University of Santo Tomas captured its fifth straight men’s championship after a strong finish in the UAAP Season 85 Collegiate Judo Championships Sunday at the Blue Eagle Gym.
The Golden Judokas amassed 22 points in the day to deny University of the Philippines a comeback and took their league-leading 15th overall title. The trophy is also the school’s seventh this season.
“Feeling thankful and feeling grateful kasi pinayagan na uli ng school, ng board ng UAAP na maglaro uli at mag-training,” UST coach Steve Esteban said. “Congratulations sa mga bata, they deserved (the championship) naman. Happy, I feel joyful, I feel thankful sa mga supporters, sa school namin, at sa mga officials namin.”
UST banked on its 1-2 finish in the men’s lightweight (-73 kg) to seal the title, with John Mari Quilang defeating sparring partner and eventual Rookie of the Year Maekhael Sasi in the gold medal match. Xavier Bustamante of UP and Angelo Saria of De La Salle University collected the bronze medals.
Ryan Christian Benavidez earlier put the Tiger Judokas on the cusp of the title after taking care of Ateneo de Manila University’s Mark Jeremiah Bangui in the half-lightweight (under-66 kg). Fighting Maroon Paolo Cruz and Green Judoka Troy Estrella completed the podium of the event.
Half-heavyweight (under-100 kg) champion Chino Sy’s dominant run on Saturday earned him Most Valuable Player honors.
UP ended in second place for the second-straight season with 26 markers, closed by the gold-winning romp Hyejun Lee in the featherweight (under-55 kg). The rookie outlasted Ron Novino of DLSU in the final, while Season 82 MVP Nick Ligero and Janry Pamor, both of UST, ended with the bronzes.
Eivan Donaire prevented a gold-medal shutout for DLSU after taking the extra-lightweight (under-60 kg) title over Ralph Suarez of UST. UP’s Benedict Macale and Ateneo’s Elijah Claravall rounded up the circle.
The Green Judokas eventually closed with the third-place finish with 15 markers.