February 9, 2023

Brazilian jiu jitsu practitioners from Baguio and Benguet overwhelmed their opponents, as they clinched 20 gold, 12 silver, and 11 bronze medals in the 2022 Pan Asian Gi and No Gi Juniors and Masters International Open in Makati on weekend.

Mat Zone Jiu Jitsu’s blue belt Aithana Caranto, 25, led medalists with four gold medals in gi, no gi, and open weight gi and no gi to power her team under Guillermo Geronimo for a total of 12-7-1 medal haul.

Grit and determination inspired Caranto in outclassing Team Fabricio’s heavyweight Kat Saldajeno and Atos’ Kristina Rodis, who have recently joined the Philippine National Team BJJ selection trials in May.

Her teammate, white belt Joanne Bognadon, 26, won three golds in gi, no gi, and open no gi, while blue belt Ezra Malanos, 22, won one gold and one silver. She also executed the fastest submission via armbar in nine seconds during her gold medal gi match.

Bognadon repeated her performance on the second with an 18-second armbar submission in the no gi match.

Three more Mat Zone JJ athletes, blue belt Wilbert Pinkihan, 30, won one gold and three silver medals while white belt Aira Jade Albon, 20; and white belt Faisal Abdulqader, 16, won one gold apiece. Pinkihan has used an armbar trap consistently throughout his matches.

White belt Jared Tabao, 15, won a silver and a bronze for the team.

Overall, Mat Zone JJ, which is affiliated with Clube de Jiu Jitsu Filipinas, had  the most medals won among local teams.

Ronin Brazilian JJ-La Trinidad athletes under Morison Jose won eight gold, four silver, and nine bronze medals with blue belt Gregorio Antonio Abalos III, 21, winning two gold medals in gi and no gi and another bronze medal in the open gi.

White belt Ashley Rose Diong-an, 17, bagged two gold medals in gi and no gi while blue belt Marshal Caw-is, 29, won one gold in no gi and two silver medals in open gi and gi with white belters Axel Rhos Danao, 29; and Daryl Marcelino Pilyong, 22, winning one gold and one silver apiece.

Caw-is, a long-time jiujitero, missed the gold medal match in the open weight in no gi due to a shoulder injury.

White belt Paul Sherwood Basongit, 31, clinched one gold and one bronze while teammate white belt Jezebelle Padtoc won a silver and two bronze medals.

The bronze medalists from the team were Al Victor Nasingao with two medals, Rodney Magnus, Luigi Abellon, Carl Joshua Lalwet, and Shalom Lorenz Guerrero.

The Baguio BJJ under coach Gibran Langbayan, the first Igorot jiu jitsu blackbelt, won one gold courtesy of white belt Chad Mayos, who had a stellar performance in the no gi matches.

Mayos is also a member of the famed Team Lakay. – Harley F. Palangchao