Senate worker leads nat’l Scrabble tilt

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Leonora Labog had a full point lead over World Senior Scrabble champion Odette Rio as the two women occupied the 1-2 position after eight rounds Saturday (July 14) in the National Scrabble Championship at the Victory Food Market at Redemptorist Road in Baclaran, Manila.

With eight more rounds to go, the Senate employee has a full point advantage over Rio, who is alone at 6-2 with spread of 687, the best in the field, as women dominated first days and with the top four coming from the country’s three island groups.

The Manila-based Labog closed with a 455-358 win over retired banker Robbie Onate, while Rio, an Ilo-ilo native, ended Saturday with a 454-388 trashing of La Union native Cirilo Nuesca.

It appears that the two players, considered the best now in the country with the absence of many of the top players who work abroad, are headed for a major showdown on Sunday (July 15).

Labog, the first Filipino to score 700 points in a game in the Philippines, hopes to end Rio’s dominance over her in tournaments they both join.

Six players have a 5-3 cards with Cebu top player Renante dela Cerna with a spread of +459 leading and ahead of Mohammed Suma (+391) to complete representation from Luzon,Visayas and Mindanao.

Dela Cerna, a former NSC champion like Rio, beat Ben Filio, 480-372, while Suma, routed father Abdul, who co-organized the event that offers P25,000 to the winner, 521-292.

Also at 5-3 but lower spreads are Jack Macarimbang (++294), Francis Dizon (+154) Nuesca (+83) and Malic Bashier (-16).

Meanwhile, three players have 6-1 cards to lead in the beginners division after the first day. Ronron Mejia took the top post with spread of 610, followed by Ronnie Briones (+515) and Jangari Mayol (+373). PML

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