Photo and text by Mark Kevin Reginio

This year’s competition proved to be difficult for the University of the Philippines (UP) jins.

For the first time ever, the UP Poomsae team missed the podium finish as they finished fourth with two silvers and two bronzes in the UAAP Season 80 poomsae tournament, Tuesday, at the Ateneo Blue Eagle gym.

The Diliman-based squad has been in the top three since 2013 with a bronze, two silvers, and a gold, which they notched in 2014, but this season is a different story altogether.

With the men’s team division as their only chance for a podium finish, the trio of Lyan Llanto, Jayboy Buenavista and Juanito Sandoy Jr. fell short by a fraction of a point in their final performance accumulating 8.200 points to place second behind the 8.320 of the men’s team of De La Salle University (DLSU).

The Maroons’ poomsae men’s group was also not able to carry momentum to a first-spot finish in the semi-finals with 8.320 points.

“They did their best during the competition and I told [them] whatever place na nakuha natin this season we deserve it. Parang our opponents did also their best, so maybe they deserve that place,” UP head coach Janice Lagman-Lizardo said.

Bright spots for the Fighting Maroons were the bronze medals of Patricia Jubelag in the women’s individual competition and of the duo of Buenavista and Nikki Oliva in the mixed pair.

The women’s team, composed of Jubelag, Oliva and Aina Callos, grabbed the silver.

However, the 2-2 record of UP was still not enough to overcome the 1-1 tally of Far Eastern University as they notched a gold courtesy of the team performance of Faye Crisostomo, Gean Dela Cerna and Nicole Landrito, and a bronze from their male counterpart. The Tamaraw-jins took home the bronze.

“I know the players did their best, we did our best this year. Siguro factor na rin yung pagkawala ng captain (Dustin Mella) namin na super naging anchor ng team,” national team player and women’s team captain Oliva said.

Mella, the former captain of the jins, graduated this year and is now coaching the National University poomsae team.

Meanwhile, University of the Santo Tomas (UST) reclaimed the title with three golds all by the combined forces of national team players Jocel Ninobla and Rodolfo Reyes Jr., and a bronze in women’s team division to dethrone defending champions DLSU.

Coach Lagman-Lizardo, nonetheless, assured that they will bounce back come the next season. “We’re not going to stop training. So, hopefully next year we will be on the top,” she said.

The UP poomsae jins will still join the national team selection before the year ends.


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