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Red Warriors start strong after individual rounds; Tiger Fencers stay close

Defending men’s fencing three-peat champions University of the East Red Warriors kept their slight advantage over the University of Santo Tomas to keep their title-retention bid on a good note after the individual events, Thursday at the UST Quadricentennial Pavilion Arena.

Last year’s Rookie of the Year CJ Concepcion opened the championship campaign, Wednesday, with the successful defense of his individual sabre title over Angelo Ramos of UST. Returning sabreur Mighty Ignacio, playing for the De La Salle University this time, and UE’s Malcolm Valeña secured the bronze medals.

Noelito Jose Jr. likewise remained the king of individual epee as he masterfully brought down Marlon Osayan of UE in the final. Fellow Thomasian Dennis Gascon took the one of the bronzes, even as the University of the Philippines’ Apa Rondain clinched the other at the expense of Nathaniel Perez.

The following day, however, UE’s Perez exacted revenge on Rondain and reclaimed the individual foil gold. The two finalists took down their respective teammates, Samuel Tranquilan and Igi Cui, to reach the podium piste.

After winning the foil title back, Perez was happy to get himself on track. Going into the competition, the graduating fencer thought that, “Positive ko siya in-approach. Inisip ko, bawat event na lalaruin ko, I’ll give my best.”

“Last day (yesterday), kinapos ako,” he said of his loss in epee to Rondain. “Pero ngayon (Thursday), nabawi ko na.”

The Season 77 MVP is also optimistic of their chances in the team events, and thus, of clinching their fourth straight overall title.

“Nakikita ko na malaki ang chance namin. Kasi sa mga remaining na events, nakikita ko na maganda naman yung chances,” he added.

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