT PAGE - RICHIEL S. CHAVEZ / Re­porter @rschavez

The wood­push­ers of Cen­tral Visayas Re­gional Ath­letic As­so­ci­a­tion (Cvi­raa) pre­vented a gold medal shutout in bit­ter­sweet fash­ion in the 61st Palarong Pam­bansa in Ilo­cos Sur yes­ter­day.

The chess wizards cap­tured two gold medals at the Balu­arte Func­tion Hall-A in Vigan City to give Cvi­raa its first gold medals in this year’s na­tional sport­ing meet.

Chris Aldritz Pon­dayo and Jeremy Tanudra Pepito scored 10.5 points to win the gold medal in the sec­ondary boys’ team blitz, beat­ing Julius Gon­za­lez and Jethro Dino Aquino of Na­tional Cap­i­tal Re­gion (NCR) and Daniel Quizon and Michael Jr. Con­cio of Cal­abar­zon.

Aaron John Resma and Jer­ish John Ve­larde con­quered the boys’ el­e­men­tary team blitz with a score of 11 points. Re­gion 4-A fin­ished sec­ond and Re­gion 2 placed third.

It was a bit­ter­sweet mo­ment, though, for the chess play­ers as they mourned the death of Jeremy’s fa­ther, Vim­cil Pepito, who died in a mo­tor­cy­cle ac­ci­dent in Mal­abuyoc.

Jeremy said that his fa­ther had a mo­tor­cy­cle ac­ci­dent last April 6, a day be­fore the del­e­ga­tion left for Ilo­cos Sur. His fa­ther died last Sun­day af­ter stay­ing in the hos­pi­tal for nine days.

Right af­ter the ac­ci­dent, the 15-year-old Tanudra lost in­ter­est in go­ing to the Palarong Pam­bansa, but he was con­vinced by his mother to go ahead and com­pete.

“My mother told me that com­pet­ing in chess is what my fa­ther wanted and I have to do this,” said Jeremy, whose fa­ther taught chess and was also his coach in most of his com­pe­ti­tions.

Pepito needed all the en­cour­age­ment to get his fo­cus back, in­clud­ing from his chess part­ner Pun­dayo. The two were also part­ners when they won the gold medal in the el­e­men­tary level in the 2014 Palarong Pam­bansa.

“I told my part­ner to just give our best be­cause this is what his fa­ther wanted. His fa­ther was our coach in 2014 when we won our first gold medal in Palarong Pam­bansa,” said the 16-year-old Pun­dayo, who also won a sil­ver medal in the blitz in­di­vid­ual.

The chess team coach Johnny Wellem Carzano said there was a point when Pepito lost his ap­petite in eat­ing but they re­minded him to just stay fo­cused and do it for his fa­ther.

“Be­ing in that sit­u­a­tion is not easy. There was a time that he did not want to eat. Ako jud siya gi­dasig ta­man sa akong makaya na mopa­dayon siya,” he said.

The chess team gar­nered a to­tal of two gold medals, two sil­vers and two bronzes af­ter the blitz com­pe­ti­tion. Carzano said that they are con­fi­dent head­ing to the stan­dard chess.

Cvi­raa also showed its force in the team event, rack­ing up vic­to­ri­ous in the elim­i­na­tion game. The foot­ball el­e­men­tary team led the way as it scored a lop­sided, 7-0, win over Cal­abar­zon to se­cure a spot to the quar­ter­fi­nals with three vic­to­ries.

The Cvi­raa sec­ondary bas­ket­ball team routed Cordillera, 9062, while the el­e­men­tary girls’ vol­ley­ball team eas­ily beat Caraga, 25-5, 25-17.

In lawn ten­nis, both the boys’ and girls’ sec­ondary teams moved to semis in the team event. The boys team beat Re­gion 3, 2-1 at the Sto. Dom­inggo Ten­nis Court and girls team won over Re­gion 9B, 2-1, at the Sta. Catalina Ten­nis Court.

My mother told me that com­pet­ing in chess is what my fa­ther wanted and I have to do this. JEREMY TANUDRA PEPITO


FIRST GOLD. Jeremy Tanudra Pepito and Chris Aldritz Pon­dayo won their sec­ond gold medal in the Palarong Pam­bansa in four years. They first won a gold in 2014, when they were coached by Jeremy’s fa­ther Vim­cil Pepito, who died last Sun­day.

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