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Baseball

Golden Sox pound Fighting Maroons to extend streak to six

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UST (6-2)0300200218112
UP (0-8)000001001277

Lesmar Ventura provided the work Jefferson Vergara provided the spark on offense, leading the University of Santo Tomas Golden Sox to their sixth straight win at the expense of the lowly University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons, 8-2, Sunday afternoon at the Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium in Manila.

The win helps UST solidify their grip on the second spot, as they are now two full games ahead of the De La Salle University Green Batters and the Adamson Soaring Falcons. UP, on the other hand, are still winless in the season.

Ace pitcher Lesmar Ventura shackled the UP offense, pitching the whole game and allowing just seven hits. The fielding stranded all but two of UP’s runners.

“Di ko expected na hindi makapupuntos ang UP dahil malakas ang opensa nila,” UST head coach Jeffrey Santiago said.

However, Santiago felt that the offense had stagnated in the game, as seen in the nine UST runners that were left stranded. Moreover, half of their runs came from errors.

“Maganda ang pinukol ng pitcher natin pero sa opensa natin nag-relax sila,” the Golden Sox legend added.

Vergara picked up two RBIs in the game and scored two runs as he went 2-of-3 at bat. Ron dela Cruz added two runs a well.

With UST already up 5-0, the Fighting Maroons were able to punch in their first run of the game during the sixth inning when Ponso Balagtas brought home Karl Peralta. However, errors continued to plague UP that allowed UST to punch in two more runs in the eighth inning and another one in the last inning.

UST will next face the Adamson University Soaring Falcons on Wednesday, March 8, at 11:00am. On the other hand, the Fighting Maroons will have their second to the last chance of sending captain SJ San Juan home with a win on the same day, as they face the National University Bulldogs in the last game of the day.

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Ateneo defends WBSC Hong Kong Open crown

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Photo from Ateneo Baseball Team Twitter

Defending UAAP Baseball champions Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles are once again off to the races in their preparation for the upcoming season.

For the second straight year, the blue batters of Ateneo took home the WBSC Hong Kong International Baseball Open championship in the club division after ripping Sydney University, 10-4, Sunday afternoon at Lion Rock Park Baseball Field in Kowloon, Hong Kong.

“It feels great to be back. It’s always good to come here and play,” said Ateneo catcher Dino Altomonte. “We’re looking to do it again next year.”

Besides taking home the crown once more, the Blue Eagles racked up the majority of the individual awards.

Marco Mallari took home the Most Valuable Player plum. The third-year Blue Eagle played in all four games, going an efficient 9-of-14 at-bat and punching in eight runs.

Fourth-year and UAAP Season 79 Finals MVP Paulo Macasaet was named as the Best Pitcher of the tournament, finishing with a clean 2-0 slate. The national team standout struck out 11 batters while only allowing six runs when he’s on the mound.

Filipino-American Marquis Alindogan had the most hits and most stolen bases in the four-team meet. Alindogan finished with six stolen bases.

With the win, coach Randy Dizer was named as the Best Coach.

Ateneo started off its campaign the way it started it with a 12-7 win over Sydney University last December 14. The Blue Eagles were able to edge out Hong Kong Blue the next day, 9-6, before lambasting Lanzhou New Way, 12-3.

Last year’s tourney only had one division.

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Carlos Munoz has 4 RBI as Philippine pitchers shutout Hong Kong to advance to semis

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Hope was not lost when the Philippines was outclassed by powerhouse South Korea last Wednesday as the Philippine batters were given a crack at the last semifinals spot in a do-or-die game Wednesday afternoon.

Carlos Munoz and the Philippines did not waste this opportunity, pinning Hong Kong, 10-0 abb. 7th, to qualify for the next round of the XXVIII BFA Asian Baseball Championship at the Tien-Mou Stadium in Taiwan.

At the end of the elimination round, the Philippines finished with a 1-2 slate in Group A while Hong Kong sported a 1-1 record in a three-team Group B. China, who was supposed to be in Group B, backed out at the last minute.

Munoz, a product of the La Salle baseball program, powered the Philippines’ offense, finishing with 4 RBIs.

And Munoz provided the spark for the Philippines, popping a double that brought home Aids Bernardo and Diego Lozano in the opening inning while driving in a run of his own for an early 3-0 lead.

The Philippine pitchers were also superb on the mound, allowing just four hits and leaving all runners stranded.

With the Philippines scoring two runs and one more in the fourth and sixth innings respectively, the young team went for the kill in the seventh inning.

Javi Macasaet brought home Joennard Pareja with a triple to start the rally. Macasaet was then brought home by Steven Manaig while a 2RBI single by Jonaidsash Ponce paved the way for a Manaig run and Bernardo’s third run of the game.

Bernardo finished with three runs, going 2-for-4 at-bat, while incoming Ateneo sophomore Javi Macasaet added two more runs.

With the win, the Philippines booked another date with Chinese-Taipei to open the “super round”. The fourth-ranked team in the world and host defeated the young guns of the republic, 12-2, on opening day.

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Joennard Pareja’s 2 RBI single lifts Philippines to maiden win

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SRI LANKA (0-2)030000020563
PHILIPPINES (1-1)00310013X893

After a gallant 2-12 loss to fourth-ranked team in the world Chinese-Taipei on opening day, a motivated Philippine squad powered its way to an 8-5 win over Sri Lanka, Tuesday evening at the Tien-Mou Stadium in Taiwan.

The win lifted the Philippines to the win column in Group A of the XXVIII BFA Asian Baseball Championship with a 1-1 slate, tied with number three-ranked team South Korea. Sri Lanka dropped to 0-2, while Chinese-Taipei leads the pack with an unblemished 2-0 record.

Adamson’s Steven Manaig was spectacular in the game, going 4-for-4 at-bat to score a run and punch in an RBI. But it was former Baseball Philippines MVP Joennard Pareja who iced the win for the Philippines.

With Sri Lanka knotting the game at 5-all entering the bottom of the eighth inning, Pareja singled to pave the way for runs from Diego Lozano and Jonnash Ponce. Another run courtesy of Adamson’s Erwin Bosito gave closer Junmar Diarao of NU a breather to close out the contest.

Sri Lanka gained the early lead in the game after scoring three runs in the second inning. Ponce then slammed a three-run home run at the bottom of the third inning to square things up.

A sacrifice fly by Carlos Munoz brought home Manaig in the fourth inning to give the Philippines the lead, while Manaig was able to bring home Bosito in the seventh inning to extend the lead to two.

Starting pitcher Paulo Macasaet pitched 7 1/3 innings throwing 115 pitches with nine strikeouts.

The Philippines plays its final game of the elimination round tonight against South Korea at 6:30pm. The winner will advance to the semifinals, while the loser drops to the classification phase.

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Philippines’ young guns banner team for Asian Baseball Championship

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Though the process of developing a world-class baseball national team will take some time, the Philippine Amateur Baseball Association (PABA) is making sure that the program will have a proper launching point, as the association will be sending over a team that is stacked with homegrown talent to the 28th Baseball Federation of Asia (BFA) Asian Baseball Championship from October 2 to 8 in New Taipei City, Taiwan.

“First of all, this is a long process, but we have to start it. With my involvement with PABA this year, one of our objectives was to comply with our international commitments, lalo na sa BFA,” said PABA secretary general Chito Loyzaga.

“Yun lang muna target namin this year, to send a signal that we are here, alive and kicking, and that we are going to participate.”

Beside its agenda of complying with Asia’s international federation for baseball, PABA is also making sure that the products of the Philippines’ grassroots baseball program will be given international exposure, far from their past initiative of calling back Filipino-foreigners to compose the national team.

The Philippine team, which has an average age of 22 years old, will be composed of players that are competing in the UAAP baseball tournament.

Representing defending champions Ateneo de Manila University are reigning UAAP Season 79 Finals MVP Paulo Macasaet (P), catcher Dino Altomonte, and infielders Javi Macasaet (2B) and Marco Mallari (RF). Also returning for national duty is shortstop Aids Bernardo, who last campaigned for the country during the 2016 World Baseball Classic Qualifiers.

The De La Salle University will be sending over reigning UAAP Most Valuable Player Iggy Escano (1B), Diego Lozano (1B, P), sophomore Geof Magsadia (LF), senior Kiko Gesmundo (3B, P), and alumnus Carlos Munoz (RF, P). The trio of Jerome Yenson (P), Erwin Bosito (CF), and Steven Manaig (C) are the Adamson University’s representatives, while Alfredo de Guzman (C) and Clarence Caasalan (1B) of the National University made the team as well. Pitchers Ron dela Cruz and lefty Lesmar Ventura, both of whom were instrumental in the silver medal finish of the University of Santo Tomas last season, will play pivotal roles for the Philippines’ bullpen.

“It’s a young team. I heard that the average age is 22 years old. We are happy to see how they will perform,” added Loyzaga.

Providing leadership to the young team are veterans Jarus Inobio (LF), Joennard Pareja (2B), Jennald Pareja (SS), Jonash Ponce (CF), Jon-Jon Robles (P), and Romeo Jasmin (P).

NU softball team head coach Egay delos Reyes will serve as the team’s manager. UST head coach and legend Jeffrey Santiago, Adamson great Orlando Binarao, and champion coach Joseph Orillana of La Salle will compose the team’s staff.

Not much is expected from this team in the competition, which also features world-ranked teams Japan, South Korea, and Chinese-Taipei. But Loyzaga shared to the team that the ultimate goal is to earn the respect of the region.

“I told the boys na, ‘This is the top tournament in Asia and that you will face the top teams in the continent, including three of the top four teams in the world. Again, I am also an athlete like you, I always want to win but winning is not everything. If we don’t win on the field, I hope all of you earn their respect as Filipino athletes and as the national team.’,” he said.

The Philippines is part of Group A in the preliminary round together with hosts and fourth-ranked team in the world Chinese-Taipei (Monday, 6:30pm); Sri Lanka (Tuesday, 6:30pm); and third-ranked team in the world South Korea (Wednesday, 6:30pm).

The top two teams in the two groups will advance to the semifinals, while the bottom four will figure in placement matches.

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