A “first time” is always both exciting and nerve-wracking. And in the field of collegiate sports, there’s no bigger first time than being in your maiden Finals stint.
Last Friday, it was the worse end of being in a debut that caught up with the University of Santo Tomas Tiger Softbelles. This team is arguably one of the tops in terms of defense for the season, and they showed it when they ended The Streak. That vaunted defense held at first in the first game of the Finals but was eventually broken as the defending five-time champions Adamson finally hit their stride during the fourth inning.
National team mainstay and UST pitcher Ann Antolihao admitted her own short-comings when asked to comment on the loss. She said, “siguro, inaabangan na lang nila yung bola ko, kasi puro labas. Iniisip nila ganun yung bola, kaya nag-iintay na lang sila (na makapalo).”
Antolihao also told Tiebreaker Times after the win against National University in the semifinals that she planned to add variance to her pitching come the Finals. However, during Game 1, “ayun nga nawala.”
“Nung nagwa-warm up ako, iniisip ko kaya naman eh. Pero nung nasa gitna na kasi, parang bumigat na,” she added. Moreover, UST head coach Sandy Barredo said that her pitches were way off. “Off na off. Kitang-kita yung bola e. Off talaga yung pitching,” he said.
The third-year Thomasina attributed such pressure to the feeling of being in her first-ever championship game. She furthered that it is the same case as with the whole team.
“Masaya kasi malaking opportunity to para sa amin. Sabi nga nila, okay na yung nakapag-Finals kami, pero siyempre ayaw naman naming makuntento na lang (sa ganito),” Antolihao shared. However, she added that the pressure and excitement might have caught to their nerves and they succumbed to it.
Nevertheless, UST are raring to get back on the right track come Monday in Game 2. “Feeling ko babalik na lahat yun [palo at depensa], kasi ngayon patikim pa lang,” she said.
“Siguro, baka babawi na. Hindi pala baka, babawi talaga kami!”