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Tiebreaker Times


Kacelyn Valino overcomes jitters in first-ever UAAP double-header performance

A lot has changed in the first UAAP Softball Tournament in four years.

The major difference for this season is that only five universities are competing in the tournament after National University and University of the East dissolved their softball programs.

With only five teams left, there won’t be a Final Four this year. Moreover, each team will have designated double headers, meaning they will compete twice in one day.

This is particularly taxing for pitchers.

And the first to take the mound is University of the Philippines’ Kacelyn Valino — a 20-year-old freshman from San Miguel, Bulacan.

When the league announced this type of schedule, Valino shared that she immediately doubled down to work to prepare for this particularly unique grind.

“Bago mag-start yung season, nakita na namin yung schedule. Dun pa lang, ni-ready ko na yung sarili ko. Lagi ako nagpapahinga tapos naglalagay ako lagi ng Omega sa balikat. Tapos lagi ako naka-jacket para hindi mahanginan yung balikat ko,” she said.

But what is hard to prepare for was the crowd.

Like all UAAP events, opening day of the softball tournament was well-attended by fans. And their cheers were coupled with the loud drums of UP Pep.

Valino admitted that she was swept away by them against Ateneo.

“Natangay ako ng crowd,” quipped Valino, whose first-ever UAAP pitch was an HP (hit by pitch).

“First time ko maglaro sa UAAP. Nung first game, first inning, talagang kinakabahan ako. Siyempre, kailangan ko ibigay yung best ko sa team. Focus lang kasi talaga ang kailangan.”

But she was able to overcome that against La Salle.

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In those two games, Valino pitched eight of the 11 innings.

Along with backup pitcher Diane Pasco, the duo threw a combined no-hitter against La Salle, while limiting Ateneo to just four hits and stranding four on base.

It also resulted in two wins for UP — 9-2 abb. 6th against Ateneo and 8-0 abb. 5th against La Salle.

“Sobrang saya kasi siyempre, ang tagal namin ito pinaghandaan. Yung training din namin hindi talaga madali,” she expressed.

Come the second round, there will be another double-header for Valino and UP.

And when that time comes, she is more than ready for it.

“Siguro mas mag-focus pa kasi natatangay ako nung crowd e. Mas kailangan ko pa i-focus yung sarili ko sa game para ma-spot ko yung pitch ko.”

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