UNIVERSITY of Santo Tomas taekwondo jins Christian Al dela Cruz and Juan Miguel Ramos join Adamson softball star Michelle Lentija as co-recipients of the Athlete of the Year award in Season 75 of the UAAP, which formally comes to a close Saturday at the SM City North EDSA Skydome.
Other than the three top student-athletes, also to be honored during the ceremony that starts at 12 noon are newly-minted seniors division general champion La Salle and juniors overall title holder University of Santo Tomas.
The Green Archers ended the amazing 14-year reign of the Growling Tigers, highlighted by the remarkable ‘three-peat’ achieved by their women’s volleyball team.
Besides awarding and recognizing the outstanding performers of Season 75, the closing rites will also be highlighted by the third edition of the streetdance competition, where the La Salle Dance Company Street is the defending champion.
Outgoing president Nilo Ocampo of host National University leads the closing ceremonies and will turn over the UAAP flag symbolic of the general host of next season to Adamson’s Fr. Max Rendon.
During the 16th ASEAN University Games in Vientiane, Laos last year, Dela Cruz needed a strong third round showing to defeat Pham Huu Son of Vietnam, 8-4, to snatch the gold in the men’s welterweight division.
Dela Cruz, also the Season 75 MVP, led the Tigers to a record 11th men’s taekwondo title.
A member of Team Manila that won the 2012 Big League Softball World Series in Kalamazoo, Michigan, Lentija, playing as third baseman, starred in the title-clinching 14-2 victory over West Chester, California.
Aside from completing one of the most inspiring stories in Philippine sports last year, Lentija played superbly in helping the Lady Falcons achieve another perfect season in the UAAP, going 34-0 in a span of three years and winning the tournament MVP, Most Home runs, and Best Slugger awards.
Ramos, the Season MVP who led the Tiger Cubs for a fourth consecutive juniors championship, was one of the young Filipino jins who competed in the 7th Korea Open taekwondo championships in Gyeongju, South Korea last year.
La Salle booked its first-ever UAAP overall championship since joining the league in 1986 by garnering 293 points against the 277 of runner up UST.
Ateneo totaled 205 points for third place, its best finish ever after also ending up at third in 2005.
With 220 points, UST copped the juniors general crown by beating University of the East (216).
Meanwhile, the La Salle Dance Company Street hopes to score a treble as it defends its title on Saturday.
The Taft-based streetdancers tallied 88.9 points to win the top prize of P75,000 last year. They beat UP Street (86.4) and Company of Ateneo Dancers (84.6).