By Emil Karlo A. dela Cruz
THEY ARE definitely on a league of their own.
More than spewing fire on the UAAP mat, the UST Lady Jins kicked their way to an impressive finish in the 2007 Petron National All-Womens’ Taekwondo Championship last May 20 at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum.
Unfazed amidst strong opposition from members of the RP juniors team and UAAP rival schools, the “four-peat” champion Lady Jins bagged five golds, one silver, and five bronzes to reaffirm their billing as tournament heavyweights in the day-long event.
“My wards did well in the tournament as a team,” said coach Dindo Simpao. “Despite failing to sweep golds in all divisions, I am still happy with the way they fought against the best in the country.”
Two-time UAAP MVP Esther Marie Singson, who recently regained her slot in the national pool, led UST’s gold-medal expedition alongside Season 69 Rookie of the Year Camille Manalo, Kathleen Valenzuela, Sarah Joy Arellano and newcomer Emron Mae Golding.
Armed with veteran smarts, the 2005 Southeast Asian Games gold medalist Singson, clinched the bantamweight gold with a 2-1 squeeker over Avegail De Dios of FEU thanks to well-timed, last-minute roundhouse kick that sent the UST contingent in a frenzy.
Singson’s brilliant performance rubbed on Manalo, who later disposed of fellow Thomasian Izel Masungsong in their down-the-wire welterweight finals clash to bag the Lady Jins’ second gold. Masungsong’s brave showing rendered UST its lone silver in the competition.
Valenzuela followed Singson and Manalo to the gold-medal podium with a clinical 7-0 drubbing of RP juniors team standout Sheena Mae Perlas in their featherweight finals encounter.
Prior to reaching the finals, Valenzuela carved a 6-2 semifinal win over her first RP juniors team victim, Trixia Legunzad.
Like Valenzuela, Arellano also whipped another RP juniors team mainstay, Karla Jane Alava, to emerge victorious in the flyweight division.
Meanwhile, UST also earned valuable contributions from Season 69 MVP Ma. Reinee Rose Arca (middleweight), Aphrodite Brillantes (lightweight), Czarina Cabuco (flyweight) Jade Zafra and Florida Bianca Zita (bantamweight), who notched a bronze medal each to wrap the Lady Jins’ campaign on a bright note.
in the UAAP, the UST Lady Jins have outdone themselves once again, this time in the Petron All Women’s Taekwondo Championship last May 20 at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum.
The Lady Jins kicked their way to an impressive finish in the tournament, besting members of the RP Juniors team as well as UAAP rival schools, harvesting 5 gold, 1 silver and 5 bronzes.
“My wards did good in the tournament as a team,” said coach Dindo Simpao. “However, I expected them to sweep gold in all divisions; I know they can do it with their talents.” he added.
Season 69 gold medalist Kathleen Valenzuela paved the way for UST’s medal rush, after dominating her opponents in the featherweight division. In the semis, Valenzuela prevailed against an aggressive Trixia Legunzad from the RP Junior’s team with a total score of 6-2, to capture a spot in the finals wherein she faced her second RP Junior’s team opponent Perlas Sheena Mae.
The tough jin’s kicking combo prove too much for Perlas, who countered with kicks to the side but to no avail, as Valenzuela simply refused to give her opponent an opening, whitewashing Perlas with a 7-0 victory and bagging the gold.
Valenzuela’s outstanding performance went well with Rookie of the year Camille Manalo’s feat on the welterweight mat. Manalo conquered semis opponent Karen Ong from FEU with a 3-0 score and locked horns later on with fellow Lady Jin teammate Izel Masungsong for the welterweight-gold.
Manalo overpowered Masungsong in their down-the-wire bout and joined Valenzuela in the gold medal podium. Masungsong settled for the bridesmaid finish.
Southeast Asian Games Esther Marie Singson barely escapes with the bantamweight gold after a nail-biter finals tussle against Avegail De Dios of FEU. Singson landed a pivotal roundhouse kick on De Dios during the last minutes of the third round. The well-placed kick secured Singson the win with a close score of 2-1.
Adding to the gold were newcomer Emron Mae Golding and Sarah Joy Arellano, whose swift kicks and strong defense spelled victory against fierce opponent Karla Jane Alava from RP Juniors team.
On the other hand, the Lady Jins also earned valuable contributions from Aphrodite Brillantes (Lightweight), Jade Zafra (Bantamweight), Florida Bianca Zita (Bantamweight), Czarina Cabuco (Flyweight) and Season 69 MVP Ma. Reinee Rose Arca, who chalked out a bronze each that added to the wealthy medal count.
Meanwhile, Coach Josephine Stracthan, who helped mentor the Lady Jins during the tournament, stated that things are looking bright for the Espana-based Kickers. “I was impressed with how good they fared in the event,” said Strachan.
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