ZARCHIE Garay’s journey to a redemption gold proved to be the difference as University of the Philippines held on to a slim 19-16 lead in the men’s standings over reigning five-peat champion University of Santo Tomas at the end of the first day of the UAAP Season 86 Collegiate Judo Championships on Thursday at the Marikina Sports Complex.
The Season 82 champion in the half-heavyweight (under 100 kg) division took the lead early in the gold medal match in the middleweight (under 90 kg) tournament this time with a waza-ari on a throw against De La Salle University Green Judoka Ezra Malanos.
Garay then sent the UP crowd cheering with a second waza-ari that led to an ippon and a win but was nullified upon video review.
However, that lone waza-ari of the contest stood until the final buzzer as the celebration resumed for the maroon crowd in attendance.
“Ngayong season ang mindset lang namin is enjoy-in lang ‘yung laro. Habang nag-e-enjoy ka mas lalong gumaganda ‘yung laro mo kasi. Kaya parang ganun lang ‘yung ginawa ko kanina, hindi ko inisip na ‘Kailangang manalo ako.’ Masaya lang na nakapaglaro tayo,” said the fourth-year senior out of Quezon City Garay.
Jayvee Ferrer, the 31st Southeast Asian Games silver medalist in the 90kg division, repeated against fellow Fighting Maroon Ollzhen Dionisio in the half-middleweight (under 81 kg) Final, but the 1-2 finish fueled the campaign of last year’s runner-up.
Laurence Sy and Jacob Raphael Torres added two bronzes to the haul in the half-heavyweight and the heavyweight (over 100 kg) divisions, respectively.
The 30th Southeast Asian Games sambo champion bagged UST’s lone gold at the expense of teammate Lorenzo Noel Tolentino, as Rael Abujos missed his chance at the heavyweight category’s final.
De La Salle University was not far behind in third place with 11 points, thanks to that Abujos upset from George Baclagan with an ippon, 35 seconds into the match.
Malanos added the middleweight silver to go with James Matthew Orbe’s bronze in the half-middleweight.