Going into the season, the Adamson Lady Falcons have won 48 straight games in the UAAP, a streak that covers four seasons and four straight UAAP softball tiaras.
In their UAAP Season 77 debut, the Adamson Lady Falcons are now a win away from reaching 50 straight with a 11-1 trashing of the UST Softbelles in a 4th inning stoppage victory.
With six seniors graduating from the team and one of her prized recruits succumbing to a preseason injury, Lady Falcon head coach Ana Santiago has a tough task ahead of her in the team’s quest to capture a rare five-peat championship. In the team’s first game of the season, the current batch of Lady Falcons was as dominating as their predecessors.
According to Santiago, “madami nag graduate sa team naming from last year. Anim ang nawala. Na-injure pa ang isang recruit namin nung pre-season (Riflayca Basa). Kaya nag shuffle ako ng lineup this year and moved yung mga seniors ko into key fielding positions.”
Based on this game, Coach Santiago’s current fielders have adjusted to the position change their coach implemented. The opening inning of the game saw three quick put outs of UST’s Hannah Mae dela Torre, Kristine Lacupa, and Celistine Palma by the Adamson fielders. At the bottom of the opening inning, Queeny Sabobo immediately hit a deep one into left field for a single and moved into 3rd base after a Lorna Adorable sacrifice hit. Successive errors by UST 1st baseman Mary Ann Antolinao and left fielder Kristel Angeles led to four runs scored by Sabobo, Florable Abiana, Annalie Benjamin, and Angelie Ursabia. The Lady Falcons led 4-0 to end the 1st inning.
UAAP Season 76 Most Valuable Player and Lady Falcon pitcher Annalie Benjamin was as crisp as ever in this game, striking out six UST batters from the 2nd inning until the conclusion of the game at the 4th inning.
The softbelles from España, however, had a tough time figuring out their pitching rotation all throughout the game. Rookie Ricky Mae Latican started the game but was then replaced by another rookie Ariellyn Arreglado. Arreglado struggled against the strong batting of the Lady Falcons as well. The defending champions connected on two home runs in just the 2nd inning to blow the game wide open. Sabobo hit a single home run and Gelyn Lamata’s three-run homer with Ursabia and Clariz Palma scoring further extended the lead. Adorable, Pabiana, and Benjamin also scored runs in the inning to conclude the 2nd inning with a huge 11-0 lead.
Third year UST pitcher Mary Luisse Garde immediately replaced Latican in the 3rd inning but the Adamson lead was insurmountable as the game ended by mercy rule at the top of the 4th inning, 11-1.
UST Softbelles head coach Sandy Barredo, father of UST Lady Shuttler Patricia Barredo, told us that the team experimented with starting with their rookies as pitchers, an experiment that led to the game’s blowout. “We will stick with Luisse (Garde) as starting pitcher for the team the rest of the way”, Coach Barredo told us.
Former UAAP MVP Benjamin led the Adamson Lady Falcons in the game. She almost pitched a perfect game before giving up a base hit that eventually led to a run in the 4th inning. She pitched all four innings, striking out six batters and committing only one error. On the offensive side, she had two runs and two hits from 2 2B’s. Sabobo also had an excellent batting game with two runs, two hits, an RBI and a homerun.
With the win, the Lady Falcons extend their UAAP winning streak to 49 games. The humble coach of Adamson told us that she is not pressured to maintain that winning streak. “Mas lalo ngayon, ang daming contenders. Nandiyan ang NU, La Salle, UE, at UP. Nahirapan nga kami last year sa NU e. Kahit matapos ang streak, it is good for the sport na madami ang magaling na team.”
The Adamson Lady Falcons will gun for their 2nd straight win this season and 50th since February 2010 as they face the UP Lady Maroons, 10am on Saturday, January 31. The UST Softbelles next play on Wednesday, February 4 against the UP Lady Maroons.