University of the East romped with all four gold medals at stake in the women’s side to stand way ahead of the field with 32 points to open the UAAP Season 86 Women’s Judo Championships on Thursday at the Marikina Sports Complex.
Reigning MVP and last season’s Rookie of the Year Joemari-Heart Rafael snagged the gold in the half-lightweight (under-52 kg) from titleholder Ayessa Baloy of UP with a come-from-behind victory to lead the charge for the reigning back-to-back queens.
The national athlete shared the importance of the current standings as the Lady Warriors are composed of 13 student-athletes, three short of the maximum 16.
“Lahat talaga kami nagtutulong-tulong kasi konti lang talaga kami, kailangan talaga naming pumuwesto. Even sa preparation namin sa training, lahat talaga ‘to naplano na namin, lahat talaga napaghandaan na ‘to. Kaya, syempre fulfilling na nagawa namin ‘yung dapat naming gawin at nakikita namin ‘yung coaches namin na proud sa naging achievements namin,” said Rafael, 21-year-old BS Psychology major.
Leah Jhane Lopez continued UE’s dominance in the featherweight (under 44 kg) with her second straight title in the weight division, while Krystanna Resente added the lightweight (under 57 kg) crown to the collection.
Aside from Claravall, Rosanna Andrea Nolido also secured a silver after a gallant stand against Resente in the lightweight final, to put the Blue Eagles in second with six points.
UST has four points on four bronzes to finish third after Day 1, while UP and DLSU had three each, from Baloy’s silver and three bronzes, respectively.