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JIU-JITSU GOLD RUSH

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By Robert Balajadia

Scotty Eclavea (GTT) was able to get the back of TJ Francisco (CG) during their Purple belt absolute showdown but Francisco did enough to win that bolstered him into a semi-finals match with eventual champ Ed Santos. (photo by Andre Gadia)

The 2012 Copa De Marianas Jiu-Jitsu Tournament rolled its way to the FD Phoenix Center in Mangilao Saturday as hundreds of competitors displayed their skills in hopes of bringing home some hardware. With the 2012 Olympics over, the rush for gold on Guam was still proven at an all-time high.

The purple belt division featured the highest ranked rollers in the tournament as Nate and Ed Santos (VB) worked their way from the bottom of the brackets to the top as Ed ended up winning gold. Nate nearly faced elimination in the first round against Chad Ada (P4) as they went into sudden death. Santos managed to pull off a reversal, flipping Ada over to capture the win.

Kyle “Boom” Reyes got off to a hot start submitting Richard Enriquez (P4) only to follow it up with a victory over Jesse “Pumpy” Manglona (CG). Reyes and Nate Santos met up in the semifinals as Santos managed to advance.

The blue belt division was highlighted in the 131-145 division featuring a final match between Dexter Balajadia (Universal Alliance) and Kevin Cruz (Carlson Gracie). Cruz pushed Balajadia to the limit edging him on the score card but Balajadia was able to pull off one of the most exciting chokes in the tournament stealing gold with a “bow and arrow choke.”

“It took the last strength out of me. I had to give it everything I had. [Kev] knows me and I know his game plan so I had to dig deep in order to pull a move like that off,” stated Balajadia on his emphatic win.

Trevor Neilson (GTT) showing the fans how to control an arm bar from the bottom against Jeremy Toves (S22) in the 131-145 Blue belt division. (photo by Andre Gadia)

The kids of 14 years or younger kicked off the morning competition as the White belts took over the afternoon with impressive gold medal victories from Jeffrey Mesa (Spike 22) and Richard Camacho (Com Quest). The Women’s division was held in absolute as Jayronne Gamboli took gold over Alexandria Aflague.

Here are more results.

Purple belt

Absolute: Gold – Ed Santos (VB), Silver – Nate Santos (VB), Bronze – Kyle Reyes (GTT)/TJ Francisco (CG)

Blue belt

130-under : Gold – Nate Chase (BSC), Silver – Oscar Ledesma (UA)

131-145: Gold – Dexter Balajadia (UA), Silver – Kevin Cruz (CG), Bronze – Trevor Nelson (GTT)

146-160: Gold – Anthony Cruz (P4), Silver – David Harris (P4), Bronze – Zack Tenorio (CG)

161-175: Gold – Anton Rosario (UA), Silver – Ryan Bustamante (UA), Leo Cing

176-190: Gold – Skyler Taitano (CG), Silver – Brannon Perez (UA)

191-205: Gold – John Moser (P4), Silver – Shawn Neely

206+ : Gold – Nick Cacares (GTT), Silver – Ray Jo San Nicolas (CG)

White belt

130-under: Gold – Ray Paul (P4), Silver – Patrick Flores (P4), Bronze – Chris Dela Cruz (P4)

131-145: Gold – Joseph Camacho (S22), Silver – Tex Aguon (CG), Bronze – Angel Oliveras (GTT)

146-160: Gold – Jeffrey Mesa (S22), Silver – Bobby Onedera (S22), Bronze – Wilfred Santos (P4)

161-175: Gold – Dan Vetten, Silver – Latino Santos (CQ), Bronze – Kyle Cruz (CG)

176-190: Gold – Rod Casas (CQ), Silver – Vance Pangelinan (GTT), Bronze – Gabriel Paulino (S22)

191-205: Gold – Steven Cruz (VB), Silver – John Paulino (UA), Bronze – John Branch (P4)

Womens

Absolute: Gold – Jayronne Gamboli (P4), Silver – Alexandria Aflague (P4), Bronze – Rebecca Tomada (P4)

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Sports legend Joe Taitano used to run to school at JFK from his Yigo home and back. He continued this routine up to 1979 when he’d run from home to GW gym and back to practice for the South Pacific Games with the national basketball team. Guam went on to win its second straight SPG gold medal.

 

 

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