MANILA, Philippines – A rookie swimmer and a veteran baseball player wound up earning the highest individual honors upon the conclusion of the 80th season of the UAAP on Wednesday at the Far Eastern University (FEU) Auditorium.
Francis "Kiko" Gesmundo of the De La Salle University Green Batters and Kirsten Chloe Daos of the Ateneo de Manila University swimming team were named the Athletes of the Year for Season 80.
Daos had a dominant freshman year for the FAST Ateneo Swimming Team, as she won Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player honors. She won gold medals in the 50-meter, 100-meter, and 200-meter butterfly, as well as in the 200-meter, 400-meter, and 800-meter freestyle events. She also added a silver from the 100-meter freestyle.
With Daos leading the way, the Ateneo women's swimming team claimed the championship in Season 80.
Gesmundo, meanwhile, had a superb campaign for the Green Batters in Season 80, winning MVP honors along with the Best Third Baseman and Best Slugger awards. He was also the season's home run lead.
However, the Green Batters were unable to win the baseball crown this year, bowing to Adamson University in the finals.
In the high school division, La Salle Zobel swimmer Nicole Pamintuan and Gio Pabualan took home the Athlete of the Year honors.
"It is only fitting that we recognize greatness in our midst, greatness in this very room, greatness exemplified by the young student athletes who took the challenge of seasons past and carried the legacy of greatness," said UAAP executive director Rebo Saguisag in his opening remarks.
Aside from the Athletes of the Year, the UAAP also recognized the standouts who excelled not just on the court or on the field, but also inside the classroom.
In the high school level, the athlete scholars who were hailed by the league are as follows: Adamson's Jallen Agra, Ateneo's Phillip Santos, De La Salle Zobel's Anna Fatima Royeca, FEU's John Marvin Miciano, National University's Faith Nisperos, University of the East's Samantha Catantan, University of the Philippine's Zoe Hilario, and University of Santo Tomas' Ronalyn Lalimo.
Meanwhile, in the collegiate level, the following athlete scholars were also honored: Adamson's John Wilfred Enal, Ateneo's Marquis Riley Alindogan, La salle's Jamaica Sy, Far Eastern University's Bernadeth Pons, National University's Mike Minuluan, University of the Philippines's William Thomas Lara, and University of Santo Tomas's (UST) Noelito Jose.
Pons received an ovation at the FEU Auditorium, as she concluded a five-year career capped by an appearance in the finals of the UAAP Season 80 women's volleyball tournament.
UST was also formally recognized after winning the general championship in both the high school and collegiate divisions.
"UST takes pride in its 42nd general championship," said UST's Fr. Jannel Abogado, OP, head of the Institute of Physical Education and Athletics. "We develop all these programs, and we develop good athletes for all of these programs."
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