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Phillip Santos MVP as Ateneo secures UAAP men’s swimming ‘eight-peat’

Phillip Joaquin Santos, Marco Daos, and Rafael Barreto made sure that Ateneo de Manila University finished what has been a dominant swim in the UAAP Season 86 Men’s Swimming Championships, keeping the crown in Katipunan for the eighth straight season on Sunday at the Teofilo Yldefonso Swimming Pool in Malate, Manila.

This is Ateneo’s ninth overall title in the sport.

At the conclusion of the four-day event, the Blue Eagles collected a total of eight golds, eleven silvers, and six bronze medals, to go along with a new UAAP Record, on its way to a tally of 405 points, coming out on top of rivals De La Salle University (329.50), University of the Philippines (267.50), and University of Santo Tomas (209).

“I love my team. And being able to contribute points for the team makes me happy. I’m also very proud that my other teammates did very well this year because they all worked hard for this,” said Season 86 Most Valuable Player Santos, a 22-year-old senior.

However, their victory did not come easy as several challengers from the opposing teams made the outcome uncertain even in the last few events. In fact, all four participating universities brought home at least one gold medal for their team in the finale.

In the Men’s 1500m Freestyle, Alexander Lawrence Chu of DLSU repeated as a spoiler to Ateneo’s imposing distance trio of Joshua Del Rio, Phillip Joaquin Santos, and Marco Daos to claim another gold medal. Chu was the only competitor to swim below the 17-minute mark at 16:47:57. Nevertheless, the Ateneo men managed to crowd the second to fourth positions, with Del Rio claiming the silver and Santos taking the bronze, to rack up 30 more points for their team.

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The Men’s 50m Backstroke saw Barreto being denied a spot on the podium in a tight race. UST’s John Neil Paderes claimed his second gold with a time of 27.16 seconds ahead of DLSU’s Estifano Ramos (27.37) and UP’s Franco Dela Rosa (27.74). Barreto came in fourth, clocking 27.82 seconds.

The Tigersharks had another ace as Joseph Arca (2:23.23) snatched the gold in the Men’s 200m Breaststroke in a come-from-behind fashion. Ateneo senior Ianiko Limfilipino (2:23.85) led from the start, only to be outdone in the last five meters by the younger Arca. Fighting Maroon Kyle Bagusto touched third at 2:25.18.

But the Blue Eagles made certain that the bleeding stopped.

Sophomore Marco Daos ruled the Men’s 200m Butterfly, flying past his rivals to finish in 2:09.94. UST’s Jules Mirandilla (2:12.39) narrowly edged La Salle’s Marc Libarnes (2:12.43) for the silver. Santos, who by then only needed to score a point to repeat as most valuable player, wound up fourth in 2:13.49.

It was then Barreto’s turn to shine in the Men’s 50m Freestyle as he swam to a golden finish in 24.05 seconds, to repeat as the winner of the event. UST’s Johan Aguilen (24.24) claimed the silver while UP’s Dela Rosa (24.49) once more took bronze.

The Fighting Maroons were not to be left behind as they bagged a gold in the Men’s 4x100m Medley Relay with a scintillating time of 3:56.57 to register a new UAAP record for UP. La Salle claimed silver (3:57.99) as UST (4:06.97) settled for bronze.

Written By

Kristine graduated from ADMU and was a former member of the FAST Ateneo Swimming team. She considers playing for Ateneo the highlight of her college years. Aside from following all things swimming, she is an avid football fan and hopes to one day watch an international football game like the LaLiga, Premier League, or the FIFA World Cup.

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