University of the East, despite fielding just 13 judokas, completed its three-peat bid in UAAP women’s judo at the close of the Season 86 championships on Friday at the Marikina Sports Complex.
The Lady Warriors’ roster was enough to put up a huge margin over the rest of the field paced by the eventual back-to-back MVP Joemari-Heart Rafael’s conquest of the half-lightweight (under 52 kg) division, it was a matter of putting in the best effort to keep the advantage and, consequently, the win.
“Since ‘yung isa sa staff namin, ‘yung wife ko, is a psychologist, siy ‘yung nagma-mindset sa mga players at sinu-supplement ko lang. Ang sabi ko lang sa kanila kahapon, para mag-champion kami uli, walang bibitaw. Gawin lang nila ‘yung roles nila at ‘pag ginawa nila ‘yon, makukuha pa rin namin ‘yung championship,” UE head coach Rodimple Rodriguez said.
The Lady Warriors, though, struggled to get into the gold medal finals as senior Veneza Dayao and Remieanne Pangilinan were stopped in the semifinals of the half-middleweight (under 63 kg) and middleweight (under 70 kg) divisions, respectively.
The two student-athletes, though, still brought a bronze each in the said weight categories to add to UE’s tally, and so did Alyzza Dela Cruz (also from under 63) and Aescie Anne Ramos (also from under 70).
“Sobrang saya kasi ‘yung iba sa kanila, nag-graduate na, bumalik, nag-masters na. Sabi nga nila, hindi pa tapos ‘yung laban nila sabi nila ipapa-three-peat pa raw nila. Ibibigay raw nila sa ‘kin ‘yung three-peat, and siguro ang masasabi ko lang ‘din doon is kapag pinakita mo sa mga bata ‘yung care mo, ‘pag naramdaman nila ‘yun, hindi mo na kailangang hilingin sa kanila ‘yung championship eh, ibibigay na lang nila sa ‘yo,” added Rodrgiez, who was also a former UE standout.
It was a relatively easier task for the rest of the squad as the foundation for the three-peat bid was laid down on the opening day.
Rafael’s sister, Jewel Ann, defended the Season 85 MVP’s extra-lightweight (under 48 kg) gold from last season against Ateneo’s Ysabelle Claravall. Leah Jhane Lopez continued UE’s dominance in the featherweight (under 44 kg) class with her second straight title in the weight division, while Krystanna Resente added the lightweight (under 57 kg) crown to the collection.
The 1-2 finish of Jeniva Consigna and eventual Rookie of the Year Felice Barbuco in the middleweight division fuelled the UST’s bid for a late surge, but the Season 85 champions eventually ended as runner-up for the season with 23 points on a
The Female Tiger Judokas bagged two silvers in the day with Princess Cortez and Jeanmae Lobo taking defeats from De La Salle University’s Yvonne Aragon and Ateneo de Manila University’s Maxine Mababangloob, respectively.
Mababangloob’s surprise gold in half-heavyweight (under 78 kg) over Cortez and the silver from Juliana San Ramon in heavyweight (over 78 kg) were what carried the Blue Eagles to the third-place finish with 16 points over Stephanie Fetalver, the heavyweight champion, and the University of the Philippines’ 11.
The Fighting Maroons also added a bronze from Pag-ibig De Villa in the half-heavyweight class for the second day to augment the lone medal haul from Ayessa Baloy, a silver in the half-lightweight class, the previous day for a 1-1-1 medal tally.
Meanwhile, the UE Junior Lady Warriors reclaimed the title after bagging all four golds at stake on the second day to end the competition on top with 39 points against defending champions UST Junior Female Tiger Judokas’ 33.
“Syempre, masaya kami na mukha ulit namin yung campionship. Kasi before nung pandemic three-peat yung girls pero after nung pandemic, dahil kulang kami sa players, nawala sa ‘min ‘tong championship. Pero nakikita mo sa girls, na gusto nilang bawiin ‘yung title at nagawa naman nila,” said Rodriguez.
Sweet Goodness Trillo romped the half-lightweight (under 52 kg) competition in the round-robin against teammate Alexza Gatdula and UST’s Asher Lee Broncano to bag the third gold of the day, and, eventually, sealing her fate as this year’s MVP.
Dennice Tan’s successful defense of her featherweight (under 44 kg) title and the redemption golds from Mikaela Palima and Jhen Rose Obeja in the extra-lightweight (under 48 kg) and the lightweight (under 57 kg) categories respectively boosted the Junior Lady Warriors after Jamaica Trino, the season’s top rookie, came up with the squad’s lone first-day gold in the middleweight (under 70 kg).
On the other hand, Oona Sophia Benavidez and Armilene Cortez tried to follow up on Mariah Lua’s half-heavyweight (under 78 kg) and Margaret Fajardo’s heavyweight (over 78 kg) golds for the UST Junior Female Judokas, but instead settles for silvers.
DLSZ rounded up the podium with 13 points with Gabrielle Talaue’s half-middleweight (under 63 kg) gold leading the 1-1-2 medal haul of the squad.