The last time the University of the Philippines emerged victorious against the Adamson University in UAAP softball was 11 years ago. During that time, Dione Macasu had just ended her storied collegiate career.
Fast forward to 2019. Macasu was at the foul line, guiding current pitcher Cochise Diolata and the rest of the Fighting Maroons to a clinical shutout of the defending champions, 3-0, Saturday afternoon at the Rizal Memorial Badminton Hall.
It was an all-important victory for the Lady Maroons, as they only trail the idle UST Tiger Softbelles by half-a-game, 4-4, for fourth in the standings. On the other hand, Adamson suffered their first loss of the UAAP Season 81 Softball Tournament.
More than snapping the losing skid with the Falcons, the win is hopefully a sign of things to come for head coach Ron Pagkalinawan and the team. “I think, ito na yung UP team na hinahanap ko.”
It took a combined effort on both offense and defense, as the Diliman-based squad took down Lyca Basa’s guard after the ace Falcons pitcher dismissed the entire batting order in the first three innings.
Left fielder Gayle Suelto eventually stained Basa’s clean sheet for the game in the fourth inning, with a huge double near the first base foul line with two outs. Only the Adamson defense stopped any further damage with the final out.
That was the turning point of the match, as a combination of Cochise Diolata on the mound, and Suelto and company doing well in the outfield extended Adamson’s woes in the fifth inning, before they consolidated the run on their offensive side of the frame.
Juliet Omul opened the fifth with a single, then turning over the base to captain and pitch runner Cai De Luna. With no outs, shortstop Panjie Legaspi pulled off a successful bunt that advanced her skipper to second.
After Blu Diolata flew out to second base, her younger sister Cochise was given a free pass to first. Needing a run and with runners on base, Mitch Samanieda then took advantage of a lease for life after the Adamson catcher dropped a foul ball. The rookie then slammed the ball to the center and scored De Luna to put UP up at 1-0.
Keith Ferrer doubled the lead, as she drove in Basa’s delivery at the crease between the shortstop and third base, sending Cochise Diolata home.
In the top of the sixth inning, Adamson felt the urgency, but UP’s defense proved equal. Even as Suelto and Ferrer collided with one another to catch a fly ball, the former still emerged with the ball despite getting knocked down and needing attention from the medics.
His fellow rookie Grace Adajar gave her the time to rest, as the second baseman finished the Adamson side of the sixth on another fly out.
After catcher Erika Olfato tested the left field with a long hit, Omul stepped at the plate with the intention of adding insurance runs. The third baseman then found her ball and blasted the pitch into the same side and over the fence for a solo homer, which turned out to be the winning run.
Diolata outworked Basa for the first time this season, after allowing just two hits and fanned one batter early in the match. The defense ably helped the pitcher, with Adajar taking down nine Falcons, two in the final inning. Suelto went to the dugout wounded but pleased after putting out five Falcons herself.
Omul produced two of UP’s five hits off a single and a homer, scoring two runs in the process.
For Pagkaliwagan, the previous win over the University of the East has brought his wards to life. He said, “Ang gusto ko lang talagang ibalik sa kanila is yung confidence’s. Big factor yung nakapalo sila against UE.
“Yung sa training, maganda naman pinapakita nila. Ngayon, naipakita na rin nila sa laro,” he added.