UNIVERSITY of Santo Tomas begins its title defense in the men’s division while Far Eastern University hopes to continue its reign in the women’s side as the UAAP taekwondo tournament kicks off on Tuesday at the Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan.
The Growling Tigers went undefeated in five matches in the eliminations last year to clinch their league all-time best 10th title overall.
“We strive hard to get all the titles every year, that’s our ultimate goal,” said longtime UST coach Dindo Simpao.
The Tigers are expected to face a stiff challenge once more from 2010 champions La Salle.
The three-day event will also feature the debut of tournament newcomer National University, which is reportedly fielding some former Palarong Pambansa standouts to boost the Bulldogs’ campaign.
The Lady Tamaraws, twice winners in the last three editions, are looking to prevent a big fightback by the Tigresses. The UST women’s squad is looking to improve on its fourth place, the team’s worst since the event was included in the program in 1994.
The Tigresses are the winningest women’s squad with 11 championships.
“We will try to get it back this year,” said Simpao.
The Tiger Cubs, meanwhile, are gunning for a third straight crown in the juniors division.
UST is also staking its title in the poomsae event, which was introduced as a demonstration event last year.
Season 75 has already produced three champions last weekend, with UST winning the women’s beach volleyball title, NU the men’s beach volleyball and Ateneo the women’s badminton crown.
Competition in swimming and table tennis is set to begin later this month, while judo opens early next month.