UNIVERSITY of Santo Tomas and De La Salle stayed on track to retaining their respective titles as they remained unbeaten in the UAAP Season 76 taekwondo tournament at the FilOil Flying V Arena in San Juan.
The Growling Tigers, seeking a third straight title this season, whipped University of the Philippines, 5-2, to pace the men’s side with a perfect 4-0 (win-loss) record along with De La Salle.
The Lady Archers, meanwhile, beat Far Eastern University, 6-1, to likewise hike their slate to 4-0, and boost their bid for a second straight title in the distaff side.
UST star jin Christian Al Dela Cruz expressed confidence the Espana-based school will be able to retain its title at the end of the tournament.
“Nag-ensayo kaming mabuti para dito at naghirap,” said Dela Cruz, the Season 75 Athlete of the Year. “Di namin ibibigay ang title sa iba at lalampasan namin ang six-peat championship namin dati.”
The Growling Tigers won six straight taekwondo titles from Seasons 67 to 72 before being dethroned by La Salle the following year. They regained the crown in Season 74 and are bent on keeping the championship in Espana.
UP meanwhile, fell to 3-1 overall following the loss to UST.
“Masakit lang na natalo kami sa UST kasi naka-set na sa mga utak namin na hindi kami magpapatalo kahit kaninong team,” said Karlo Ngitngit, team captain of the Fighting Maroons.
“Hindi pa naman huli din. May last day pa.”
Lurking behind UST, La Salle, and UP are Ateneo and University of the East with identical 1-3 record, leaving National University and Far Eastern University as the only winless teams.
Menwhile, the Lady Growling Tigers also kept pace with the Lady Archers on top of the women’s standings with a 4-0 (win-loss) card.
UST coach Dindo Simpao believes his team will take home the three titles at stake in the sparring event.
“We’ve prepared well for this. I believe we’ll take home the three titles,” said Simpao of the Lady Growling Tigers, the former four-peat champions.
Behind UST and La Salle is UP at 3-1, while FEU sports an even 2-2 record, followed by Ateneo, NU, and UE.
Action in the junior boys start on September 18, the same day poomsae makes its UAAP debut after being approved to become an official event of the league this season.
Final day of the taekwondo events is set on September 25.