Hanging out with his teammates at the end of day two of the UAAP Season 78 Judo Tournament, Keith Reyes stands out with his yellowish hair and his height. Around his neck hung the gold medal he had earned in the heavyweight division this season. “Feels good. Sobrang sulit ang pinaghirapan”, were the only words he could muster when asked how his bit of individual glory felt.
Reyes had felt that the gold medal was hard to achieve because of the physical constraints he had to face. “Sobrang mabibigat ang kalaban ko, magaan lang ako.”
Since Reyes had been a high school recruit from the University of Santo Tomas, he had to serve a two-year residency before he could compete for the De La Salle University in the Seniors Division. He received the Rookie of the Year and a gold medal honors back in his days at UST High School. He lamented, “Sayang yung mga opportunity before since there was a season nung first year ko dumating sa La Salle na muntikan na mag champion yung Men’s team namin so medyo heartbreaking. Sa part ko kasi wala ako nagawa because of my residency.”
Despite the residency, he had felt calm before his first bout for DLSU. “Wala naman. Relax lang naman ako pag naglalaro pero nandun pa rin dapat ang focus at intensity pag naglalaro ka.”
The DLSU Men’s Judo Team finished in third place this UAAP Season 78. Despite the Green Archers having ended Season 78 with a podium finish, Reyes still isn’t happy. “Actually I’m not satisfied with yung performance namin since a lot of our seniors suddenly changed their game nung competition day talaga. I hope na by next season macocorrect namin yun para mas lalo kaming ok sa finishing.”
Nonetheless, Reyes still feels upbeat for his team in future seasons. “This season is just the beginning. Marami pang mangyayari. You’ll never know but there will be more coming from us. Big hope for La Salle na La Salle will perform better in the upcoming years of UAAP.”