UAAP: Green, Lady Judokas fall short of podium finish for second straight year

The DLSU Green and Lady Judokas both finished fourth overall in their respective divisions in the UAAP Season 82 Judo Tournament, held last February 29 to March 1 at the Mall of Asia Arena. The Green Judokas tallied a total of four medals, with three bronze and one silver, while the Lady Judokas collected two bronze medals, a silver medal, and a gold medal.

It was the UE Lady Warriors who were able to bag the championship in the women’s division this year as they tallied 30 points. They were followed closely by last year’s champions, the UST Golden Tigresses, with 28 points, while the UP Lady Maroons ended at third with 22 points. 

Lady Judokas captain Charmea Quelino earned the only gold medal for the Taft-based squad on the weekend as the Green-and-White finished with 12 points. 

Meanwhile in the men’s division, the UST Growling Tigers were able to clinch the championship with a total of 34 points, with the UP Fighting Maroons right at their heels with 32 points. Rounding out the podium finishers were the ADMU Blue Eagles with 23 points. La Salle finished at the bottom of the men’s division with six points as Keith Reyes contributed the most points for the Green Judokas with three.

Day one

As the first day concluded, Quelino triumphed over Golden Tigress Devrah Devaras in the gold medal match for the women’s lightweight category, garnering La Salle’s only first place finish in this year’s tournament. It was the best way to cap a tremendous UAAP career, as Quelino expressed, “I’m just happy because it’s my last playing year, and I was able to get the result that I wanted.” 

The Lady Judokas were able to end the first day with a total of 11 points as Carmila Cadorna contributed a bronze medal in the extra lightweight division, while Andrea De Leon yielded to UE’s Jeanalane Lopez to nab silver in the lightweight event.

For the men’s division, on the other hand, the Green Judokas only garnered three points, with Reyes being the lone medalist for the day as he bagged the silver medal in the half heavyweight division. 

Day two

As the second and final day of the tournament transpired, the Green Judokas were able to tally three points yet again as three of their athletes were able to bag bronze medals in their respective categories—David Gordon for featherweight, Fred Aclopen for extra lightweight, and Axel Allan for half lightweight.

Meanwhile, for the Lady Judokas, April Guidangen was the lone podium finisher for the day, garnering the bronze medal in the middleweight division.

“It was quite disappointing; none of us got gold, but I know this will be a big lesson for us,” shared Green Judokas team captain Ezra Manolos, emphasizing that the substandard performance during the weekend would push the squad to improve for next season. He added, “We’ll bounce back since DLSU will be the host next year. We need to fight back and become motivated again.”

Quelino also gave a balanced assessment of the team’s fourth place output, discussing, “Of course it’s part of competition where there are some disappointments. Some of my teammates were not able to do their best; they were not able to perform well. [Although other] players performed well. Then, there were even some [who had surprising results because] they were able to defeat [last year’s] medalists.”

Coach Sam Bernales, meanwhile,  was adamant about wanting to see improvement for both sides after the Lasallians missed the podium for the second year in a row. “Mga ine-expect ko na mag-gold, nagkulang,” he admitted. “May mga ni-recruit ako na marurunong na kaso natapat sila sa mga [players na] last playing years ng ibang teams. Syempre, na-overwhelm sila na UAAP na, kasi galing sila sa mga ibang kompetisyon. Nag-fall short so may mga kailangan kami i-adjust sa team.”

(The players whom I was expecting to earn gold had subpar performances on the day. I was able to recruit some players that already know how to play, but unfortunately they were matched against the senior athletes of opposing teams. They were overwhelmed because of how different the level of competition is in the UAAP. We fell short so there are things that we have to adjust within a team.)

Rain Leoncio

By Rain Leoncio

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