MANILA, Philippines – Ateneo reasserted its dominance in the UAAP Season 81 swimming competitions by sweeping the men's and women's crowns on Sunday, November 11, at the Rizal Memorial Swimming Pool.
Photo from UAAP release
Behind two-time Olympian Jessie Khing Lacuna, the Blue Eagles bested De La Salle and University of Santo Tomas with 475 points to extend their reign to 5 years for a sixth championship overall.
Lacuna won his seventh and final gold in the meet in his final collegiate swim in record-breaking fashion, clocking at 2 minutes and 2.69 seconds in the 200m butterfly, resetting the old mark of 2:03.93 he made in 2014.
In his 5 seasons in the league, Lacuna, who captured his fourth Most Valuable Player plum, bagged a total of 33 gold medals.
Ateneo, with reigning Athlete of the Year Chloe Daos leading the way, was also dominant in the distaff side. It stamped its class over University of the Philippines and De La Salle with a total of 530 points to make it two in a row in bagging its fifth title overall.
Daos, who emerged as MVP for second straight year, also completed a seven-gold sweep in the women's category, capping a banner campaign by topping the 200m butterfly with 2:21.42.
Season 79 MVP Aldo Batungbacal also capped his collegiate career by breaking a new league record in the lung-busting 1,500m freestyle with 16:35.33 that erased his own mark of 16:42.42 set last year.
He also shattered his own 200m breaststroke record with a time of 2:21.75, surpassing his 2:22.95 clocking in 2016.
Aki Cariño, Giancarlo Silva, Getty Reyes, and Jethro Chua have also set a new UAAP record in the 4x100-meter medley relay with 4:03.49 to eclipse the old mark of 4:03.86 registered two years ago.
The Green Tankers, who won two golds in the final day courtesy of Red Silvestre in the 50m backstroke (27.88) and 50m freestyle (24.35), wound up 2nd with 382 points, while the Growling Tigers have 180 points.
The other gold medalists from the Lady Eagles were Andrea Ngui, who clocked in 27.58 seconds in the 50m and the 4x100m medley relay team of Courtney Grey, Hannah Castañeda, Sarah Alvina and Suzanne Himor with 4:43.92.
The Lady Maroons, who won a gold in the 200m breastroke courtesy of Pricila Aquino (2:49.46) settled for 2nd place with 352 points, while the Lady Tankers from Taft made it to the podium with a 143 point-tally.
De La Salle's Sacho Ilustre and Ateneo's Dara Carreon were named Rookies of the Year in the men's and women's divisions, respectively.
On Saturday, Lacuna topped the 200m freestyle with 1:53.40 and struck gold in the 50m butterfly in 25.71 seconds, while Daos ruled the 200m freestyle clocking 2:10.53 and won the 50m butterfly event in 29.52 seconds.
Batungbacal clocked in 1:06.50 to snatch the gold in the men's 100-meter breaststroke.
Gray emerged victorious in the 100m backstroke with 1:08.79, while Raegan Gavino claimed the 400m individual medley gold with 5:22.18.
Ateneo quartet of Shaye Uy, Alliah Tan, Castañeda and Ngui took home the gold in 4x50m freestyle relay with 1:54.39.
De La Salle-Zobel, meanwhile, achieved a golden double in the juniors division, winning the boys' and girls' division championships.
Bright Akhuetie wins UAAP Player of the Week
So far, the arrival of Bright Akhuetie has paid massive dividends for the University of the Philippines.
Touted as a dominant force from his days with Perpetual in the NCAA, the Nigerian anchor's presence almost certainly assured the Fighting Maroons of a much-needed game changer on both ends of the floor in Season 81.
One thing is left on their to-do list, though, and that's to end a 21-year Final Four drought.
UP is still engaged in a dogfight with two other teams for a semifinals seat, and on Saturday, the six-foot-eight big man took it upon himself to make sure that they'll move on the cusp of reaching that goal.
A monster 25-point, 18-rebound double-double by this year's frontrunner for the MVP award seemed to do the trick for the Maroons as they finished with a flurry to kick UST out of contention, 83-69.
His outstanding performance rightfully earned him the Chooks-to-Go Collegiate Sports Press Corps UAAP Player of the Week award.
This citation may seem like it's been long overdue for Akhuetie, whose stellar play throughout the season has not gone unnoticed.
In 13 games, he's put up prolific averages of 19.1 points, 14.2 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.0 blocks while shooting a blistering 60.7 percent from the field.
He bested Far Eastern University's Arvin Tolentino and Kenneth Tuffin, National University's John Lloyd Clemente, Ateneo's Thirdy Ravena and Adamson University's Sean Manganti to nab the weekly feat given by online and print writers covering the beat.
NU now 12-0, FEU clinch semis berth
NU moved two wins away from an outright Finals berth, while FEU became the second semifinalist on Saturday, November 10, in the UAAP Season 81 women's basketball tournament at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Kaye Pingol topscored for 17 points, Ria Nabalan chipped in 16 points while reigning MVP Jack Danielle Animam had a double-double effort of 14 points and 13 rebounds as the Lady Bulldogs extended their perfect run to 12 games following an 89-59 rout of University of the East.
Clare Castro had 21 points and 10 boards while Fatima Quiapo and Valerie Mamaril teamed up for 29 points as the Lady Tamaraws downed winless UP, 80-66, to advance in the semis for the second straight season at 9-3.
Eyeing for its fifth straight crown, NU has stretched its record winning streak to 76.
The Lady Warriors and the Lady Maroons fell at 2-10 and 0-12 records, respectively.
FEU vs UP
FEU (80) – Castro 21, Quiapo 15, Mamaril 14, Bahuyan 7, Adriano 7, Vidal 6, Taguiam 5, Hortaleza 3, Payadon 2, Bastatas 0, Abat 0, Dugay 0, Antonio 0, Arenas 0, Rebleza 0.
UP (66) – Ordoveza 15, Amar 14, Cruz 12, Gonzales 10, Medina 9, Rodas 4, Larrosa 2, Ferrer 0, Rivera 0, De Guzman 0, Bascon 0, Hidalgo 0, De Leon 0.
Quarterscores: 21-17, 42-31, 60-54, 80-66.
NU vs UE
NU (89) – Pingol 17, Nabalan 16, Animam 14, Camelo 12, Itesi 11, Cac 5, Cacho 4, Ceño 3, Harada 3, Fabruada 2, Canuto 2, Del Carmen 0, Goto 0, Bartolo 0, Layug 0.
UE (59) – Cortizano 32, Requiron 10, Ganade 8, Pedregosa P. 6, Pedregosa A. 2, Ordas 1, Francisco 0, Nama 0, Borromeo 0, Fernandez 0, Strachan 0, Ebeza 0, Sales 0.
Quarterscores: 28-28, 55-37, 76-45, 89-59.
NU secures back-to-back golden double
Photo from UAAP release
NU had another golden double by ruling both divisions of the UAAP Season 81 taekwondo tournament on Friday, November 9, at the Blue Eagle Gym.
The Lady Bulldogs completed a perfect season, winning all 6 fights to annex their third consecutive crown.
After a stunning season-opening loss to Ateneo, NU won 5 in a row capped by a 4-3 win over La Salle in the final fight to become back-to-back men's champions.
Despite the graduation of twin sisters Rhezie and Rheza Aragon, the Lady Bulldogs were able to remain in the throne behind season MVP Angie Dayag and Rookie of the Year Veronica Garces, who won golds in the welterweight and finweight divisions, respectively.
Middle/heavyweight Aideleen Flores was the other gold medalist for NU, which has won 18 consecutive contests dating back from 2016.
"Malaking factor 'yung pagkawala nina ate kambal (the Aragons), kasi malaki 'yung naiaambag nila every season. Pero si sir Jeff (Figueroa) po, nag-double time kami sa training, talagang ibinuhos po namin 'yung training sa isang taon," said Dayag, who is on her third season with the Lady Bulldogs.
(The loss of the Aragon twins was a big factor because they always contribute a lot every season. But with sir Jeff Figueroa, we exerted double time in training and we really poured everything to training in one year.)
In the final fight, NU bested University of Santo Tomas in a duel of undefeated teams, 5-2, to remain on top. The Tigresses settled for 2nd place with a 5-1 card.
The 3-4 defeat to the Blue Eagles to open their title-retention drive was not the end of the world for the Bulldogs.
"Noong natalo po kami, nag-iyakan po kami. Pero 'yun ang naging wake-up call namin kaya bumawi kami sa mga ibang kalaban namin. Ibinuhos namin para mag-back-to-back kami," said Kurt Barbosa, who bagged the Rookie-MVP award to go with the finweight gold.
(When we lost, we all cried. But that was the wake up call for us that's why we made it up by beating our other opponents. We poured everything in order to go back-to-back.)
NU was actually tied with UST at 5-1, but the España-based squad was relegated to 2nd place after the Tigers lost to the Bulldogs, 1-6, in the second day of the tournament.
Raymond Caño was the other men's gold medalist for NU in the welterweight division.
Also winning the Rookie of the Year honors in their respective divisions are La Salle's Akila Gabrielle Boloto, who also snatched the women's lightweight gold, and Ateneo's Harley Santos, who topped the men's flyweight category.
Other gold medalists in the men's division are Ateneo's Aaron Agojo (bantamweight) and Paul Cham (featherweight), UST's Juan Miguel Ramos (lightweight), and La Salle's Alvaro Aranton (middle/heavyweight).
In the distaff side, Ateneo's Pauline Lopez (featherweight), La Salle's Lovely Jean Avanceña (finweight), University of the Philippines' Beatrice Gaerlan (bantamweight) also won golds.
UAAP Media cruises to 3rd win
Photo from UAAP release
UAAP Media streaked to its third straight victory with an 118-104 romp of season host National University Wednesday night, November 7, in the UAAP Season 81 Goodwill Games at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Guest players RK Ilagan, Allyn Bulanadi, and Anton Altamirano shone as the Chooks-to-Go-backed Scribes remained unbeaten.
Ilagan was scorching hot from deep, drilling 11 of his 17 three-pointers to lead the UAAP Media with 41 points, 8 assists, 4 steals, and 3 rebounds while fellow Golden Stag Bulanadi provided the muscle with his monstrous double-double effort of 30 points and 11 boards to go with 3 assists and 3 steals.
Altamirano added 8 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists in the winning effort.
Tiebreaker Times' Arnold Cagang was also solid for the Scribes with 25 points, while ESPN5's AJ Bolando and Rappler's Mix Gatpandan gave quality minutes, teaming up for 9 points.
UAAP Media also drew significant contributions from Spin.ph's Christian Jacinto and Randolph Leongson, Inquirer's Sherwin Vardeleon and Tristan Tamayo, ESPN5's Yo Sarmenta and Tiebreaker Times' Joaqui Flores.
Playing-team manager Mel Macasaquit of Chooks-to-Go also made his debut for the Scribes.
Isaac Lim paced the hosts (1-1) with 35 markers while Kevin De Castro added 21 points and 20 boards. Homer So and Julio Veloso contributed 19 and 13 points, respectively.
UAAP Media 118 – Ilagan 41, Bulanadi 30, Cagang 25, Altamirano 8, Bolando 5, Gatpandan 4, Macasaquit 3, Jacinto 2, Vardeleon 0, Tamayo 0, Sarmenta 0, Flores 0, Leongson 0.
NU 104 – Lim 35, De Castro 21, So 19, Veloso 13, De Mesa 8, Chua 4, Taclas 4.
Quarters: 30-26, 63-46, 83-75, 118-104.