Defending champions Adamson University Soaring Falcons needed to regain their form. Safe to say, the sooner the better.
Coming off an upset loss to UST last Wednesday, the Soaring Falcons had to do it the hard way as the fended off a feisty University of the Philippines squad, 4-1, to take their second victory of the UAAP Season 81 baseball tournament, Sunday morning at the Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium.
Prior to match, head coach Rolando Binarao reminded his team of the urgency of taking the win. “Yun nga, kailangan naming i-recover ‘yung talo namin sa UST kasi bumaba ‘yung morale.”
Either teams could not connect on offense as the opposing defense held on in each of the innings they played. These opening frames saw double plays from both sides and even a highlight triple play from the men from San Marcelino.
Third baseman Gerald Riparip and second baseman Christian Maigue took down Mark Tuballas and Jericho Cagas, before a throw to first Raymond Matic also sent batter-runner Roque Banzon to the dugout.
The Falcons then consolidated this rare defensive stop into the breakthrough run.
It took a momentarily lapse on the Maroons part and a heads-up play from the Falcons as Erwin Bosito stole home for the game’s initial run. State U’s catcher Phonso Balagtas attempted to tag at the plate but the home plate umpire adjudged that it was a score.
Balagtas made amends in the following inning, driving in a standing double, which gave the following batters a tying run. After Kouichi Igarashi and Gabby Yang were dismissed, fourth-year shortstop Mark Tuballas duplicated the Balagtas hit that scored his catcher.
That turned out to be UP’s last stand on offense, as Adamson capitalized on a bases-loaded situation in the eighth inning to put away the latter for good. Bryan Castillo, Riparip, and Bosito for the second instance crossed the plate for the Falcons to finalize the tally.
Lexter Carandang completed a masterful performance on the mound for Adamson in a no-relief effort.
The senior Falcon capped off his stint striking out two batters in the eighth inning and making his defense take easy outs in the final frame. He eventually finished limiting UP to just four hits and 2 LOBs in 28 at-bats.
“Buti panalo kami pero hirap pa rin,” admitted the seasoned coach. “Hindi pwedeng matalo pa kami kasi bababa kami sa standings, mahirap na defending champion tapos ganun.”
Nonetheless, Binarao is still optimistic that the reigning kings would turn their focus on their hitting as they face the tougher teams in the Ateneo Blue Eagles and the De La Salle Green Batters.
“Siguro i-improve talaga naming ‘yung batting. Yun ‘yung concern namin,” he said.
The Soaring Falcons (2-1) will face the Ateneo Blue Eagles (2-0) on Wednesday, February 27 at 7 a.m. On the other hand, the Fighting Maroons (0-3) will try get that elusive win against the National University Bulldogs in the following game in the same day.
AdU – 000 001 030 4 4 2
UP – 000 000 100 1 2 4