Two places short of a championship during last season’s taekwondo tournament, both the DLSU Green Jins and Lady Jins hope to bounce back and reclaim the throne this coming Season 79. Aside from ending the season with Kyle Arsenal being named Rookie of the Year for the men’s division, prized rookies such as Keith Uy and Carlo Dionisio have been added to the roster to compete for the upcoming tournament. With experienced veterans, rookies, and a formidable coaching staff, the DLSU Jins are a team to look out for.
Brothers Kris and Kyle Uy have already made their mark in the Philippine National Team and the UAAP, respectively. Although it’s usually the two brothers who come to mind when talking about the Green Jins, Keith is more than ready to make a name for himself.
Just like his brothers Kris and Kyle, Keith, a product of Northgate High School, had a respectable run competing in the United States of America as he was also part of the US Junior National team. His brothers decided to play for the Green-and-White primarily because of their father being a Lasallian. Soon after, Keith made the decision to do the same. “I came to La Salle because my dad is an alumnus, and also Kyle and Kris are fighting for the La Salle team so it’d be cool if [we were] all on the same team,” he adds.
As a student of La Salle, Keith is currently taking up BS Marketing Management. Although the demands of college life are a bit harder compared to high school, Keith mentions that he’s adjusting as the weeks go by.
A new challenge
As the reigning MVP for taekwondo of the 91st season of the NCAA Juniors Division, all eyes are on Dionisio as he makes his way to the UAAP. The La Salle Green Hills (LSGH) alumnus had his eyes set to play for DLSU, his siblings having played for the Green-and-White as well.
Having Roberto “Kitoy” Cruz as his coach since he was six years old, one would expect that his transition to the collegiate level while having the same coach would be a breeze. Nevertheless, Dionisio admits, “[The] biggest challenge this season siguro [is] yung pag adjust sa way I play. Kailangan ko talaga mag adjust sa bigat ng mga sipa ng mga opponents ko and the way na maglaro sila.” With the way Coach Cruz and Coach John Paul “Japoy” Lizardo are preparing the team, Dioniso expects that both the Green Jins and Lady Jins will stand on the top of the podium this season.
Taking up AB History, Dionisio makes sure that he finishes all his homework during school hours to be able to just sleep when he gets home. He jokes that the team needs all the energy they can get to survive morning training.
Anxiety is a normal response from rookies going through their first collegiate season, and that holds true for both Uy and Dionisio. “Di pa ako ready na ready, pero pinaghahandaan ko talaga ito nang mabuti,” says Dionisio about his preparations for Season 79. Keith feels the same way, but mentions that the training in Manila is similar to what they do back in the US, which somehow mitigates the nervousness. “One thing I really liked about the La Salle training is it is very close to the way I train back home. Biggest difference is the heat here, sobrang init here.”
Carlo, being a part of the Philippine National Team, and Keith, for the US Junior National Team, are no strangers to competing on the big stage. Also, with Coach Cruz and Coach Lizardo, two of the most decorated practitioners in Philippine Taekwondo, guiding them, they are confident about putting up a fight and bringing the title to Taft.