With the 2019 Philippine Baseball League Open reaching its business end, the Adamson University Soaring Falcons and Thunder All-Stars made sure there are no complications in their journey to the crossover semifinals.
In a tight Group A race, the Soaring Falcons needed to shake off the Itakura Parts Philippines Corporation Nationals, 4-0, to close out the elimination round with a 4-1 slate – good for first.
The victory removed the collegiate side from a possible logjam for the semis berth.
With their advantage against IPPC, Adamson head coach Orlando Binarao reminded his wards simply to do what they needed to do.
“Nakikita ko kasi ‘tong IPPC, parehas na team lang yan ng KBA eh. Parehas silang hindi nakakapag-train ng buo,” he said, as Adamson also shut out KBA last Wednesday, 2-0. “So sinabi ko sa boys ko, lamang tayo diyan kasi tayo team tayo nagpa-practice.”
Despite the preparation, Adamson struggled against the pitches of IPPC’s Russell Badrina.
After a scoreless first inning, Lexter Carandang finally broke through with a hit. Bryan Castillo then also got a single to punch in two runs.
It was enough to propel the Falcons to their third straight win.
Castillo added another single in the fifth inning to finish with two hits. He also scored the insurance run in the same frame.
Pitcher Michael Catalan allowed six hits, but fanned four batters for the shut out.
With a 2-2 slate, the Nationals need to defeat the NU Bulldogs on Sunday to create a three-way tie with KBA.
Not to be outdone, Thunder ended the playoff race in Group B, clinching a semis ticket while ending the De La Salle University Green Batters’ hopes, 13-4.
With this, Thunder will enter the semifinals as the top seed of their pool, while lifting the Philippine Air Force Lawin’s with them as well.
Air Force – who will face Adamson in the crossover semifinals on June 22 – ended the elims with a 4-1 record while La Salle suffered its second loss.
National team pitcher Vladi Eguia scattered eight strikeouts in the six innings he pitched, to help their offense gain confidence throughout the match.
Thunder peppered the Green Batters bullpen with 14 hits in the six frames, with playing coach Aids Bernardo going 3-of-4 at-bat. Their batting was on point, as they powered through with a six-run sixth frame to turn a close match to a rout.
Earlier in the morning, the University of Santo Tomas Golden Sox bagged their second win of the tournament after taking down the alumni team of Rizal Technological University, 12-3.
RTU-Alums ended their campaign with a 1-4 record.
The Thunder (4-0) will try to go for a sweep as they face UP (0-4), Sunday at the same venue, after an all-UAAP showdown between the two 2-2 teams La Salle and UST at 8 a.m.