For the rest of the UAAP Season 81 Baseball Tournament, the De La Salle University Green Batters now firmly believe that they have what it takes to win it all.
Facing the defending champions for the second time in four days, the Green Batters were able to once again best the Adamson University Soaring Falcons, eking out a 6-5 win, Wednesday morning at the Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium.
“Napaghandaan namin yung game na ito. Ito kasi yung posibleng tiebreak if magkaroon man for the Finals,” said La Salle head coach Joseph Orillana, as the Green Batters swept the regular season series between the two squads. “Talagang nag-ready kami sa speed nila at ma-stop namin yung base-stealing nila. Na-depensahan naman nila.”
La Salle raised their slate to 4-2 to tie the UST Golden Sox in the standings at second. On the other hand, Adamson fell to 3-3 – solo fourth in the six-team league.
“Tuloy-tuloy lang kami. Kailangan nandun yung drive to win namin at madala namin yung mga nakuha namin yung laro namin nung last game namin during the first round,” added Orillana.
Coming off a dominant 10-2 victory last Sunday, La Salle stormed to a 6-0 lead against their foils during the first seven innings of the contest.
Last season’s Rookie of the Year Angelo Tantuico provided the spark in the second inning, as his grounder paved the way for two runs.
La Salle’s MVP tandem of Iggy Escano and Kiko Gesmundo joined in the act later on. The two combined to drive in four more runs to give the Green Batters a six-run cushion.
Furthermore, it was lead-off batter Paulo Salud who made their victory possible. Salud, a senior who was the last batter in La Salle’s order during their first four games, delivered by going 2-of-5 at-bat.
But just as they have done all season long, Adamson, like a diesel engine, surged in the late innings.
Errors by La Salle during the eighth inning led to runs for Bryan Castillo and Gerald Riparip, which cut the lead down to just four runs entering the final stanza.
“We were up by four nun. Sabi ko sa kanila, ‘wag sila mataranta dahil three outs lang kailangan namin,” recalled Orillana telling his wards.
Needing a closer, Barandiaran was called to the mound to take the place of Arvin Herrera, who had four SOs while giving up just six hits in eight innings pitched.
Though the fifth-year pitcher gave up three runs – two of which came from a single by Kyle Villafana – he was able to hold off the Soaring Falcons late, including a strikeout of Raymond Matic for second out.
“Sobrang laki nung naging part ni Boo sa last two games namin. Nandun yung leadership niya para madala niya yung team niya,” Orillana beamed about the UAAP Season 78 Co-Finals MVP.
Michael Catalan, Richard Matic, Andrei Medrana, and Raymond Neroza all took turns trying to control the Green Batters.
La Salle look to make it three in a row when they face the National University Bulldogs on Sunday, March 10 at 10:00am. Meanwhile, Adamson hope to regain their groove on the same day against the Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles.
ADU – 000 000 023 – 5 8 0
DLSU – 020 020 200 – 6 8 4