UNIVERSITY of Santo Tomas flexed its might in the two-day UAAP Season 86 Judo championships to bag its seventh consecutive boys’ title at the close of the competitions on Friday at the Marikina Sports Complex.
Paced by eventual back-to-back MVP John Patrick De Tomas’ lightweight (under 73 kg) and Julian De Castro’s half-lightweight (under 66 kg) golds the previous day, the Junior Male Tiger Judokas finished with 43 points on the strength of a 4-3-6 gold-silver-bronze medal haul.
The school’s sixth championship this season was nothing short of a product of the squad’s hard work, according to head coach Paul De Vera, saying, “Determined lang talaga ‘yung mga boys kasi simula nung pandemic nagpahinga, so lahat talaga nag-strive na manalo at gusto nilang sundan ‘yung mga nauna talaga. ‘Yung may mga ga-graduate na, gusto talaga nilang may maiwan talaga para sa team.”
“Starting from scratch lang talaga kami, tiyaga lang talaga. Sa every day training, talagang focused kami. May mga na-injure, mahirap talaga kasi puro mga bata. Nag-pay off naman, worth it naman lahat ng pagod nila: yung mga iyak, everything.”
UST clinched two more golds in the day with Zeus Babanto lording it over in the half-middleweight (under 81 kg) and Joerdan Caguicla defending his middleweight (under 90 kg) title to put the stamp in the dominant finish.
On the other hand, Alessandro Nieto impressed in his UAAP debut and powered Ateneo de Manila to the runner-up finish in a close battle with De La Salle Zobel and University of the East.
Eventual Rookie of the Year beat teammate Rocco Antonio in the final of the heavyweight (over 100 kg) competition to officially seal the Blue Eagles’ count at 18 points, just a point ahead of the Junior Green Judokas.
DLSZ, meanwhile, also edged out University of the East by a mere point, 17-16, with Sian Constantine Guevarra’s back-to-back titles in the half-heavyweight (under 100 kg) acting as the finishing kick to the campaign of the Alabang-based school.
With more grapplers, the UE Junior Warriors collected two golds and two bronzes with Eric Rodriguez’s back-to-back titles in the featherweight (under 55 kg) leading the way. Rupert Fernandez secured the other gold of the boys’ side in the extra-lightweight (under 60 kg).