With the new point system implemented and with the competition tight, the reigning UAAP Men’s Judo champions University of Santo Tomas Golden Judokas lead the pack after Day 1 of the tournament, Saturday at the De La Salle Zobel Sports Pavilion.
For head coach Steve Esteban, it was the grit and determination of the España-based squad to retain the championship that pushed them to the lead and saw them cop gold in two of the day’s four events.
“The performance of the men today was good, an improvement from last season” he said. “They are committed to be champions.”
Reigning UAAP Most Valuable Player Dither Tablan paced UST with a rousing win in the men’s heavyweight division after taking down Ateneo de Manila University’s Rafael Cardiente. Dillen Herrera of University of the Philippines bested John Atienza for the bronze.
Renzo Miguel Cazenas won UST’s second gold with a conquest of De La Salle University’s Ivan Oleta in the men’s middleweight final. Yeonji Avendano and Alfred Querubin took the third-place honors in the said category.
Ateneo and La Salle were not to be denied their golds as well.
Ateneo’s Harmon Tuazon pocketed the men’s half-middleweight gold after disposing of UST’s Luis San Diego. and last year’s Rookie of the Year and Fighting Maroon Noah Lee settled for the silvers in the said categories. Tuazon’s sparring partner Hermogenes Arayata IV and Zildjian Munsayac of UP bagged the bronze medals.
La Salle’s Keith Reyes, a former UST standout, dominated the men’s half-heavyweight category. He bested last season’s Rookie of the Year and Fighting Maroon Noah Lee. UE Red Judoka Luis Benitez III and Tiger George Kim both finished at third in the division.
The Tiger Judokas hope to sustain their run on Sunday to fend off all the other teams who are all within their striking distance, in order to keep the crown in España.
UAAP Season 80 Men’s Judo Championships Standings
November 11, 2017 – De La Salle Zobel Sports Pavillion, Muntinlupa City