The UE Red Warriors and Lady Warriors clinched their fifth and 10th consecutive titles, respectively, at the UAAP Season 79 Fencing Tournament at the Quadricentennial Pavilion at the University of Santo Tomas last February 11. The DLSU Green Fencers and Lady Fencers failed to build on last year’s fourth and third place finishes, respectively.
UE ruled the men’s and women’s divisions with an identical haul of 4 gold, 2 silver, and 2 bronze medals. Meanwhile, the DLSU Green Fencers finished in last place over a five-team playing field with 2 bronze medals. The Lady Fencers came in at fourth place with 1 silver and 3 bronze medals.
The first day opened with Divine Romero and May Montenegro competing in the Women’s Foil, with both of them qualifying for the knockout rounds. However, Montenegro settled for 7th place after losing to ADMU’s Melissa Ignacio in a close fought match, 15-11 . Romero advanced to the semifinals and settled for third to give DLSU a bronze medal.
The Men’s Sabre saw David Lumuhan also advance to the knockout rounds. He was eliminated by Red Warrior Malcolm Valena and placed seventh after a 15-9 loss. As for Matthew Ignacio, he was able to advance to the semifinals and bagged a bronze for La Salle. The Men’s Epee participants, Peter Nieto and Marco Gatpandan, settled for 9th and 10th place, respectively.
In the second day of the tournament, Nichole Apacible and Romero represented the Green-and-White in the Women’s Epee. Apacible settled for seventh place in the Women’s Epee while Romero clinched an additional bronze medal for the Lady Fencers. Coming off another individual medal finish, La Salle struggled in the Women’s Sabre. Kharyl Shoemaker struggled in the qualifying stage, while Jianne Piguing finished three notches higher in seventh.
The Green Fencers struggled to sustain momentum from their bronze medal finish in the opening day of the competition. Matthew Ignacio and Juan Paez were unable to advance to the knockout rounds. As a result, they also settled for 9th and 10th, respectively, in the Men’s Foil.
The third day of competition marked the beginning of the team events for the competitors. The Lady Fencers’ team of Montenegro, Miravite, Romero, and Rudio bagged silver in the Women’s Team Foil after succumbing to the UE Lady Warriors, 45-23.
La Salle in the Men’s Sabre, behind Ignacio, Peter Nieto, David Lumuhan, and Jose Anonuevo, however, were not as successful as their counterparts. Failing to defeat the UST Growling Tigers, 45-38, they were forced to settle for bronze.
Despite a valiant effort from the Green Fencers, they also came up short in the Men’s Epee. Marco Gatpandan, Ignacio, Nieto, and Hadj Satinitigan settled for fifth place after falling to the ADMU Blue Eagles in the quarterfinals, 45-26.
The last day of the tournament saw the team’s position in the standings finalized. The Men’s Foil Team of Ignacio, Paez, Lumahan and Nieto finished in fifth place. Trailing rivals ADMU, 25-11, halfway through the Tableau of 8, Ignacio was able to record 15 hits against Robin Limjoco to bring his team near striking distance, 29-26. However, they were unable to capitalize on their momentum as the Blue Eagles ran away with a 45-39 win.
“We did our best, but fencing in general is an unpredictable sport.” Anonuevo, remaining positive, commented after the Green Fencers’ performance, “It didn’t favor us this year and our play. We did our best, we could’ve done better, were gonna do better next year.” The Women’s Epee team bagged DLSU another medal as Apacible, Romero, Patricia Miravite, and Montenegro bagged the bronze after being routed by the UE Lady Warriors, 45-22.
On the other hand, the Women’s Sabre Team of Montenegro, Piguing, Romero, and Shoemaker also ended the day at the fifth place, following a slim loss to the ADMU Lady Eagles. Even though they ended at that position, however, they gave the crowd a match to remember. After trailing at 14-25, the team roared back through the strong play of Shoemaker as she single-handedly lifted the team for a 30-29 lead behind 16 hits. The match continued to stay close till the end, but it was La Salle’s rivals who would come up on top with a 45-43 scorecard.
Coach Ramil Andrean mentioned that the team hoped for a better finish from last year, but kept the expectations realistic. “Siyempre umasa kami na mas mataas, pero ito talaga ang naramdaman naming finish, kasi nga kulang talaga, nabawasan pa. (Of course we were hoping for a better finish, but we expected this as well. We were already lacking, and some players left to boot.) ”As a result, the Green Fencers and Lady Fencers contributed 6 and 8 points, correspondingly, to La Salle’s General Championship bid.