Since the turn of the decade, there has only been one team in the UAAP who has set a benchmark for excellence and dominance. And they were able to extend it to close their 10-year run just the way they started it.
For the ninth consecutive year, the Adamson University Lady Falcons sat atop the collegiate sports ladder after taking down the University of Santo Tomas Tiger Softbelles, 11-1 abb. 6th, Tuesday morning at the historic Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium.
But unlike their first eight years, this season has been a tough climb for the Lady Falcons. Though they have only lost once in their 13-game campaign, Adamson had to work for each and every victory.
“Stressful! This year, grabe yung sleepless nights ko,” admitted decorated head coach Ana Santiago. “Nag-struggle kami nung second round. Tama lang na hindi kami lagi nakaka-regulation dahil natututo kami dun. Ngayon, makakatulog na ako.”
Just like in Game One that saw Adamson win in four innings with the same scoreline, graduating pitcher Lyca Basa was once again elusive on the mound. The proud daughter of Bacolod City allowed just three hits all game long for just two runs.
“She’s one of the best pitchers na nagkaroon ako. With her heart, her passion, alam mo yun? Sinabi niya sa akin, tatapusin ko ito,” Santiago said about the two-time Pitcher of the Year and Finals Most Valuable Player, who only allowed 1.167 ERs this season. “Iiwan ko ang Adamson na magiging proud ka sa akin. She made sure na maganda ang exit niya. Ibinigay niya ang lahat sa amin.”
Besides Basa, the rest of Adamson’s pitching staff, Baby Jane Raro, Princess Jurado, and Arlyn Bautista, all played their final game.
Providing the spark once again for Adamson was lead-off batter and Season MVP Arianne Vallestero. The one-and-done third baseman, went 2-of-4 at-bat while picking up three runs.
“Siya nagbitbit sa team na ito. Nakuha niya lahat ng awards. Sabi ko sa kanya, salamat sa pagbigay sa akin ng championship. Sabi naman niya, salamat na nakatikim ako ng championship,” Santiago gushed about Vallestero, who was this season’s Best Hitter (.556 avg); Best Slugger (.972); Most RBIs (16); Most Homeruns (3 – tied with UST’s Charlotte Sales, Rookie of the Year); and Most Stolen Bases (6 – tied with Adamson’s Angelu Gabriel).
Besides Vallestero, Nicole Padasas was the one who put the exclamation mark in the sweep, capping off her perfect 4-of-4 batting with a two-run, over-the-fence homerun in the sixth inning.
This is Adamson’s first UAAP championship this season and 18th overall in the softball tournament.
“Yung mindset namin bago this series, sinabi ko sa kanila na nagsimula lang sila sa isang pangarap: to win the championship. Then sila na bahala if they want to make history,” expressed Santiago. “Yung mga past, wala na yun. Kung gusto nila magtuloy ng legacy, sila na ang magpapatuloy nun. Hindi naman ako yun eh, sila ang naglalaro.
“If they believe, they can, at magagawa natin ang lahat,” she concluded.
UST rookie Irene Lumanas allowed eight hits and seven runs in the four innings she pitched.
Making their final round on the UAAP mound for UST are catcher Tin Palma, 2B Hannah Dela Torre, 1B Lea Guevarra, CF Jessie Belano, Lyra Gustilo, and DH Bianca Hernandez.