University of the East was determined to overturn the setback it experienced last season.
With team captain Jea Lopez leading the squad, the Lady Warriors finished on top after Day One of the UAAP Season 82 Women’s Judo Championships, Saturday at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.
Lopez and the rest of the Lady Warriors hold a precarious seven-point advantage over reigning five-time champion University of Santo Tomas, after ending the day with 19 points.
The graduating skipper toppled De La Salle University rookie Andrea De Leon in the final of the featherweight division.
Meanwhile, her sister Leah also fended of a newcomer in Alyssa Baloy of UP in the next weight class, extra-lightweight.
The elder Lopez finished the match in just 30 seconds after a swift throw for an ippon to get the gold. On the other hand, Leah had to endure a longer fight but ultimately got a full point herself.
“‘Yung minor setback namin last year, ‘yun ‘yung parang naging fire namin na ang i-aim po talaga namin is ‘yung championship,” said the fourth-year standout. “Ang sabi lang po namin is walang bibitaw kasi alam naman po namin na kayang-kaya naman po.
“Ang aim po talaga this season is magkaroon ng history po eh; na bago po ako umalis ng UAAP, mapag-champion ko po ‘yung UE for the first time.”
Last year’s Most Valuable Player Khrizzie Pabulayan held the fort for the defending queens, topping another UE judoka Mylene Matias in the half-lightweight class.
Meanwhile, La Salle’s Charmea Quelino bagged her second consecutive gold in the lightweight division. Quelino took down Devrah Devaras of UST in the final.
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