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Father beats and unseats son to win Panagbenga Scrabble tourney

FAMILY FEUD. Father and son battle it out for the 18th Panagbenga Scrabble Tournament title at the City Sports Development Office last Sunday where father Abdul, left, beat son Mohammad in the last round to win the event. Middle, left, is Melvin Dalangin who defeated Francis Dizon, also on the last round to salvage third place, while Dizon took fifth, while Tony Malonzo, back right, landed fourth, after beating organizer William Caluza, who finished seventh. Pigeon Lobien

Abdul Suma survived his red hot son Mohammad, 413-358 in the last and 16th round to win the 18th Panagbenga Scrabble Tournament Sunday at the City Sports Development Office.

In the first ever father-son finale in Philippine Scrabble, Abdul, who took the lead early on second day, fell to his son, 388-434, in the penultimate round but managed to score the important last round victory to secure his first ever title here. He finished with 11 wins against five defeats, just half off his son, and a spread of +725, spread is the cumulative differences.

The older Suma was momentarily rankled by a third move FOUNTING that was supposed to be 82 points which his son challenged off the board, a word that does not exist, thus he lose that turn. But a lower scoring MOUNTING at the lower art of the board in his next turn gave him 67 points and a 121-92 lead.

His son, however, regained the lead in the fifth move with TIDDIES, which the older Suma challenged but it was good costing him five points for an 85 and a 213-177 lead for his son. A 45-point PLAYS on the next turn gave the newly installed Bureau of Jail and Penology Management officer a 262-219 lead.

But bad draw in the next turn saw the son change his tiles allowing his father to cut into his lead with QUAD good for 33 and the lead down to a measly nine.

From there the older Suma coasted along as he started to gain the lead, though small, until the last draw where his son drew IIUNRST which has one good word, SIRTUIN. But the board was too tight already at that point forcing Mohammad to play UNAIS and 18 points for a 358-382 lead for his father.

Abdul then laid down EXIT an apt conclusion for 31 points and the four single pointer titles gave him the final score of 413 for the 55 point victory and the tournament.

“I could have lost that if my son had a place for his last seven tiles,” said the older Suma who took the PhP8,000 of the tournament, which is considered the longest running event in the country.

It also ended his son’s one year reign of the event which was started in 1999 at a café near the Saint Louis University that does not exist anymore.

He is also the fourth person to win the event after multi-winners Odette Rio (12 times) and Leonora Labog.

It was also his first victory in the Philippine Scrabble Caravan, a monthly event organized by the United Scrabble Association of the Philippines, Inc. to determine the country’s three representatives to the World English Scrabble Players Association Championship this July in Las Vegas, Nevada in the United States.

Rio won the first and second legs in Sucat, Paranaque in December last year and the second in Cebu in January, while Labog took the Mindanao stop in Butuan City last February.

“I still could make it to the list to the WESPAC,” said the older Suma as he placed quite well in the first three legs and even was in the top board on the last round only to lose, and peeped by the winner of the second board.

The younger Suma finished with 10.5 points and the tourney best +1,020 spread points. With his round 16 loss to his dad, the 25 year older ended an eight game streak, with his first on the last round of the first day, a 532-366 win over retired college professor Mario Libiran, a whopping 166 point  victory that saw his -8 spread swell to +158 and a so-so 3.5 of eight score.

And the Orak, his nickname, coup started as he steamrolled past his opponents. A 472-324 win over Robbie Onate, 443-337 victory over Christian Malinias, Brenda Ambler (577-404), 486-352 on lawyer Tony Malonzo, 517-33 victory over Baguio’s best and organizer William Caluza, and another 505-396 win over Ambler.

In his seven game rampage, the young Suma 504.57 points, while giving up just 358.86 points to his opponents or a 145.7 point winning edge that saw him rise from the bottom to second spot and a round 15 match against the leading Abdul.

“It was an amazing run, after him hovering at the lowest boards on day one,” said tournament arbiter Gian Paolo Pambid.

Melvin Dalangin avenged his 15th round loss to Francis Dizon in the last round to finish with a 10.5-5.5 card but lost to the young Suma with his +704 spread.

Malonzo, meanwhile, scored back to back wins on Ambler and Caluza to finish with 10-6 card and -163 spread, while Dizon salvaged fifth place and the last in the money train with 9-7, +142.

Ambler is the best placed local with 9-7 and -528, while Caluza landed seventh with 8.5-7.5 and -23 spread.

In the student side, Agriculture Engineering student from the Benguet State University Jobert Osting won the event with a 9-3 card and spread of +1,002. Daniel Balbin, Jr. has 8-4 and +3 to finish second, while Farah Paraiso (7-5, -28) finished third. The rest of the top five are: Nicole Briones (6-6, +369) and Mengie Daniel (6-6, +60).

The event’s youngest player, Don Paul Cumti finished with a 5-7 card and -582 to take the sausage award. Cumti is a third year, 14-year older from Don Bosco High School – Lagawe (Ifugao). Pigeon Lobien

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