Aiming High: DLSU Judokas Show Spirit in Philippine National Games
Published on June 12th, 2014 | by Kim Leong
The UAAP Tournament may still be a few months away for the DLSU Judokas, but they are wasting no time in trying to get the feel of the mats yet again. They took on their latest tournament, the Philippine National Games’ Judo Tournament held last May 19-22, 2014, at the Makati Coliseum, with passion and determination reminiscing their history-making run last UAAP Season 76.
Hard Road Ahead
Coming of their excellent run during the UST Tiger’s Cup, the DLSU Lady Judokas showed just how far they can go with dedication and passion. However, their run in the Philippine National Games shined a spotlight on the loss of the senior members of the squad as well as the injured as the consequences finally took its toll on the team in the form of an unusual low medal haul.
Although perceived to have weakened, the DLSU Lady Judokas showed that their title defense is not as bleak as one might think as the team garnered two gold medals courtesy of Justine Pongase who stood as a proud victor over the +78kg of both the junior and the senior category and three bronze medals from Samantha Gaerlan’s -44kg run in the senior category, Freesia Heradez’s -52kg run in the junior category, and Kristine Espinas’ run in the open weight category.
Shot at Redemption
Contrary to the DLSU Lady Judokas’ situation, the Green Judokas showed that the loss of its senior members was not a concern. The players showed a far greater sense of discipline in the Philippine National Games as compared to their previous UAAP campaign, according to both Head Coach Samson Bernales and Former Assistant Coach Annie Pedroso.
Backing up both of their statements, the DLSU Green Judokas were able to haul a respectable amount of medals with both Fernando Cortes and Keith Reyes bagging a silver medal in the -100kg and +100kg division in the senior category respectively and a gold medal in the same weight division for their junior category run. Along with the medals of the two, Team Captain Mickey Regala was able to bring home a bronze and a gold from his -73kg run in the senior category and his open weight category run respectively followed by former Green Judoka now turned Assistant Coach Keith Ver’s bronze medal finish in the -66kg senior category and rookie Lloyd Abucayan’s dramatic bronze medal finish against fellow Green Judoka Chino Dela Rosa in the -90kg junior category.
Apart from the usual senior and junior category, the Philippine Judo Federation added a team category to this year’s event which both the DLSU Green and Lady Judokas took part in. the DLSU Lady Judokas, comprised of Freesia Heradez and Samantha Gaerlan for the -52kg division, UAAP Judo Tournament incumbent MVP Nicole More for the -57kg weight division, rookies Mia Baguisi and Charla Cabrera for the -63kg and -70kg division respectively, and Kristine Espinas and Justine Pongase for the +70kg division came out with bronze medals in hand after a three way tiebreaker with the UE Judo team and contingent from Baguio.
The DLSU Green Judokas comprised of Assistant Coach Keith Ver and Joshua Ebrada (-66kg weight category), Michael Borja and Nico Gosalvez (-73kg weight category), Kiel Batocabe and DLSHSI student Joshua Ver (-81kg weight category), Coach Samson Bernales and rookie Lloyd Abucayan (-90kg weight category), and Fernando Cortes and Keith Reyes (+90 weight category) on the other hand finished off their day winning the gold with the unexpected support of the other NCR-based universities (ADMU, UE, and UP-D) as they outlasted the contingent from Baguio.
Reacting on Coach Sam’s unexpected competitor status, Ver shares that it was truly a huge morale boost not only for the team, but also for Coach Sam who has long stopped competing in tournaments.