Team Fabricio rules national jiu-jitsu tilt

By Ivan Saldajeno

PARAÑAQUE--Team Fabricio walked away with a ton of medals to reign in the Philippine Jiu-Jitsu Championships at the Events Center of SM Sucat over the weekend.

Team Fabricio gathered 22 golds, 18 silvers, and 20 bronzes to top the tournament organized by the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation of the Philippines (BJJFP) and recognized by the International Jiu-Jitsu Federation.

Deftac Ribeiro had the second-best medal overhaul with 12 golds, 18 silvers, and 13 bronzes, while Ronin BJJ walked home with 12 golds, seven silvers, and four bronzes for third place honor.

White belter Vanessa Lu led Team Fabricio's charge by winning the over 58.5 kg gi, women's absolute gi, the over 56.5 kg no gi, and the basic absolute no gi divisions.

On the other hand, indie actress Mara Yokohama of Team Atos, another jiu-jitsu white belt owner, also struck gold by ruling the under 53.5 kg gi division.

Yokohama's fellow celebrity, Rocco Nacino, got ousted early into the competition in the under 57.5 kg blue belt category. Deftac's Jeromel Domingo eventually captured the gold.

More than 200 jiu-jitsu practitioners from eight countries participated in the weekend-long tourney.

Meanwhile, tournament organizer Stephen Kamphuis lauded the Philippines' fast-growing love for jiu-jitsu, which has also been a style of preference for MMA fighters.

“The growth of BJJ is here is amazing. We are the biggest practitioner of the sport now in Asia, after Japan and Australia in the Pacific," said the New Zealand-born Kamphuis, the owner of a well-known MMA gym.