UP UP celebrates its return to the UAAP men’s judo throne after 16 years. UAAP photo

Maroons snap 16-year UAAP judo title drought

December 3, 2023 Theodore P. Jurado 211 views

UNIVERSITY of the Philippines snapped a 16-year long title drought in the men’s division, while University of the East completed a three-peat in the women’s side at the end of the UAAP judo tournament Friday at the Marikina Sports Center.

The Fighting Maroons used a strong final day to finish with 48 points on a 5-3-4 gold-silver-bronze medal haul for a fifth title overall.

“In-instill lang sa isa’t isa na maging faithful lang sa ginagawa at huwag titigil, kasi kapag tumigil ka, doon ka lang matatalo,” said coach Edgar Ordillas, who was part of the team that won the last UP championship in 2007.

“It has been seven, eight years nung hinawakan ko ‘yung team, but it was 16 years in the making. Wala kang ibang choice kundi pagkatiwalaan ‘yung proseso,” he added.

The Diliman-based judokas defeated University of Santo Tomas, which placed second with 30 points (2-4-4) and La Salle, which has 14 points (1-4-4) in third place.

Jayvee Ferrer, one of the Fighting Maroons’ Athlete Scholars last season, annexed the MVP award with an impressive golden run in the half-middleweight (under 81 kg), while World Grappling champion Fierre Afan, who ruled the lightweight (under 73 kg), bagged the Rookie of the Year award.

The Lady Warriors continued their dominance with 37 points on a 4-1-6 haul.

Coach Rodimple Rodriguez was happy to see UE’s hard work to remain on top paid off.

“Sobrang saya kasi yung iba sa kanila, nag-graduate na, bumalik, nag-masters na. Sabi nga nila, hindi pa tapos yung laban nila sabi nila ipapa-three-peat pa raw nila. Ibibigay raw nila sa akin yung three-peat, and siguro ang masasabi ko lang din doon is kapag pinakita mo sa mga bata yung care mo, kapag naramdaman nila ‘yun, hindi mo na kailangang hilingin sa kanila ‘yung championship eh, ibibigay na lang nila sa iyo,” said Rodriguez.

Joemari-Heart Rafael, who conquered the half-lightweight (under 52 kg) division, won the back-to-back MVP.

UST placed second with 22 points (2-3-6), while Ateneo reached the podium with 16 points (1-3-0).

The Rookie of the Year honors went to UST middleweight Felice Barbuco.