Two years after missing the competition, the University of the Philippines’ Carl Dave Aseneta made his return count after snaring the men’s lightweight gold, Thursday at the La Salle Greenhills St. Benilde Gym.
UAAP Season 74 Rookie of the Year Lucky Flores of University of Santo Tomas started the competition with a victory over Pocholo Ansay of Ateneo de Manila University. De La Salle University’s Norman Chua followed Flores into the quarterfinals after upending Raynato Pedrajeta of Adamson University. In the last Round of 16 match, Niko Istrael of University of the East stunned heavy favorite Harvey Navarro of UST with a throw for an ippon with just 7 seconds left in their contest.
Istrael’s run continued after scoring another ippon off UP’s Jico Cruz in the quarterfinals. The UE veteran booked a semifinals showdown with Chua, who previously advanced after the latter’s win over Michael Isidro of Ateneo. On his part, Flores finished off Michael Borja, 3:15 left in the clock, to secure his place in the Final Four. Aseneta then followed Flores in the semifinals after stopping Abdul Noor in just 20 seconds.
Noor and Isidro then booked their places in the bronze medal matches after upending Borja and Cruz in their respective repechage matches. In the semifinals, Aseneta continued his dominant run. The fourth-year Maroon Judoka surprised Flores with a throw to end the match at the 2:48. However, another streak ended, when Chua pulled through after five minutes against Istrael with a waza-ari, in the other Final Four tiff.
The division’s surprise package, Istrael, eventually took one of the bronze medals at stake to rescue his otherwise impressive campaign. Istrael came from a waza-ari down and scored two of his own en route to winning the medal over training partner Noor. Flores secured the other bronze when he also turned a waza-ari deficit to an ippon win over Isidro.
In the finals, Aseneta was penalized for defensive posture just 20 seconds into the match. Eight seconds after, however, the Fighting Maroon swiftly threw Borja and scored the ippon. Aseneta won the match and the UP’s lone gold of the season in dominating fashion.