The DLSU Green and Lady Judokas were determined to improve their respective UAAP standings in the the Season 80 Judo tournament held at the De La Salle Zobel Sports Pavilion last November 11 and 12. However, with the Green Judokas and Lady Judokas remaining in third and fourth place, respectively, their hopes of winning the championship were once again stumped.
In this year’s competition, the Green Judokas bagged a total of 16 points, sustaining third place for the third consecutive season, while the Lady Judokas remained in fourth place for the second straight year with a total of four points.
Unlike last season, this year’s competition was dominated by three teams, namely the UST Growling Tigers, on their way to a third straight title, and their co-champions the Ateneo Blue Eagles, as they garnered a total of 30 points each. Furthermore, the UST Growling Tigresses dominated the mats as they clinched their fourth straight title with a whopping 45 points.
Green Judokas exit in third
Green Judoka Keith Reyes took home the gold after an outstanding performance against UP’s Yiu Man Lee in the finals of the half heavyweight category. Team captain Michael Borja, on the other hand, was able to grab a silver medal in the lightweight category after defeating UE’s Jeunesse Ong in the semifinal, but fell to Ateneo’s Eric Uy in the championship match. Brothers Joshua and Ivan Oleta were each also able to take home a silver medal in the featherweight and middleweight category, respectively.
UST and ADMU shared the spot for first place, with both having a total of 30 points as UP placed fourth with 16 points and UE was last with only three points. Although UP fell short of the podium, Fighting Maroon Michael Lagmay was awarded Rookie of the Year.
Other gold medalists in this division were Ateneo’s Isaiah Tuazon (featherweight), Eric Uy (lightweight), Harmon Tuazon (half middleweight), UST’s Daryl Mercado (extra lightweight), Renzo Cazeñas (middleweight), Dither Tablan (heavyweight), and UP’s Gabriel Salazar (half lightweight).
Lady Judokas stay at fourth
Lady Judoka Charmea Quelino garnered a silver medal after falling to UE’s Claudine Nargatan in the half heavyweight category. In addition, Lady Judoka Carmila Cadorna added a bronze medal to the team’s tally in the featherweight category.
UST held onto their title after earning 45 points, followed by UE in second with 32 points, UP in third place with 11 points, and ADMU in fifth with two points. After bringing home the gold in the lightweight category, UST’s Almira Ruiz was also awarded Most Valuable Player, while Rhianna Li-loan of the Lady Maroons was awarded Rookie of the Year.
Other gold medalists in the women’s division were UST’s Khrizzie Pabulayan (extra lightweight), Jamaika Ponciano (half heavyweight), Renielyn Castillo (heavyweight), UE’s Jeanalane Lopez (featherweight), Claudine Nargatan (lightweight), Patricia Rosario (half middleweight), and Bianca Estrella (middleweight).
Positivity is key
After the tournament, Borja reflected on how the team was not able to anticipate their opponents due to their disadvantage in numbers. The graduating team captain was honest to admit that the team struggled as a whole with regards to their game plan. With this said though, he still chose to focus on the positive outcomes of the tournament. “We still got the podium finish, we got more medals than the previous years. I could say that some players improved their game, yung iba siguro sadyang nahirapan lang this year,” stated Borja.
Despite the disappointing outcome at this year’s competition, head coach Sam Bernales has already recognized the areas they can improve on for next season. Bernales explained, “Most of the time [it’s] maintaining the weight of the players and building guts and confidence in the game.” Nonetheless, Bernales knows for a fact that there will always be factors that challenge athletes during a game and as far as he is concerned, he knew that his two teams performed to the best of their abilities this season. He concluded that, “Winning and losing in judo [could be] done in split seconds but nonetheless our varsity [did] their job very well.”