THE UNIVERSITY has finally reclaimed the general championship crown against defending champion De La Salle University. And for the first time in two years, it was not a tight race.
Backed by a strong second-semester finish, UST, which hosted the UAAP wars anew after 10 years, notched its 41st overall crown with a margin of 49 points as of press time, dethroning La Salle, 292-243, which won by a mere two points last year.
Even with four events still in play, namely women’s and men’s volleyball and women’s and men’s football, UST already tallied seven gold, nine silver and two bronze medals this year. The Golden and Lady Booters both are in hunt for a finals slot.
Unlike in the past years when UST’s second semester sports teams have not performed well as its first semester sports teams, this season proved to be different.
The Golden Sox and the Male Tennisters, who both finished fifth last season, went on their separate Cinderella runs to the finals. The Golden Sox ran out of steam in a classic five-hour Game 2, while the Male Tennisters surrendered to the University of the East, winning its first men’s tennis championship.
After suffering their worst finish last year since the Final Four era began in 1993, the Tiger Spikers bounced back to fourth place from seventh, while the Golden Tigresses ended their four-year semifinals drought and landed third.
The Lady Tracksters, who won their third straight title, were the only second semester squad to notch a gold medal, while their male counterparts took home silver for the second consecutive year. The UST women’s tennis team also took home silver, bowing down to four–time champions National University,
Primed to end Adamson University’s then-six-year reign in UAAP softball, the Tiger Softbelles lost ace pitcher Anne Antolihao to a knee injury at the beginning of the finals, falling short of the crown in back-to-back seasons.
The Tiger and Lady Fencers both clinched podium finishes, grabbing second and third places, respectively. The Tiger Fencers maintained their position and lost to perennial champions UE, while the Lady Fencers, led by a spirited team captain Maylene Pailma, sneaked in to third place.
It was a contrasting season for UST’s chess teams as the Male Woodpushers, who won silver last year, dropped to fourth while the Female Woodpushers stepped up a notch to fourth place.
“Actually, noong [katapusan ng] first semester, tinatarget ng UST na makuha ang general championship since tayo ang hosts. Gusto talaga ng community na maibalik ang general championship,” UST athletics moderator Rodrigo Sambuang told the Varsitarian.