Chua, Isleta end La Salle's 19-year title drought in women's division
MANILA, Philippines -- Ateneo de Manila University annexed a seventh consecutive title in UAAP men's swimming after finishing strong on the final day of the Season 85 Championships, Sunday at Teofilo Yldefonso Swimming Complex in Malate, Manila.
This championship is Ateneo's second title of the season after collecting 411 points, 37 markers ahead of De La Salle University's 374.
On the women's side, De La Salle University ended a 19-year drought or since taking back-to-back titles in seasons 66 and 65 -- ending with 418 points. This is the Lady Green Tankers' fifth overall title in the tournament.
The title is also La Salle's second title in the season in the collegiate ranks.
Three first-time swimmers led by eventual Most Valuable Player Philip Joaquin Santos bagged the men's crown for Ateneo.
Santos closed his rookie season with silvers in the men's 1500-meter freestyle with 16:57.72, just behind teammate and eventual Rookie of the Year Joshua Del Rio's 16.49.61, and in the 200-meter butterfly with 2:10.03 -- second to University of Santo Tomas' Mervien Mirandilla's 2:09.98.
Santos, the Season 82 Boys' MVP, amassed 93 points ahead of fellow Ateneans Rafael Barreto (86 points) and Del Rio (64 points).
Barreto made a run in the ROY-MVP race and further boosted the Blue Eagles' run. The rookie grabbed golds in the 50-m backstroke with 27.49 and in the 50-m freestyle with 24.06.
"I was very happy and proud. Kasi coming from the pandemic, a lot of uncertainties talaga not just for us, I'm sure for others din," Ateneo swimming program director Archie Lim.
"But 'yun nga, I think it's the spirit of positiveness, and then they really performed and really give their all. 'Yun lang hiningi ko -- the championship is just a bonus for us," Lim continued.
La Salle final day run was highlighted by EJ Jayme's gold-medal finish in the 200-meter breaststroke with 2:26.87.
University of the Philippines closed the men's competitions with a new UAAP record in the 4x100-m medley relay as swimmers Gian De Guzman, Pepi Mapa, Anton Dela Rosa, and Keane Ting erased the old mark set by the UST quartet of Kevin Dagum, Jay Cabulit, Reynald Cullentas Jr., and Renz Gawidan in Season 82.
For the women's side, Xiandi Chua closed her much-awaited UAAP maiden run with the Most Valuable Player award with 102 points to push La Salle into the drought-ending women's tiara. Chua collected five golds, one silver, and one bronze medal and set five new UAAP records to take the top swimmer plum.
Chua punctuated her stint with the silver in the 200m breaststroke with 2:39.43, just behind the new Philippine record of 2:30.42 of Ateneo's Thanya Dela Cruz.
Chloe Isleta also made her one-and-done stint count, taking two golds on her final day in the 50m backstroke and 50m freestyle. The 31st Southeast Asian Games gold medalist clocked at 30.07 in the backstroke event for a new UAAP record and at 26.49 in the freestyle sprint.
"The team, we were all very proud; we were all crying tears of joy, and really cheering our hearts out. So, we all felt like our hard work for the past months really paid off... and we're very happy," MVP Chua shared on winning back the crown.
Rookie of the Year Camille Buico also made a rousing UAAP debut with 84 points to lead the Fighting Maroons to a second-place finish with a total 382 markers.
Buico ended her season in style after taking the gold in the 200-meter butterfly with 2:21.24, just a few ticks away from Chloe Daos' UAAP mark of 2:19.03 set in Season 82, and the silver in the 50-meter freestyle behind Isleta.
UP also put off the curtains in the 4x100m medley relay with a new UAAP record of 4:33.78 with swimmers Franz Joves, Mary Llorente, Leeyan Marbella, and Angela Villamil, taking down their predecessors' mark of 4:35.74 in 2014.
Dela Cruz' new national mark in the 200m breaststroke and her bronze in the 50m freestyle with 27.09 helped Ateneo complete the women's podium with 240 points.
UST ended in fourth place in the men's and women's divisions with 125 and 112 points, respectively.