The UST Lady Jins finish their season unblemished to win gold in the UAAP Season 86 women's kyorugi tournament at the Marikina Sports Center on Wednesday, Nov. 29. (Photo by Jana Francesca D. Yao/ The Varsitarian)

THE UST Lady Jins swept the UAAP Season 86 women’s kyorugi tournament to defend their title at the Marikina Sports Center in Marikina on Wednesday, Nov. 29.

UST finished with a league-best 5-0 win-loss record after surviving De la Salle University (4-3) and National University (4-3) on Day 2 of the tournament.

In their final game against NU, the Lady Jins fell into a 0-3 hole after Geraline Pit, team captain Abigail Valdez, and Geriane Pineda succumbed to Lady Bulldogs Clarence Sarza (4-10, 7-3, 0-12), Rajany Santos (3-6), and Veronica Garces (0-4, 1-4), respectively. 

However, the Lady Jins recovered by taking the next four matches to complete a reverse sweep for UST’s back-to-back crowns.

A 4-0, 5-0 win by Laizel Abucay over Lady Bulldog Sharifa Dela Cruz ignited UST’s reverse sweep before Lady Jin Realis Tabiando, Season 85 Rookie of the Year Reign Ragutana and Angel Lorbes made the finishing touches, crushing their NU foes. 

“‘Yung winning factor lang is ‘yung puso e…nagtiwala sila sa sarili nila,” UST head coach Christian de la Cruz told the Varsitarian. “Nakita niyo naman na first three players talo kami. Pero hindi bumigay ‘yung players four to seven namin.”

De la Cruz said the performance was expected from the Lady Jins as they were coming off an immaculate Season 85, where they dethroned the five-peat-seeking Lady Bulldogs. 

“In-expect naming tong back-to-back championships. May mga little struggles lang na hindi namin inaasahan,” De la Cruz said.

In the morning, the Lady Jins pounded DLSU, 4-3, to tally their first victory of the day.

Abucay was named this season’s Most Valuable Player. 

Abucay, Tabiando and Ragutana topped the featherweight, lightweight and welterweight divisions, respectively. Lorbes (middle/heavyweight) and Valdez (flyweight) each bagged silver medals, while Pit (finweight) and Pineda (bantamweight) reaped bronze medals.

UST has now won 12 women’s kyorugi titles, the most in the UAAP.