Defending champions Adamson University Lady Falcons shook off a come-from-behind attempt by last year’s championship opponents, the University of the Philippines, 7-4, to remain undefeated in 64 games since UAAP Season 73, Wednesday at the Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium.
The reigning queens’ offense was off to a great start after two hits, a single from Queeny Sabobo and a double from Lorna Adorable, set the stage for a potential run. With one out, last year’s Most Valuable Player Annalie Benjamen then drove in a base hit that scored Sabobo for the breakthrough run. UP’s defense then dismissed the next two batters to peg the count at 1-0.
In their side of the first inning, the Lady Maroons threatened to tie the match after the bases were loaded by DC Cruz, Juliet Omul, and Chanty Bongat with two outs on board. Adamson’s second baseman Edna Severino took the final out to deny UP the tying run.
After a defensive second inning, Adamson added two runs at the top of the third inning. Down 0-2 at the count, Benjamen blasted a booming double to the center to start it off. Florabelle Lamata then scored Benjamen for their second run, after an error pushed Benjamen and Ursabia into scoring position. Ursabia added another run to raise the Falcons’ lead to three.
The Lady Falcons then piled up the runs, and the lead ballooned to 7-0 after the fourth and fifth innings. Adorable and Benjamen scored in the fourth frame, and Sabobo and Riezel Calumbres added two more in the following inning.
With nothing to lose, the UP Lady Maroons finally adjusted to the defense of the Lady Falcons and got something on the scoreboard. Senior Maki Cabriana sent a grounder to shortstop Sabobo that the veteran could not deal with, giving the former first base. Another error on a failed putout attempt on Gelai Penales left UP with runners on the corners. Team captain Gabin Paz then drove in her first hit of the day after suffering two strikeouts to score both Cabriana and Penales, before the Adamson defense held.
The Diliman-based batters then consolidated a good fifth inning with defensive stops in the final two innings. Adamson got their hits, but UP denied the former additional runs before their last at-bat. The Lady Maroons then scored two more to peg the final score at 7-4. Senior DC Cruz drove a 2 RBI single to score Cabriana and Alinsod for the last two crossings at the home plate. Paz also reached home on the play, but an impeccable double play from the Falcons sent Paz and Penales packing.
Adamson Head Coach Ana Santiago was happy despite having been tested in the game. She even welcomed it and expressed, “Sabi ko nga it’s okay din na nakalaro kami ng seven innings. Mas lalo na yung tatag nila na-test and yung big play dun sa third. It’s much better kasi masusubukan yung galing talaga nila.” The veteran coach gave credit to her opponents. “Malakas talaga yung UP. Sa akin, regardless of the score, nanalo kami. At mas importante may natutunan yung mga bata.”
On the other hand, UP rookie mentor Alex Causapin saw some moral victory with the result. The former Lady Maroons shortstop said, “Definitely, we couldn’t be happier with how we performed. The key now is how we make the adjustments para the next time we see them we’re ready. The exact word for what we are feeling is hopeful. If I’m not mistaken this is the first game in two years that they played na completed yung innings.”
The Lady Falcons face the unpredictable Ateneo Lady Blue Batters on Saturday, while the Lady Maroons will try to bounce back against a dangerous UE Lady Red Warriors.