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UP judokas win first UAAP title in 16 years

MANILA, Philippines -- For the first time in 16 years, the UP Fighting Maroons took home the gold in men's judo.

The UP men's judo team broke the five-season reign of the UST Tiger Judokas, who settled for silver this time around.

UP raked in five golds, three silvers and four bronzes.

Former UST high school standout Fierre Afan and Edward Figueroa brought home the gold and silver medals in the -73 kilogram division.

Hyejun Lee (-55 kilogram,) Sean Panganiban (-60 kilogram,) Zarchie Garay (-90 kilogram) and Jayvee Ferrer (-81 kilogram) were the other gold medalists for UP.

Ferrer was named the MVP of the tournament, while Afan is the Rookie of the Year.

UP head coach Edgar Ordillas underscored the team's trust in the process.

"We held on to that [trusting the process]. We instilled that to everyone, that we have to be faithful on what we are doing," Ordillas said in Filipino.

"It has been seven, eight years since I handled the team. But it was 16 years in the making. We do not have any choice but to trust the process," added the coach, who was part of that last UP championship squad in Season 70.

UST, meanwhile, scooped up two gold medals, four silver medals and four bronze medals.

Ryan Benavidez (-66 kilogram) and Chino Sy (-100 kilogram) were the only Tiger Judokas who were able to grab gold medals for UST.

The La Salle Green Judokas completed the podium as they copped a gold medal courtesy of George Baclagan, who dominated the +100 kilogram division.

Aside from the gold, they were able to grab a silver medal and four bronze medals.

Meanwhile, the UE Lady Warriors brought home their third straight judo championship.

The team was able to garner four gold medals, a silver medal and six bronze medals.

Coming in second are the UST Tiger Judokas, which grabbed two gold medals, three silver medals and six bronzes.

Ateneo came in third with a gold medal and three silver medals.

Lady Warrior Joemarie Rafael was named the MVP of women's play, while UST's Felice Barbuco is the Rookie of the Year.

The Espana-based Junior Judokas reigned supreme in boys' judo play, while UE asserted its mastery in girls' division.