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Jay Gilbuena crowned Rookie MVP, leads NU to third straight crown

National University stamped its class by completing a 6-0 sweep in the UAAP Season 82 Men’s Taekwondo tournament Friday at the Blue Eagle Gym.

The Bulldogs defeated University of Santo Tomas, 6-1, and University of the Philippines, 7-0, to annex their third consecutive title.

Featherweight Sturdy Jay Gilbuena, a 19-year old former Asian Juniors Taekwondo campaigner from Nasipit, Agusan del Norte, was named the Rookie-MVP.

“Sa preparation namin, sobra ang pinagdaanan namin. Isa-isa sa amin, lalo na ako may pinagdaanan din, pero hindi naging hadlang iyon para ma-claim namin ulit yung championship from last year,” said Gilbuena.

Used to campaign as a bantamweight, Gilbuena moved up a weight class higher in the UAAP but still delivered the goods for NU.

“Lagi akong naniniwala kay Lord, naniniwala ako sa sarili ko at kay coach,” said Gilbuena, who was recruited from Palarong Pambansa.

De La Salle finished a strong second with a 5-1 card. The Green Jins, whose lone loss came from the Bulldogs, overpowered Ateneo, 6-1, and Far Eastern University, in the final day.

“Para sa akin, ang pinakamabigat naming kalaban ay La Salle. Sila yung una naming kalaban,” said Gilbuena, who overcame jitters to emerge triumphant in his collegiate debut.

NU is looking good in cementing its status as the third-winningest men’s taekwondo program behind UST’s 14 and De La Salle’s eight.

“Naniniwala ako na kaya naming ma-claim kung ano ang nakuha namin ngayon,” said Gilbuena.

After bowing to the Bulldogs, the Tiger Jins bested University of the East, 4-3, to clinch third place with a 4-2 mark.

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Aside from Gilbuena, finweight Kurt Barbosa, lightweight Joseph Chua, and welterweight Keno Mendoza also bagged golds for NU.

De La Salle also had a bulk of golds, with Carlo Dionisio (flyweight), Kyle Arsenal (bantamweight) and Alvaro Aranton (middle/heavyweight) winning their respective divisions.

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