The greatest streak in Philippine sports today continues!
The Adamson Lady Falcons opened their campaign for a sixth straight softball crown in dominant fashion. The Ana Santiago-mentored squad blasted the University of Santo Tomas Tiger Softbelles with an 10-0 abbreviated fourth inning win Monday morning at the Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium in Manila City.
“Hindi intact lineup natin ngayon,” Adamson Lady Falcons head coach Ana Santiago said about the composition of her team this season. “First base namin last year si Pabiana, last season’s rookie of the year, na-injure. Tapos wala rin si Clariz Palma. And isang pitcher si Glesin Oper nag-graduate na rin.”
The loss of three of the key players from last season’s championship squad did not show in their first outing for Season 79 as the defense of the Lady Falcons, headed by last season’s MVP Annalie Benjamen, only allowed two hits in the entire game to the lady batters from Espana.
“Puro bago na position. May mga nag-switch din from infield to outfield,” Santiago remarked about the position changes the team went through during the off-season. “Ang natira lang yung right field, yung pitcher, and yung shortstop.”
“Sabi ko sa kanila na no choice na sila. I-embrace na lang yung changes because kelangan natin at nakikita ko na kayo ang kelangan dun sa position na yun. Kung aayawan nila ito, we cannot perform well. Just focus and make it work.”
It’s safe to say that the Lady Falcons accepted their new roles in the lineup after their first game of the season. This can be highlighted during the second inning with Celestine Palma converting on Adamson’s first hit of the game. With one out, CJ Roa was putout with a flyball to shortstop Riflyca Basa. Basa pushed the ball to Angelie Ursabia who then threw the ball to right fielder Queeny Sabobo to putout Palma for the huge double play.
On offense, the high-powered Adamson batting order started slow. However, a throwing error by the UST Softbelles got the ball rolling for the Lady Falcons. Clarisse Lozada was able to gain base after the said error and a single by Benjamen paved the way for the first run of the game. Later on, with Benjamen and Angelie Ursabia gaining prime real estate to score, Gelyn Lamata popped a single to gain a 2-0 lead after the first inning.
“Laban pa rin yung team namin pero malakas din yung UST kasi bumalik yung veterans nila,” Santiago added. “Sabi ko na lang ilabas lang natin yung palo natin.”
The second inning saw the first home run of the season courtesy of last season’s homerun queen Sabobo. With one out and senior Riezel Calumbres gaining first base, Sabobo slammed a huge homer to center field to extend the lead to 4-0. Two more triples in the second and third innings extended the lead to 8-0 to enter the fourth inning.
In the fourth and final inning of the game, a double by Ursabia and a UST error gave Adamson two bases. UST’s fifth pitcher for the day Ann Antolihao was able to strike out Shaina Camacho while Basa was putout on first base. Calumbres though was walked to load the bases for Adamson. Going back to the top of the batting order, Sabobo knocked off a grounder to center field to give Adamson the two runs needed to secure the stoppage.
Sabobo put up MVP-like numbers for the Lady Falcons. In four bats, the home run queen was able to hit the ball four times (1B, 3B, HR), score two runs, and also batted in five runs. On the defensive end, she was able to put out two runners. Fellow super senior Annalie Benjamen added two hits (1B, 3B), bat-in two runs, and score a run as well.
Looking forward to Wednesday, the Lady Falcons face the UP Lady Maroons in a finals rematch. “Wednesday pa naman yun. We still have tomorrow to make some adjustments,” Santiago said about the match-up. “Lagi ko sinasabi sa inyo every game is a different story.”
“Malakas pa rin sila at lagi ko sinasabi sa kanila na lagi malakas ang kalaban.”
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