For the last three years, University of Santo Tomas Tiger Softbelles ace Ann Antholihao has been the scourge of the Adamson Lady Falcons. During the past three seasons, the national team pitcher has been credited for four of the six Adamson losses — including the Tiger Softbelles’ streak-busting win last March 2, 2016.
“We go where Ann takes us,” said UST head coach Sandy Barredo prior to the start of the UAAP Season 80 Softball tournament.
However, the reigning best pitcher could not get past the Lady Falcons in the Finals.
Back in the 78th season of the league, Antolihao suffered a cut under her eye that dampened her momentum. A year later, the Cebuana tore her left Anterior Cruciate Ligament during Game One of the Finals, ending UST’s hopes of winning the tiara.
But the 21-year-old made a statement in front of a nationwide audience on Tuesday morning.
“Kanina noong start ng game, nasa isip ko na kung ano kaya ang mangyayari sa akin, kasi dalawang season na po na every year na championship series may nangyayari sa akin before ng game. Two years ago, natamaan ako sa mata, last year naman sa tuhod ko. Kanina, nandoon na naman ang takot na kung baka ano ang mangyari this season,” she recalled.
“Kasi pagdating sa gitna [sa mound], sarili mo lang ang magiging kalaban mo, hindi na yung Adamson. Sarili mo na lang iisipin mo.”
The favorite to win this year’s Best Pitcher plum, Antolihao had a masterful performance, limiting the potent Adamson offense to just five hits while striking out seven batters.
“Kudos to Antolihao.
“Talagang gustong gusto niyang maipanalo yung laro na ito para sa kanila. Sobrang controlled ng pitches niya,” shared Adamson head coach Ana Santiago as Antolihao steered her team to a 4-3 Game One win.
Playing in her final year, Antolihao wants to end her stellar UAAP career come Friday, as UST look to sweep the series. And she is willing to go all-out to win that elusive championship.
“Sobrang special po kasi last year ko na po eh. As in sobrang special, willing ko na ibuhos lahat kasi nga eto nga yung last year ko. Gusto ko na sa last year ko makuha naman sana namin ang championship.”