Ateneo de Manila University pulled through still in a tight battle against De La La Salle University and University of the Philippines with 300 points, all thanks to the huge performance of Philip Joaquin Santos, who currently leads both the MVP and Rookie of the Year race in the penultimate day of the UAAP Season 85 Men’s Swimming Championships, Saturday at the Teofilo Yldefonso Swimming Complex in Malate, Manila.
Santos secured the 400-meter individual medley gold with 4:44.08 ahead of La Salle’s Ted Laminta’s 4:45.37, making amends of his second-place in the 100-meter backstroke where Steven Ho bagged the limelight with the new UAAP record of 59.27 and the gold.
The Green Tankers rounded the day with 279 points to maintain distance to third-running UP, which has 208 markers.
Aside from Ho’s record-smashing gold, Laminta opened the day for La Salle with the 200-meter freestyle title with 1:56.17, before Josemaria Roldan, Jaren Tan, Sean Cruz, and Seb Wong collected the 200-meter freestyle relay title with 1:37.53 to close the day with UP getting disqualified for early entry.
Rookies Joshua Ang and Pepi Mapa bagged the first individual titles for the Fighting Maroons.
Ang erased the 50-meter butterfly record established just this morning with Rafael Barreto’s 24.97, putting the gold-winning time just one one-hundredth of a second better at 24.96. Meanwhile, Mapa took the 100-meter breaststroke gold with 1:05.95, stunning favorites Rian Tirol, Rafael Isip, and Earl Jay Jayme.
The Tigersharks stand in fourth place with 72 markers.
For the distaffs’ side, Thanya Dela Cruz grabbed the spotlight once more after breaking another national record in the women’s 100-meter breaststroke.
The Ateneo rookie broke the existing record of Desirae Mangaoang of 1:10.92 during the morning’s preliminaries and then smashed her own record in the finals later in the afternoon. Dela Cruz stopped the clock at 1:09.85 during the prelims before finalizing the new mark at 1:08.64 in the medal race en route to the gold.
Still, De La Salle University and University of the Philippines continued their battle for the women’s title.
The Lady Green Tankers pushed their lead to 51 with 336 points against UP’s 285, with their national team standouts Xiandi Chua and Chloe Isleta carrying the cudgels.
Chua captured her fifth gold in style, smashing the previous 200-meter freestyle record of Hannah Dato’s 2:07.98 with a new mark of 2:06.73. She then picked up the 400-meter individual medley with 5:00.43, taking out Dato’s 5:03.71 in 2015.
Isleta collected two titles after a record-breaking swim in the 100-meter backstroke at 1:04.13, reducing her own prelims time of 1:04.35, after taking the 50-meter butterfly at 27.98.
The Fighting Maroons, on the other hand, got another boost from its relay quartet. UP set another relay record when Angela Pogiongko, Franz Joves, Gene Quiambao, and Angela Villamil finished with 1:52.47, erasing the previous 1:53.91 done by Kayla Taguibao, Alyssa Pogiongko, Ariana Canaya, and Villamil, also from UP, established just last UAAP Season 82.
Dela Cruz helped Ateneo to third place with 167 markers, while UST is in fourth place with 87.
The fourth and final day of the Championships is on Sunday, starting at 8:00 AM for the preliminaries and 2:00 PM for the finals.