Having established a dominion over the batter’s box during his UAAP career, Matt Laurel has definitely left quite an impression in collegiate baseball.
Though many consider his graduation would leave a crater in Ateneo’s batting order, the 24 year-old Laurel says that his team still has a bright future ahead of them. “The coaches built such a strong team over the past few years that in the long run, all I’m looking forward to is watching this team play,” Laurel told Tiebreaker Times.
Matt was a devastating force throughout the entire Finals series as his consistent batting keyed his team’s run to a third-straight UAAP baseball title. Laurel brought home the go-ahead run in game one as well as providing a steady presence at third base. In Game 2, he admitted that he was determined to end his collegiate career on that day.
“I just wanted to make the most of it [Game 2]. I hoped that it was my last game. I was more focused. I wasn’t going for bigger hits. I just wanted to get on base to help the team. I was more concentrated in the box more than anything, just because it was my last game,” Laurel remarked about his final game, where he had two hits and an RBI.
“It kinda sucked that my last attempt at bat was a strike out. I mean, I was there, but I just laughed it off afterwards,” Laurel answered cheerfully when asked about the final time he stepped on the plate.
The elder Laurel still admits, however, that the victory feels bittersweet for him just like last season, considering that he had to go against his younger brother, Carly Laurel, who was playing for La Salle. “There’s never any bad criticism between the both of us. We’re always really supportive of each other. What happens on the field stays on the field, and when we get home, we still do the same things,” remarked Matt.
Matt Laurel went away with not only his third UAAP championship, but a trio of individual awards to add to his crowded collection. Matt received the Most Home Runs Award after hitting three homers for the season, the Best Slugger Award with a monstrous .775 slugging average, and shared the most RBIs award with La Salle’s Dino Imperial after bringing in 13 runs. However, Matt is now looking ahead towards a career in coaching.
“I still have a few tournaments with the National Team in the coming months, after that maybe I’ll still play for a few months, and I’ll go from there. But I’m really looking forward to coaching kids [points to Ateneo elementary team]. Those guys are great,” Matt closed when asked about his future in the sport.