Defending champion San Beda edged title-contender Lyceum of the Philippines University, 2.5-1.5, Saturday to clinch a Final Four spot after seven rounds of the 93rd NCAA chess competition at the LPU Auditorium.
FIDE Master Mari Joseph Turqueza and McDominique Lagula provided the wins on the top two boards at the expense of Jonathan Jota and Romula Curioso, Jr., respectively, while Marc Christian Nazario drew with Jhoemar Mendiogarin on the third board to seal the win.
Virgen Gil Ruaya trounced Bryan Barcelon on fourth board to provide the Pirates its lone win.
The win also clinched the Lions the first slot in the Final Four with 24 match points and possibly a twice-to-beat advantage if it finishes in the top two after the single-round elimination.
St. Benilde blanked Perpetual Help, 4-0, to snatch the second spot with 20.5 points, half a point ahead of LPU, which skidded to third with 20 points.
Arellano University turned back Emilio Aguinaldo, 3-1, on triumphs by Don Tyrone delos Santos, Carlo Caranyagan and Jeremy Parado on boards one, two and four to cling to the fourth and last spot with 17.5 points.
In juniors’ division, LPU stunned solo leader San Beda, 3-1, to breathe life to its waning Final Four bid.
Earl Rhay Mantilla, Joshov Alekhine Rosardo and Jan Darryl Batula prevailed on the first three boards to complete the shock win as the Junior Pirates climbed to fifth spot with 14.5 points, or two points behind joint third Arellano U and Perpetual Help with 16.5 points.
San Beda remained on top with 20 points but its lead was cut to just half a point as Letran dumped San Sebastian, 3-1, to improve to 19.5 points.