MANILA—A send-off befitting one of University of Santo Tomas’ prized athletes.
Taekwondo jin Maria Camille Manalo, playing her last year as a Growling Tiger, bagged the Athlete of the Year award before a pool of dedicated athletes Saturday in grand closing ceremonies of the 73rd UAAP season held at the Araneta Coliseum in Cubao.
“I’m so thankful and blessed especially that this is my last year,” said Manalo, an education major, who was also crowned as the MVP of the taekwondo meet last October.
University of the East’s Sabrina Ingrid Illustra, meanwhile, was adjudged as the Athlete of the Year for the juniors’ division for her remarkable feat in girls swimming.
Manalo, also a member of the Philippine contingent that competed in the 2010 Guanzhou Asian Games, stamped her class in women’s taekwondo—earning three gold medals and two silvers—in all her five playing years in the UAAP.
It marked the second consecutive year that athletes from taekwondo and swimming won the prestigious individual accolade.
“I wasn't expecting to win (Athlete of the Year) because there are a lot of (good) athletes here,” said Manalo.
“All of our athletes are dedicated to each of our events, that’s why UST keeps on winning the overall championship,” Manalo added. “I’m very proud to be a part of UST’s 400 years.”
UST, celebrating its quadricentennial year, was also formally presented its 13th straight general championship in the seniors division after collecting 313 points on seven titles, 10 runner ups and five third place finishes this season.
The Tiger cubs also plucked their fifth straight overall award.
La Salle Dance Company-Street, meanwhile, dominated the inaugural Streetdance competition which was held during the closing ceremonies, with its hip urban-style routine to the tune of mixed hip-hop jams.
University of the Philippines StreetDance Club and the Ateneo Dancers came in at second and third place.