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UST, La Salle jins lead the way

By Josiah Albelda Posted Sep 14th 2013

The University of Santo Tomas and De La Salle University are leading the way in the UAAP 76 Taekwondo competition.

(By Randolph Leongson)

Season 75 Most Valuable Player Christian Al dela Cruz kept University of Santo Tomas in step with De La Salle University to remain at the top of the standings at the UAAP Season 76 men’s taekwondo championships Wednesday at the San Juan Arena.

With the defending champion Growling Tigers leading three matches to two against the University of the Philippines, dela Cruz provided the finishing kick as he nailed four headshots to the Maroons’ Matthew Cordero in their welterweight division match to run away with a 13-2 victory.

“Gusto ko lang mag-champion ulit kami para makuha namin yung three-peat,” said dela Cruz, who is also a national team campaigner.

The middleweight/heavyweight bout between UST’s John Mendoza and UP’s Giulliano de Dios was waived off after referees barred de Dios to compete for his recently operated arm, giving UST a 5-2 record against UP to share the top spot with the Green Archers with an identical 4-0 record.

Tiger Jins assistant coach Gershon Bautista said, “The team is currently on a high morale given our standing, and this year, we believe that we have a very good chance to win again even though the competition is very tough.”

UST convincingly won its first match of the day, a 6-1 trumping against National University, while La Salle cruised to a couple of 6-1 victories over NU and Ateneo de Manila University behind Benjamin Keith Sembrano (lightweight) and Kristofer Robert Uy (middleweight/heavyweight).

In the women’s division, it’s basically the same story as current title-holders La Salle and last year’s runner-up UST still leads the standings, both unscathed after four fights.
The lady jins from Taft ran over Ateneo, 7-0, and escaped a very game FEU, 5-2, behind Alyssa Bonifacio (finweight) and Jyra Lizardo (lightweight), who are both undefeated this season.

“Our goal is to get up in the standings and they’re doing their job. That’s why we’re 4-0,” said La Salle coach Roberto “Kits” Cruz.

UST turned back Ateneo, 5-2, and UE, 4-3, in its games for the day, headlined by wins from Korina Paladin (finweight) and Nicole Abigail Cham (bantamweight).

“We’re hoping that this showing of our jins will continue, given that we have a positive standing at 4-0,” said coach Jasmin Simpao. “All of the athletes here have equal skills. The championship will just boil down on to who will step up in this tournament.”