THE POOMSAE mixed pair of Rodolfo Reyes and Jocel Ninobla handed Team UAAP-Philippines its first gold medal in the 17th Asean University Games in Palembang, Indonesia, yesterday.
Reyes and Ninobla, both standouts of the University of Santo Tomas (UST), defeated their foes from Thailand and Indonesia to top their event.
Incheon Asian Games bronze medalist Benjamin Keith Sembrano settled for silver in the Men’s Under 68kg taekwondo event after bowing to the Laosian jin in the finals.
The Filipino jins also won three bronze medals, courtesy of De La Salle University’s Rico Mella in the male individual poomsae, Far Eastern University’s (FEU) Juvenile Crisostomo in the women’s individual poomsae, and FEU’s Leanarda Landrito, Crisostomo, and UST’s Ninobla in women’s team poomsae.
Only the men’s team poomsae failed to land a podium finish.
Indonesia, meanwhile, spoiled Team UAAP-PH’s bid for a second straight victory in the women’s volleyball event.
The Indonesians beat the Filipina spikers, represented by standouts from UAAP champion Ateneo de Manila University, 26-28, 25-16, 25-19, and 25-23.
The Ateneans won their opener against Malaysia, 25-21, 18-25, 25-15, and 25-8 last Monday. They fell to a 1-1 record.
After a one-day rest on Thursday, the volleybelles will take on Thailand on Friday and then wrap up their preliminary assignments against Singapore on Saturday.
Aside from the women’s volleyball and taekwondo, the 86-man Team UAAP-PH will also compete in swimming, athletics, and table tennis.
The Filipino student-athletes finished in seventh place in the 2012 edition of the biennial tournament organized by the ASEAN University Sports Council. They collected two golds, 12 silvers, and 16 bronzes two years ago.
Team UAAP-PH’s gold medals came from taekwondo jins Christian Al dela Cruz and Ernest John Mendoza, both of whom starred for UST.
Malaysia claimed the overall title in 2012, with a 60-45-70 haul, followed by Vietnam (56-35-28) and 2010 champion Thailand (42-51-55).
Indonesia wound up fourth (41-52-57) followed by hosts Laos (30-34-44) and Singapore (3-6-23).
Since the inauguration of the AUG in 1981, Indonesia has emerged as overall champion for a record 10 times, followed by Thailand (three), Malaysia (two), and Vietnam (one).
National University’s Nilo Ocampo is the delegation’s chef de mission along with Ateneo’s Em Fernandez, Timmy Sto. Tomas, and Joselito Urian.