UAAP Season 81 athletics: UP male tracksters end 36-year title drought

ABS-CBN Sports on Dec 02, 2018 03:58 PM
UP male tracksters end 36-year title drought
University of the Philippines ended a 36-year title drought in the UAAP Season 81 men's athletics.

University of the Philippines needed a strong showing in the past two days to end a 36-year title drought in the men's division of the UAAP Season 81 athletics championships Sunday at the Philsports oval.       

Trailing by 39 points entering the midway point of the five-day competition, the Fighting Maroons banked on a 1-2-3 finish in the 400-meter hurdles, a podium sweep in the 800-meter run, and gold medals in the 4x100-meter relay and in the discus throw to seize the upperhand Saturday and never looked back.        

With 426 points, UP ended Far Eastern University's eight-year reign.  The Morayta-based squad had 262 points in second place, while University of the East finished third with 185 points.       

The Maroons thus claimed their 19th championship overall - and the first since 1981-82 season.               

In his fourth year with UP, coach Rio dela Cruz fulfilled the school's mission to become the kings of track and field once more.       

"Well, bago ako pumasok, yung pagpili ng head coach, eh isa ito sa ibinigay kong goal sa kanila na after siguro three to four years, yung ina-achieve namin, gusto namin maging champion," said dela Cruz, who is instrumental in reviving the once-dormant Maroons' athletics program. "We are very happy na natupad namin. Hindi ko ma-explain yung pakiramdam. Talagang iba itong achievement na ito."       

University of Santo Tomas ruled the women's division for the fifth straight year with 338 points to defeat FEU by only 11 points in a hotly-contested duel for the crown. UP tallied 203 points in third spot.     

University of the East's young long distance specialist James Darrel Orduna, who won golds in the 10,000-meter run, 3,000-meter steeplechase and 5,000-meter run to go with a 1,500-run bronze, was the men's rookie-MVP.     

UST's Louielyn Palmatian claimed the women's MVP honors for the third straight season after emerging victorious in the 800-meter and 400-meter run and in the 4×400-meter relay.  She bagged silver medals in 200-meter and 5,000-meter runs.       

In the juniors division, UE completed another championship double.       

UE had 383 points to achieve a six-peat in the boys side, besting UST and Adamson University in the process. Edgar Carrado of the Baby Falcons, who took the boys MVP plum after winning four golds and a silver.       

With 465 points, UE defeated National Uniand UST to annex the girls title for the fourth straight year. Abegail Manzano of the Bullpups was named the girls MVP after a four-gold, one-bronze haul. 

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