MANILA, Philippines - University of Santo Tomas clipped University of the Philippines, 5-2, to retain the men’s crown in the UAAP taekwondo tournament at the Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan yesterday.
Last season’s MVP Dane Pio de Roda, Marae Anthony Deo and Christian Al dela Cruz won the last three matches as the Growling Tigers broke away from a tight 2-2 count for the win.
It was a sorry loss for the Fighting Maroons, who came into the finals on a five-game winning streak and needed only to win their final elims game to wrest the crown.
UST, La Salle and UP actually ended up in a three-way tie at 5-1, but the España-based jins clinched the championship via a superior quotient.
It was UST’s 11th crown, the most by any team in the league, while the Green Archers and the Maroons settled for second and third place finish, respectively.
“The hard work of the boys paid off,” said UST coach Dindo Simpao.
La Salle earlier copped the women’s crown, its first since 1998, after completing a six-game sweep of the elims.
Dela Cruz bagged the men’s division MVP plum, while La Salle’s Benjamin Keith Sembrano was named the Rookie of the Year.
La Salle’s Jyra Lizardo clinched the season MVP honors in the women’s division, while teammate Patricia Gonzalez emerged the tournament’s top rookie.
UST subdued last year’s champion Far Eastern University, 6-1, to finish second in the distaff side with a 6-1 record. The Tigresses improved from their dismal fourth place last season.
The Lady Tamaraws have a 5-2 card in third place.
In the juniors division, the UST Tiger Cubs ruled the fourth consecutive season after winning all of their four matches, with Juan Miguel Ramos and Rhayzon Catris bagging the MVP and Rookie of the Year honors, respectively.