It was a breakthrough season for the DLSU Lady Judokas as they placed first while the Green Judokas bagged third in the UAAP Season 76 Judo Tournament held last September 28 and 29 at the Blue Eagle Gym in Ateneo de Manila University. The Lady Judokas improved dramatically as they elevated to the championship from fourth place last season while the Green Judokas remained at third place.
Head coach Sam Bernales expresses, “Tiwala sa sarili na kayang mag perform. Siyempre prinepare sila na habaan stamina nila para hindi sila bumigay pagdating ng game. So talagang kukunin namin yung championship.”
A new conquest
September 29, 2013 marks a special day in the history of La Salle sports as the Lady Judokas won their very first championship title in the league’s Judo tournament. On the other hand, Ateneo and UE placed second and third respectively behind La Salle while last season’s champions, UST finished with an unusual ending at fourth place.
The Lady Judokas took home three gold medals, two silvers and a bronze, a hefty improvement from the previous season, wherein they only earned a gold and a bronze medal on their way to a fourth place finish.
“This has never happened before so it’s such a great accomplishment. Even those who didn’t win any medals or who won silver, sobrang dami pa nilang na-contribute during training,” says team captain Mariel Martinez who added one of the two silvers for the Lady Judokas.
Nicole More, who bagged the gold in the minus 57 kilogram division, was hailed as the season MVP in the Women’s division while UST’s Lorelei Tolentino was awarded the Rookie of the Year plum.
The DLSU Green Judokas maintained their third place finish from last season, piling up two gold medals, two silvers and one bronze from various weight categories.
UST, however, was dethroned by Ateneo, as they were crowned champions after winning two golds, three silvers, and six bronze medals. UP rallied in second place as they came up with two gold medals that came along with one silver and five bronzes.
Ateneo bagged the two individual awards in the Men’s division as Matt Jao received MVP honors while Ralph Sapi won the Rookie of the Year award.
Hard work pays off
For the Taft-based Judokas, their talent and skills in the sport are already a given, but more than these two factors, trust and heart drove them to play even better. “He [head coach Bernales] always tells us ‘tiwala’ and since may baon na kaming skill, technique, stamina, the only thing you need when you’re on the mat is your heart. Puso tapos tiwala”, Martinez explains.
The Green Judokas and Lady Judokas together have had their best season in the UAAP so far, and winning the championship and MVP in the women’s division in one season was their pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. “Kailangan natin makuha yung championship na matagal ng hindi pa nagagawa ng La Salle. I keep on reminding them na kapag nagpapractice push na push talaga. Ibigay yung lahat nila,” shares the champion coach Bernales.