La Salle tankers end long drought

Chloe Isleta clocked 30.07 seconds in the backstroke event for a new UAAP record and 26.49 seconds in the freestyle sprint. Photo courtesy of UAAP

De La Salle University banked on the superstar pair of Xiandi Chua and Chloe Isleta to quench a 19-year title drought after dominating the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 85 women’s swimming tournament at Teofilo Yldefonso Swimming Complex in Malate, Manila on Sunday.

The Lady Green Tankers collected 418 points to call themselves champions once again since winning it all in 2003 all thanks to the impressive showings of their prized swimmers.

Chua registered four new UAAP records on her way to collecting six gold medals and one silver on top of bagging the much-deserved Most Valuable Player award after closing her maiden run with 102 points.

Chua snagged gold in the 100m freestyle after setting a record of 57.48 seconds, she then set a new 200m individual medley UAAP standard of 2:20.33 shattering the 2:21.66 of Ateneo de Manila University’s Hannah Dato in 2014 for her second mint.

Chua also reset the 2014 record of Dato in 200m freestyle of 2:07.87 with a 2:06.73 clocking before breaking Dato’s 2015 400m IM record of 5:03.71 with a 5:00.45 finish.

She wrapped up her stint with a silver in the 200m breaststroke finishing in 2:39.43, behind the new Philippine record of 2:30.42 set by Ateneo de Manila University’s Thanya Dela Cruz.

“The team, we were all very proud; we were all crying tears of joy, and really cheering our hearts out. So, we all felt like our hard work for the past months really paid off… and we’re very happy,” Chua, who also won gold in 400m free, said.

Hanoi Southeast Asian Games gold medalist Isleta also made her one-and-done stint count, scooping two golds on the final day in the 50m backstroke and 50m freestyle.

Isleta clocked 30.07 seconds in the backstroke event for a new UAAP record and 26.49 seconds in the freestyle sprint.

She also set a new league record in her pet event 200m backstroke with 2:18.40 finish that bettered her prelims time of 2:22.66 as well in the 100m back of 1:04.13 faster than her 1:04.35 in the heats. Isleta also got gold in the 50m butterfly.

Rookie of the Year Camille Buico also made a rousing UAAP debut with 84 points to lead University of the Philippines to a second-place finish with 382 markers.

Buico took gold in the 200-meter butterfly to end her season.

The Fighting Maroons listed a new 4x100m medley relay UAAP record of 4:33.78 behind Franz Joves, Mary Llorente, Leeyan Marbella, and Angela Villamil, taking down their predecessors’ mark of 4:35.74 in 2014.

Dela Cruz’s new national mark in the 200m breaststroke and her bronze in the 50m freestyle helped Ateneo complete the women’s podium with 240 points.

Meanwhile, the Blue Eagles captured their seventh straight championship after collecting 411 points, a 37-point clearance from closest pursuer De La Salle University, which settled for a bride’s maid finish with 374 points.

Three UAAP collegiate division debutants led by eventual Most Valuable Player Philip Joaquin Santos led Ateneo to the men’s crown.

Santos closed his rookie season with silvers in the men’s 1500-meter freestyle in 16:57.72, just behind teammate and eventual Rookie of the Year Joshua Del Rio’s 16.49.61, and in the 200-meter butterfly with 2:10.03 — second to University of Santo Tomas’ Mervien Mirandilla’s 2:09.98.

Santos, the Season 82 Boys’ MVP, amassed 93 points ahead of fellow Ateneans Rafael Barreto (86 points) and Del Rio (64 points).

La Salle’s final day was highlighted by EJ Jayme’s gold-medal finish in the 200-meter breaststroke with 2:26.87.

UP closed the men’s competitions with a new UAAP record in the 4×100-m medley relay as swimmers Gian De Guzman, Pepi Mapa, Anton Dela Rosa, and Keane Ting erased the old mark set by the University of Santo Tomas quartet of Kevin Dagum, Jay Cabulit, Reynald Cullentas Jr., and Renz Gawidan in Season 82.

The Fighting Maroons rounded out the podium in the Men’s Division with 284 points.

UST ended in fourth place in the men’s and women’s divisions with 125 and 112 points, respectively.

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