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Tiebreaker Times


Highly-touted Ezra Jalandoni still grasping to find form

Much anticipated was the supposed-to-be debut of Adamson University pitcher Ezra Jalandoni in the UAAP Season 82 softball tournament.

Unfortunately, COVID-19 happened and scratched the season and the league for almost three years – at least for softball which was not held in Season 84.

The then-19-year-old pitcher from Negros Occidental was a star during the Philippines’ 2019 Southeast Asian Games women’s softball gold medal run, enabling the hype around her to get even louder months before her supposed first year in the premier collegiate league.

Fast forward to February 21, 2023, Jalandoni threw her first pitch to mark the start of her long-awaited UAAP career against De La Salle University at the UP Diliman Baseball Field.

But it was not the dream debut of any sort as she admitted succumbing to rookie jitters and is still not in game shape.

“First time kong sinalang, as of now po medyo kabado pa since first year ko nga po. Makakaya naman po, siguro more on pakatatag lang sa sarili,” shared Jalandoni after the nine-time defending champions Lady Falcons beat the Lady Batters, 6-2.

“Based sa past trainings ko, malayo pa po kung ano yung bola ko dati kasi lumaki rin po ako nang husto. Physically like katawan ko hindi pa po actually ready pa sa pitching.”

Jalandoni explained that during the height of the pandemic, she went home to Bacolod and stopped her academics for two years – in effect, not also joining the Zoom workouts of the Lady Falcons.

She only returned to Adamson last January 10 – just a month before the softball tournament kicked off.UAAP-85-Softball-Aloiza-Talisik-Ezra-Jalandoni-ADU Highly-touted Ezra Jalandoni still grasping to find form AdU News Softball UAAP  - philippine sports news

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“Actually nag leave of absence si Ezra, umuwi siya ng province niya. Two years na nandoon siya. Then bumalik siya, nag enroll ulit siya. Kararating niya lang after two years nung January 10 so ngayon syempre humahabol pa,” shared head coach Ana Santiago.

But during her stay in Bacolod, Jalandoni never lost contact with the sport she loves most, serving as an assistant coach of Bacolod City National High School of Negros Occidental which went all the way to the 2022 Senior Little League World Series in Delaware, USA last August, representing the Asia Pacific region.

In her first outing for Adamson, the once hard-to-hit Jalandoni got broken down by La Salle’s batters, giving up three hits and two runs in just three innings of play.

Santiago then bared that she was supposed to play Jalandoni in the second round when she already caught up with her conditioning, but with the tournament schedule giving Adamson a double-header last Tuesday and main pitcher Glory Alonzo having already pitched a complete game against Ateneo de Manila University in the morning, the decorated mentor had no choice but to already field Jalandoni.

“Pinlano ko talaga sa kanya ay sa second round pa kasi kababalik niya lang,” said Santiago. “Fighter naman si Ezra so with her experience, tingin ko maybe after ilang weeks talagang magiiba na ulit yung bola niya.

“Unti unti lang, matagal pa naman ang UAAP so let’s wait and see. Kailangan ko siya. Magdodouble time talaga siya alam niya naman yun.”

Aware was Jalandoni of what she needed to do in order to find herself again – the Ezra that the softball community waited for in the UAAP.

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The tournament is played every Tuesday and Saturday with the second round already scheduled to start on February 28.

There will also be no Final Four this time due to the field being limited to just five teams as National University and University of the East disbanded their squads during the pandemic.

“Siguro more on extra pa po. Magti-triple time kung pwede po para maibalik lang yung dating speed ng bola, curve,” said Jalandoni.

“Siguro kulang pa po ako ng endurance saka yung kailangan ko pa pong idevelop yung fighting spirit ko sa gitna at kailangan kong ibalik ang dating ako sa paglalaro.”

Written By

Just a kid from Cavite trying to make a difference.

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