After losing the crown four years ago, the University of Santo Tomas Lady Judokas vowed to reclaim the throne.
The result was four dominant years at the top.
UST, riding on the benefits of a full roster, completely fended off the challenge of the University of the East to retain the title and claim a four-time finish, Sunday at the De La Salle Zobel Sports Pavilion in Muntinlupa City.
It was UST through and through, as the program nears UP’s record haul of 12 UAAP women’s judo titles at 10, after finally claiming four straight titles of their own.
UE only had three judokas remaining, and also needed a surge from the University of the Philippines in the weight classes where they had no entries to perhaps stop the reigning queens from staying in the top.
Patricia Rosario, Sharlene Guyo, and Bianca Estrella all did their part for the Recto-based squad. Rosario and Guyo finished off their respective Fighting Maroon counterparts in the semifinals of the women’s half-middleweight to arrange an all-UE final. Estrella, on the other hand, also stopped another UP judoka in Isabella Fojas to enter the middleweight title bout.
Nonetheless, the defending champions looked good in the half-heavyweight and heavyweight categories, winning their first matches in the pool.
In the lighter of these two calsses, Jamaika Ponciano took down Rhea Chong of the Ateneo de Manila University in the first match of the pool, even as Maroon Bianca Paloma stopped Thomasian Katrina Bernardo in the semifinal match. On the other hand, Renielyn Castillo finished both teammate Risa Deka Cruz and UP’s Patricia Palencia in the round robin to pocket the gold in the +78 kg class.
For the Lady Red Judokas, Rosario won via waza-ari over Guyo in the final of the -63 kg class. The plan, however, did not fully work, as Lorelei Tolentino took another one point for UST, winning the bronze over Jemimah Miranda of UP. Maroon Kayla Amado bagged the other third-place medal.
Bianca Estrella closed the eventual runner-ups’ account with a dominant stoppage of Tomasina Khrisha Rotairo in the -70 kg gold medal bout. Fojas pocketed another bronze for the Fighting Maroons, while Bernadette Carpio increased UST’s lead after the other bronze.
UE then cheered for the Maroons, but it was not enough to bother the Tigresses. After Justine Main won past Chong in the second of the pool matches of the -78 kg, Ponciano stopped the former in the following match to deny an all-UP final in the said category.
The UST half-heavyweight went on the win the gold, after her last-minute waza-ari was enough to break the deadlock with Paloma in the final. Main bagged another bronze for UP, while Chong slipped past Bernardo for the other third-place finish. The win virtually sealed UST’s run to the title and the consequent dynasty.
Even as Palencia took the silver in the +78 kg class over Dela Cruz, the order in the podium is eventually settled.
UST lightweight Almira Ruiz was hailed as the MVP of the tournament
UAAP Season 80 Women’s Judo Championships Standings
November 12, 2017 – De La Salle Zobel Sports Pavillion, Muntinlupa City
UST – 45
UE – 32
UP – 11
DLSU – 4
ADMU – 2