UNIVERSITY of Santo Tomas (UST) clawed to winning form in the year of the Metal Tiger as collegiate sports powerhouse Tigers ruled the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) at the close of Season 72.

UST banked on seven crowns in 28 events to secure their 12th straight and 37th overall championship in today’s most prestigious league.

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The Tigers swept the men’s and women’s volleyball tournaments, men’s badminton, men’s taekwondo, men’s beach volleyball, men’s tennis, and softball.

UST also scored runner-up finishes in finishes in men’s and women’s table tennis, men's and women's judo, women's taekwondo, women's tennis, women’s fencing, women’s athletics and men’s and women’s football. Completing the school’s triumph are third place honors in men’ swimming and men’s chess.

Season 73 host De La Salle University (DLSU) was a far second with 252 points, courtesy of wins in women’s badminton, men’s swimming, women’s tennis and women’s football, as well as runner-up finishes in men’s badminton, men’s taekwondo, women’s volleyball and men’s tennis.

Last year’s runner-up Far Eastern University (FEU) slipped to third place with 229 points, snaring men’s and women’s table tennis, women’s taekwondo, men’s and women’s chess, women’s athletics and men’s football.

The rankings boosted the morale of UST and DLSU as both schools will be celebrating separate milestones next year. The Espana-based squad will enter its 400th year while the Taft-based team will celebrate its centennial.

Trailing FEU was Ateneo de Manila, which lost its bid to win the overall crown in time for the school’s sesquicentennial (150th) year. Ateneo collected 222 points, highlighted by a second back-to-back men’s basketball crown and men’s judo.

University of the Philippines (UP) meanwhile suffered its worst ranking in the past decade after dropping to fifth this year with 219 points. Usually finishing in the top three, the state university athletes ruled women’s swimming and women’s judo.

Coming in at sixth place is Recto-based squad University of the East (UE), which ruled anew the men’s and women’s fencing, men’s athletics plus men’s judo to end with 172 points. Adamson University (AdU) meanwhile took women’s basketball, women’s beach volleyball and baseball to finish the season with 101 points.

National University (NU) was again the season’s cellar-dweller with only 45 points, following from its runner-up win in baseball.

In Juniors play, UST romped off with the title after amassing 133 points, followed by Ateneo with 119 points and UE with 106 points.

UST notched wins in taekwondo, girl’s swimming and girl’s volleyball plus runner-up finishes in table tennis, swimming, and boy’s volleyball. Ateneo meanwhile ruled basketball, judo, swimming, football, and fencing.

De La Salle-Zobel was fourth with 72 points, UP Integrated School tallied 64 points for fifth place, and FEU-FERN was seventh with 46 points. Adamson and NU meanwhile duplicated anew the rankings of their senior counterparts after finishing seventh (35 points) and eighth (28 points) respectively.

The UAAP gives 15 points to the event champion, 12 points to the second placer, 10 points for the third placer, eight points (fourth), six points (fifth), four points (seventh) and one point (eighth). (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)