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UE crowned overall fencing champion in UAAP


University of the East (UE) had another fruitful campaign in the Universities Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) this year, winning the fencing competition held from Feb. 8-11 at the Philippine Sports Commission Fencing Center in Philsports, Pasig City.

For the sixth consecutive year, the UE fencers topped the men’s, women’s, boys and girls divisions.

Southeast Asian Games (SEAG) medalist Wilhelmina Lozada earned the Most Valuable Player (MVP) honor for leading the women’s team to its 11th straight title. The team bagged five gold and two silver medals.

“I am grateful that I have achieved the MVP award because I’ve been aiming this award for this season,” said the 21-year-old athlete from Quezon City, in an interview on Monday.

The 5-foot-3 Lozada is a member of the women’s foil team (Keren Pangilinan, Justine Gail Tinio and Anna Gabriel Estimada) that won the bronze medal in the 2015 SEA Games in Singapore.

Lozada, who learned fencing at the age of 10, has played her last season with UE, where she is a senior tourism management student. “Thank you for the support and trust that you’ve given me. UE kahit saan, laging palaban,” was Lozada’s message to her teammates.

The men’s team, led by MVP Samuel Tranquilan, bagged its sixth title after winning three golds, three silvers and two bronzes.

In the juniors category, the girls team pocketed six golds and two silvers to claim its seventh straight title while the boys team took three golds and two silvers to clinch its eighth consecutive title.

UE’s brilliant showing in the UAAP can be attributed to the grassroots program of Roland Canlas, a former national athlete who also serves as coach of the national team.

“Bago ako nag-retire as a player, nagkaroon kami ng grassroots program na sinunod until now. Besides, our goal is beyond UAAP, it is Olympic qualification,” Canlas said in an interview with Radyo Pilipinas 2 on Sunday.

Other coaches in the UE fencing team are Chester Uy, Rulfelrino Endriano, Christian Canlas and Alex Ragot.

Meanwhile, Canlas said the Philippines will send teams to the Asian Juniors Championships in Dubai (Feb. 20-25) and the World Junior Championships in Italy in April, a qualifying tournament for the Youth Olympic Games to be held in Buenos Aires, Argentina from Oct. 6-18.

According to an article posted on the UE Facebook page, the fencers joined two tournaments last month in preparation for the UAAP.

They won 15 medals (four golds, five silvers and six bronzes) in the 2018 Philippine National Cadet and Junior Fencing Championships held at the PSC Fencing Center on Jan. 20-21.

They also pocketed nine gold medals in the 5th Xavier School Fencing Cup from Jan. 27-28 at the Xaxier School’s Father Cortina Gymnasium in San Juan City. (PNA)