Mae Langga was the hero Adamson University needed to dispose of University of the Philippines and take Game 1 of the best-of-three UAAP Season 85 softball finals, 2-1, last Tuesday at the UP Diliman Baseball Field.
The 21-year-old rookie out of Iloilo was one of the loud voices on the Lady Falcons’ bench throughout the entire match until her number was called.
Adamson head coach Ana Santiago called Langga’s name when Alaiza Talisik was hit by a pitch at the bottom of the seventh inning with the score knotted at 1-1.
Talisik was replaced on first base by pinch runner Madelene Domaug while Langga stepped to the plate in lieu of Aliza Pichon.
In front of a wild afternoon crowd, which was dominantly UP fans, Langga zoned in.
“Wala ng iba kundi makadeliver ako, makapalo ako, makahit,” said the Luyos National High School product on her mindset during the most crucial at-bat of the match.
“Wala na akong naririnig na iba kundi yung iniisip ko na lang na maipanalo yung team ko.”
Domaug executed Santiago’s play which was to steal second base after a swing-and-a-miss by Langga then it was luckily paired with a throwing error by the Fighting Maroons, enabling the runner to advance to third, just a hit away from a walk-off win.
Then Langga hammered a single to shallow center field, the biggest hit of her young career, that sent Adamson into a frenzy and more importantly, sent the Lady Falcons on the cusp of their 10th straight UAAP championship.
“Thanks kay God kasi syempre hindi ko naman yun magagawa kung wala siya sa side namin,” said Langga on her clutch hit.
Langga and the whole Adamson squad know though that the job is not done with win no. 1 as it takes two to take the crown.
The Fighting Maroons were able to beat the Lady Falcons in the first round via a 3-2 escape in the 11th inning but the nine-time defending champions responded with a 7-3 win in the second round.
“Magtatrabaho pa kami para sa next game namin. Alay na rin para sa team namin, sa coaches namin, at syempre para sa school namin,” said the Game 1 hero.
Game 2 will be at 2:30 pm on Saturday at the same venue. UP will be batting last – a huge advantage as proved by Adamson’s bottom of the seventh-inning magic.