Another triumphant season for UST players

UNIVERSITY of Santo Tomas will formally receive its 44th collegiate general championship in the UAAP Season 82 virtual closing ceremonies at 4 p.m. today, its reward for emerging No. 1 again for the fourth straight time in a season rudely interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Growling Tigers  made it to the top once more with a golden double in beach volleyball, a sweep of the table tennis titles and a triumph in men's judo competitions.

In completing the title-romp, the UST-based Thomasians also pulled off five runner-up  and three  third-place finishes  in three events.

Cementing its status as the most successful sports program in the league, UST also emerged as the high school overall champions for a 21st time.  The Tiger Cubs have ruled the division in the last six seasons.

The closing rites, which will be aired at 4 p.m. on ABS-CBN Sports' online platforms, will also have the turnover of the hosting chores from Ateneo to La Salle and will feature performances by Iñigo Pascual, Ylona Garcia, Sponge Cola and Itchyworms.

The UAAP earlier announced that will be no team and individual Athlete of the Year in the collegiate and high school divisions this season - the first since the league has started giving out the highest individual athletic honor in 1996.

La Salle, UST's biggest threat in the collegiate general championship, won only once in this abbreviated season courtesy of its back-to-back poomsae champion team. The Green Archers had five second place trophies and six third place honors.

Highlighted by a perfect 16-0 run in men's basketball that completed a three-peat, Ateneo copped four titles.

The Blue Eagles also had a golden double in swimming and ruled women's badminton for the second year in a row.  Ateneo had five second place finishes and ended up third in four events.

With an unbeatable 96-0 record, National University extended its reign in the women's division to six years, and proved to be the newest taekwondo powerhouse by winning the men's and women's events. The Bustillos-based school also claimed its sixth consecutive men's badminton crown.

University of the East swept the fencing titles and annexed its first-ever women's judo crown.

Chess was Far Eastern University's domain as its men's and women's teams emerged victorious.

University of the Philippines and Adamson failed to win a title in the prematurely-ended season.

The cancelled second semester events were football, baseball, softball, 3x3 basketball, athletics and lawn tennis.

The super seniors student-athletes whose campaigns were cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic will get a much-deserved recognition by the league, while the athlete-scholars from the eight member schools will also be honored.