Mixed results for Eagles in penultimate day of UAAP Taekwondo Championship

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The Ateneo Blue and Lady Eagles scored another turbulent run in Day 3 of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) Season 80 Taekwondo Championship on Thursday, November 16 at the Blue Eagle Gym in Quezon City.

The men’s team held on to play three heavy matches, garnering a single victory against the University of the East (UE), and dropping the next two against National University (NU) and the University of Santo Tomas (UST).

The women’s team split their results after defeating the UE Lady Warriors, but losing a heartbreaker against the defending champs, the NU Lady Bulldogs.

Blue Eagles

The Blue Eagles started the day against the UST Growling Tigers. Finweight Mark Macadangdang brawled with UST’s Carlos Miguel to open the match, but Miguel’s height and reach advantage gave the Tiger the win at 2-18.

The second match in the flyweight division had Blue Eagle Elijah Buencamino go face-to-face with Tiger Rene Suayao. The match was brought to sudden death after Buencamino caught up in the second round (6-6), but Buencamino fought hard to prevail in the golden point to knot the team-tie score (1-1).

Ateneo’s Paul Cham led a commanding fight in the third match against UST’s Lennard Perez and kept the first-round lead till the end, 13-5, to give the Blue and White the team-tie advantage (2-1).

The fourth match was a nightmare for Ateneo as UST featherweight Rhayzor Catris put the team-tie at another deadlock (2-2) after a dominating performance against Blue Eagle Francis Subido, 6-27.

UST pulled ahead in the team-tie in the fifth match as lightweight Leonell Garcia failed to find an effective rhythm against UST’s Aries Capispisan who controlled the match, 6-27.

Another torment in the sixth match played out between Ateneo’s Rafael Cosca and UST’s Isaiah Lorbes. The Tigers saw victory after a lopsided win, 4-47, to seal the team-tie at a (2-4) finish.

Despite the UST run, the Blue Eagles would not end the match on a bitter note as team captain Jeff Alejandro came back from a three-point deficit to defeat Tiger Cedric Perez, 7-4, ending the entire match at (3-4).

Next up against the Blue Eagles were the powerhouse NU Bulldogs. Mark Macadangdang couldn’t seem to land his attacks against the aggressiveness of NU’s Jean Nigel Buan in the first match, and eventually fell in the second round, 2-23.

The second match had Elijah Buencamino pitted against NU’s Noel Sabillano. The first round saw a close three-point advantage for Sabillano, but the second round saw the Bulldog abuse his reach advantage on the Eagle, 14-30, giving NU a two-point team-tie advantage (0-2).

Refusing to bring a third consecutive loss to his team, Blue Eagle Paul Cham stepped on the mat to face Bulldog Diether Baylon in an epic showdown that resulted in a deadlock, 9-9, bringing the match to the golden point. However, Baylon found a clean hit on the Eagle, tragically ending the third match in NU’s favor.

NU sealed the deal in the fourth match, riding the momentum they had built up in the last three bouts as Blue Eagle Francis Subido bowed out to the much stronger Bulldog Keno Mendoza, 4-32.

The fifth match saw more unfortunate beatdowns on Ateneo as Leonell Garcia went up against NU’s Raymond Cano, who bested the Blue and White with superior movements and combinations at 5-25. Blue Eagle Rafael Cosca then faced NU’s Arven Alcantara in the sixth match gap, coming out on top, 13-50.

The NU Bulldogs remained relentless even in the final match, with Blue Eagle Jeff Alejandro failing to gain some traction during his match against Bulldog Dave Cea, 1-16. The high-caliber NU Bulldogs swept the Blue Eagles in their second overall match (0-7), concluding the day of their men’s team without a single loss.

In a tough situation after losing twice in a row, the Blue Eagles were given an opportunity to win against an undermanned UE squad in their last match of the day.

Mark Macadangdang had a tough ending to the day’s campaign with a defeat from UE’s Clifford Syjico, who used his size to pummel Macadangdang in the first match, 8-29.

Elijah Buencamino fell short against Red Warrior Philip Pineda despite a one-point lead in the first round. Buencamino ran out of time later on to complete a comeback, and UE took the second match, 10-14.

With UE up by two points in the team-tie, Paul Cham looked to break the momentum of the opponents in the game against John Paul Canillo. Cham looked resilient on the mat and ended the match with a strong head kick to take the match, 30-9.

Unfortunately for the Red Warriors, the match ended due to a lack of players to fill the final four matches. Being undermanned, UE forfeited the rest of the match, granting Ateneo the team-tie at (5-2).

Lady Eagles

The Lady Eagles opened the day’s campaign with a match against a shorthanded UE Lady Warriors squad, who forfeited their second, fourth, and seventh matches due to a shortage of players.

The first match saw Lady Eagle stalwart Irene Bermejo square off against Lady Warrior Alejandra Dela Cruz, which ultimately ended with the referee’s punitive decision to give the match to Bermejo after a 16-16 finish, for Ateneo take the 1-0 lead.

Ateneo’s Camila Sta. Ana battled it out with UE’s Bessie Tamayo. The Lady Warrior put up a six-point burst in the second round to take over the Lady Eagle’s lead, and eventually win the match, 3-6. Despite the UE win, Ateneo still led 2-1.

In the fifth match, Arianne Agojo faced Lady Warrior Darlene Arpon, with the latter leading both rounds to defeat Agojo at 6-12 despite the Ateneo jin’s undying efforts to stay in the game. Ateneo remained ahead in the team-tie (3-2).

Lady Eagle Danielle Morales came out ahead against UE’s Carla Soreno in the sixth match, winning many of the exchanges in an aggressive second round to finish at 14-8.

Forfeits forced UE to surrender the team-tie as Ateneo took the entire match at (5-2).

The Ateneo Lady Eagles’ next opponent, the NU Lady Bulldogs, posed their biggest challenge in the tournament thus far.

Starting off the first match, Irene Bermejo came against NU’s Charisse Viray, who had an early seven-point advantage coming off the first round. However, Bermejo heroically landed perfectly-timed attacks to bring the match to sudden death, and eventually won the golden point with a body shot before a roaring crowd, 20-18, to give Ateneo the 1-0 lead.

The second match only filled the air with more intensity as Ateneo’s Noleen Lagnada struck a first-round deadlock at three points apiece with Lady Bulldog Rheza Aragon. Aragon, however, pulled far ahead in the second round, taking the match, 4-19, to level the team-tie (1-1).

After two strong-hearted rounds in the third match, Blue Eagle Camila Sta. Ana fell to her more agile adversary, Baby Caraval. Misplacing her kicks against a quicker opponent, Sta. Ana’s valiant rally ended in defeat at 7-22, which put Ateneo down in the team-tie (1-2).

Looking to level the playing field, Lady Eagle Pauline Lopez stepped on the mat to face NU’s Rhezie Aragon. After being behind in the first round, Lopez sparked an incredible 22-point second round, including a four-point spinning back round kick that landed cleanly on Aragon, 25-10. Lopez leveled the team-tie for Ateneo (2-2).

A carefully paced out fifth match between Eagle Arianne Agojo and Lady Bulldog Irish Razon saw a close first round with only a one-point difference in favor of NU. Razon’s defense could not be broken by Agojo despite the Lady Eagle being more aggressive in the second round, 6-8, as the team-tie lead shifted to NU, 2-3.

With the game on the line, the sixth match saw Ateneo’s Danielle Morales take on NU’s Angie Dayag. Morales took control of the match’s pace and connected a flurry of attacks on an exhausted Dayag to keep Ateneo alive, 18-4, balancing the team-tie (3-3).

The Ateneo-NU battle came right down to the wire with team-tie at three-all coming into the seventh match with Lady Eagle Gem Sandoval going against Lady Bulldog Nicole McCann to decide the match. The first round gave a sizable advantage to NU, but Sandoval continued to look for a pivoting point in the second round to try to push a comeback. However, Sandoval’s attempts were foreseen by McCann, who eventually broke the Lady Eagles’ hearts and took the final match, 9-19.

In the head-to-head match between the Lady Eagles and Lady Bulldogs, Ateneo fell just short against the defending champs, NU, in the team-tie (3-4).

When asked about the performance of the men’s team, Ateneo Head Coach Elmer Rafael responded, “We couldn't get a lot of wins, but we are targeting to get the medals, not the ranking.” On the other hand, Rafael said for the women’s team, “We have a good season this year, and we're expecting to be the first-runner up.”

As it stands, the Blue Eagles have a win-loss record of 1-3, while the Lady Eagles stand at 2-2. The Blue and Lady Eagles will be shelling out the remaining passion in their souls to go all out in the last day of the UAAP Taekwondo Championship on Friday, November 17 at the Blue Eagle Gym in Quezon City.

Team-Tie Scores

Blue Eagles

Ateneo 3 UST 4

Mark Macadangdang vs. Carlos Miguel: 2-18

Elijah Buencamino vs. Rene Suayao: 8-6 (Golden point)

Paul Cham vs. Lennard Perez: 13-7

Ferds Subido vs. Rhayzor Catris: 6-27

Leonell Andrew Garcia vs. Aries Capispisan: 6-27

Rafael Cosca vs. Isaiah Lorbes: 4-47

Jeff Alejandro vs. Cedric Perez: 7-4


Ateneo 0 NU 7

Mark Macadangdang vs. Jean Nigel Buan: 2-23

Elijah Buencamino vs. Noel Sabillano: 14-30

Paul Cham vs. Diether Baylon: 9-11 (Golden point)

Ferds Subido vs. Keno Mendoza: 4-32

Leonell Andrew Garcia vs. Raymond Cano: 5-25

Rafael Cosca vs. Arven Alcantara: 13-50

Jeff Alejandro vs. Dave Cea: 1-16


Ateneo 5 UE 2

Mark Macadangdang vs. Clifford Syjico: 8-29

Elijah Buencamino vs. Philip Pineda: 10-14

Paul Cham vs. Paul Canillo: 30-9

*UE forfeits matches 4, 5, 6, and 7

Lady Eagles

Ateneo 5 UE 2

Irene Bermejo vs. Alejandra Dela Cruz: 16-16 (Ateneo wins by referee’s punitive decision)

Camila Sta Ana vs. Bessie Tamayo : 3-6

Arianne Agojo vs. Darlene Arpon: 6-12

Danielle Morales vs. Carla Soreno: 7-5

*UE forfeits matches 2, 4, and 7


Ateneo 3 NU 4

Irene Bermejo vs. Charisse Viray: 20-18 (Golden point)

Noleen Laganda vs. Rheza Aragon: 4-19

Camila Sta Ana vs. Baby Caraval: 7-22

Pauline Lopez vs. Rhezie Aragon: 25-10

Arianne Agojo vs. Genicah De Laza: 6-8

Danielle Morales vs. Angie Dayag: 12-4

Gem Sandoval vs. Nicole McCann: 3-4


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